TAMPA — After finding success on offense in the first half, USF foundered in the second half of its 34-24 loss to Louisville on Friday.
In the first half, sophomore quarterback Bobby Eveld, who started in place of injured B.J. Daniels, connected with receiver Lindsey Lamar for a 35-yard score down the left sideline on a fourth-and-3 call to take a 7-3 lead.
Eveld, a former Jesuit High standout, helped the Bulls on two other scoring drives as they led 17-10 at halftime.
However, the second half couldn't have gone more differently for USF. Aside from running back Demetris Murray's 37-yard touchdown pass to receiver Deonte Welch on a trick play in the third quarter, USF mustered little offense and made key mistakes that damaged any chance for a comeback.
"The bottom line is we went three-and-out, three-and-out, three-and-out, and we didn't execute," coach Skip Holtz said. "I felt like Bobby stood in there and competed and tried to do some things as a young quarterback, but we've got to get better play from the quarterback position if we're going to get in a game where we have to score 30 points to win."
USF had a chance to win when it got the ball back trailing 27-24 with 5:43 remaining, but freshman receiver Andre Davis out of Jefferson High fumbled at the Bulls 17. The Cardinals scored two plays later to stretch their lead to 34-24, all but ending the Bulls' comeback hopes.
Eveld didn't have any game-changing turnovers, going 20-of-35 for 210 yards with the one touchdown and an inconsequential interception on the game's final play, but he was unable to jump-start the offense late in the game.
The Bulls couldn't run effectively, gaining just 64 yards on 31 carries, and went 4-of-15 on third down. USF produced only five first downs in the second half.
"It is frustrating when you can't move the football," Eveld said. "I don't think that it was necessarily gameplanning or anything like that. It was just a couple misexecuted plays. … Everyone had their part, but, for the most part, we just needed to convert a little bit more on third down to be in good shape."