Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

USF loses to Houston

HOUSTON — Give USF this much: On a night nationally noted for meandering from house to house, the Bulls approached victory's doorstep, even knocking a time or two.

Yet they were turned away by a few Oct. 31 demons — namely a porous secondary, feeble tackling and a slew of ill-timed penalties — in the cavernous confines of Reliant Stadium.

Squandering a sparkling debut by freshman quarterback Mike White and kicker Marvin Kloss' latest career night, the Bulls surrendered a string of early big plays and were thwarted by a whistle on what would have been a late go-ahead touchdown.

The result was a 35-23 defeat before a sparse Reliant Stadium crowd of 22,707.

"It was the first time all year that we played that well," Bulls coach Willie Taggart said. "To be down like we were and to come back and lose the game, it's tough."

Connecting with a smorgasbord of receivers all night, White cut USF's deficit to 28-23 with a 14-play, 75-yard second-half drive that spanned 7:09.

It ended with his 2-yard lob pass to 6-foot-5 tight end Mike McFarland in the left corner of the end zone with 11:50 to go.

The Bulls' ensuing possession was thwarted by a sack and two penalties. New life was granted when Mark Joyce forced Houston returner Damian Payne to fumble Mattias Ciabatti's punt and Fidel Montgomery recovered with 5:42 to play.

Three plays later, junior Andre Davis (nine catches, 134 yards) appeared to haul in White's third-and-10 fade pass near the right corner of the end zone. Officials, however, flagged Davis for pass interference.

A play later, on third and 25 from Houston's 42, White was sacked by defensive end Tyus Bowser and fumbled. Defensive lineman Jeremiah Farley recovered for Houston at midfield.

"I saw a catch for a touchdown," Taggart said of Davis' would-be go-ahead reception.

"I thought I went up and made a good play," Davis added. "It was good protection, a good throw. I mean, the referees obviously saw the play different, and they called me for a pass interference."

The flag was among a season-high 19 thrown against the Bulls (2-6, 2-2 American Athletic Conference). It was the most penalties by a team in a Division I-A game this season, according to ESPN Stats and Information.

"That's the first time where we've had that many penalties," Taggart said. "I wouldn't say it's because our football team is undisciplined, but …you just can't have it."

When not vexed by whistles, USF was exorcising its most prominent statistical ghoul of the year, behind a rookie QB. White finished with 26 completions on 41 attempts for 311 yards — all USF season-highs.

"Special kid, man," Davis said. "He does what he does. He's a great quarterback, smart quarterback. One day this week I caught him up in the facility, he was up there until 11 getting better for football, for this game."

White's 8-yard touchdown to McFarland early in the second — the first college scoring pass and catch for both — ended USF's streak of quarters without an offensive TD at 13. For the game, White hooked up with 10 different receivers. "Guys played for him," Taggart said. "Guys made those catches; we had some drops the week before. … He put it in there where only our receivers could catch it at times."

Yet he couldn't quite stand throw-to-throw with fellow freshman John O'Korn (22-for-27, 263 yards, three TDs), at least initially.

By the end of the third, Houston (7-1, 4-0) had scored TDs on drives of four, three and two plays, mounting a 28-16 lead.

The hosts sealed things with Kenneth Farrow's 5-yard scoring run with 1:40 to go.

"We were terrible tackling today," Taggart said.

Slightly sharper than O'Korn was Kloss. The fourth-year junior nailed field goals of 39, 50 and 49 yards to extend his streak to 13, establishing a program record.

USF loses to Houston 10/31/13 [Last modified: Friday, November 1, 2013 6:56am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays journal: Erasmo Ramirez ready to start a day after closing game

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — RHP Erasmo Ramirez was on the mound to finish Sunday's 15-inning marathon win over the Twins and will start tonight's game against the Rangers.

    The Rays’ Erasmo Ramirez throws 12 pitches in the 15th inning against the Twins to earn the save then says after the game that he’s ready to make his scheduled start against the Rangers: “My arm feels good.”
  2. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Before the Rays eventually won Sunday's 6½-hour, 15-inning marathon against the Twins 8-6, they did plenty to lose it. And we need to get that out of the way first.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.
  3. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  4. Takuma Sato surprise winner of wreck-filled Indy 500

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Takuma Sato, a journeyman driver, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves in a 230-mph wheel-rubbing duel to the finish.

    Scott Dixon’s car goes over the top of Jay Howard, soaring so high that Helio Castroneves drove under it while it was airborne. Stunningly, there were no serious injuries.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Twins game

    The Heater

    The Rays won because they got two innings of good relief from each of the two pitchers who contributed to them losing Saturday's game, Danny Farquhar (who again struck out Miguel Sano) and Tommy Hunter, who both posted zeroes.