LOUISVILLE — As if going to play at Louisville — where the Bulls had been outscored 96-37 in three previous trips — wasn't challenging enough, USF's charter flight on Friday night was delayed five hours by a computer issue on the plane. The Bulls got to their hotel until about 10:30 the night before a noon kickoff.
"I thought they really handled some adversity," coach Skip Holtz said. "We got in … about 10:30 p.m. and had our meetings, tried to get everything done because we knew we had an early wake-up call this morning to get going. You almost felt like you went from Thursday to they're putting the ball on the tee and you're just like, 'Slow down, it's going too fast.' These boys handled it really well and came out and played together as a team."
USF has never gone 0-4 in any stadium, and they've avoided two chances to do that in the past month, getting their first wins at Cincinnati's Nippert Stadium and Louisville's Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
RAYMOND OUT: Senior CB Mistral Raymond, a captain and arguably USF's best defensive back, sat out with a quad injury, and injuries during the game forced the Bulls to use the last cornerback dressed, redshirt freshman Ricardo Dixon, who was beaten on Louisville's tying touchdown with 1:21 to play.
"We lost three corners today," defensive coordinator Mark Snyder said, noting injuries to starters Quenton Washington and Kayvon Webster. "I told the young man who got beat: 'You're going to have another opportunity. Come back and make the next play.' "
Said Holtz: "He probably hasn't played 20 defensive plays all year. All the sudden, he's stuck out there. They kept competing."
Snyder said he's optimistic all of his corners will play next week against Pittsburgh.
BIG DAY FOR BELLAMY: Former Boca Ciega star Josh Bellamy, who signed with USF but never played for the Bulls, had a game-high five catches for 58 yards for Louisville, including a 10-yard touchdown to tie the score with 1:21 left. Bellamy is close friends with USF S Jerrell Young (Gibbs) — the two train together in the summer — and Young made the tackle on his first catch for a reunion of sorts.
"He was talking to me the whole game, and we've been talking all week," said Young, who had one of two USF interceptions and six tackles. "It was nice to go against him, like high school again. … I told him to keep his head up. He was a little down. I told him he played his butt off and I was proud of him."
THIS AND THAT: Junior DE Patrick Hampton, in his second career start, had 2.5 tackles for loss and had pressure on Justin Burke that led to his first interception. … Freshman Mark Joyce made his first career start in place of Young, who was slowed by an ankle injury. Joyce had three tackles. … Northeast's Armando Sanchez was captain of the special teams and added to his team-leading total of special-teams tackles. … Redshirt freshman Ryne Giddins of Armwood High got his first career interception, reeling in a pass deflected by LB Jacquian Williams to end a Louisville threat at the USF 21-yard line in the third quarter.
Greg Auman can be reached at email@example.com. Follow his coverage at bulls.tampabay.com.