It was fourth and 1 from its own 40-yard line, but Houston coach Major Applewhite wasn't ready for his team's possession to be over. Not yet. It was scoreless in the first quarter, and his Cougars still had plenty of time to try to become the first to topple USF in 13 attempts. But against an undefeated team like the Bulls, Applewhite said, you have to take your chances. "(I wanted to) send a message to our team that we didn't come here for a shoe shine, we came here to try to win the game," Applewhite said. "Let's do anything and everything possible — whether it's fake punts, go for it, try and block punts — whatever we need to do."That time, the risk blew up in the Cougars' faces. USF stuffed quarterback D'Eriq King on the fourth-down play, taking over on downs and turning the short-field opportunity into its first score of the game. The Bulls converted 3 of 5 fourth-down attempts Saturday, all on drives that resulted in touchdowns. But in the end, it was the fourth-down attempt the Bulls couldn't stop that made the biggest difference. In the final minute, King hit Courtney Lark with a 30-yard pass on fourth and 24, setting up a winning touchdown for Houston as it knocked off No. 17 USF in stunning fashion. "It just happened so fast," USF defensive tackle Deadrin Senat said. "I'm thinking the guys are going to bat it down or something, just give me a chance to get over there. But they caught it, and we had to go into the next play."Before that moment, the Bulls were taking the gambles on fourth down, and for the most part, they were winning.In the first quarter, Darius Tice took a handoff on fourth and 1 from the Houston 11-yard line, and referees originally said he picked up the first down. But when the play was reviewed, officials deemed he was short, and the Cougars took possession.On their next trip to the red zone, things went a little better for the Bulls. USF converted two fourth downs on its first scoring drive of the night. Before D'Ernest Johnson found the end zone on a 2-yard touchdown run, Tice took a handoff on fourth down from the Houston 28-yard line, going 18 yards when he needed just one. He'd do it again in the third quarter, taking the ball five yards on 4th-and-1 from the Houston 8, setting up a go-ahead touchdown from quarterback Quinton Flowers."I feel like that's what my teammates need from me. They need me to get that 1 yard or that 2 yards," Tice said about his big fourth-down conversions. "That's my job, just being a running back, so I look forward to those situations."Perhaps Tice could have pulled through again for the Bulls late in the fourth quarter, when USF elected to kick a field goal in the waning seconds to give itself a three-point buffer for Houston's final possession. It was a lead, though, that wouldn't be enough."It's fourth and 24. There ain't many plays in the playbook. Let's throw it up there and see if one of our guys can come down with the ball," Applewhite said about the fourth-down call. "It was just a weird feeling. It's like, if I give our guys a chance … our guys are so damn competitive, one of them might end up with the ball."And that time, the Cougars' fourth-down message was clear.