Advertisement
  1. Sports

Kloss field goal lifts USF over UConn, 13-10

USF quarterback Bobby Eveld looks to pass during the first half. In the foreground are Bulls offensive linesman Brynjar Gudmundsson and Connecticut defensive end Jesse Joseph.
Published Oct. 13, 2013

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — The forestal Connecticut countryside, bursting with a kaleidoscope of autumnal red and gold hues, stood in glaring contrast to the eyesore unfolding Saturday on Rentschler Field.

Initially, USF was unsightly on an otherwise blissful New England afternoon. The Bulls could neither stop the worst rushing offense in Division I-A nor buy a first down. After three quarters, they had more punts (eight) than completions (five).

Then the defense started clamping down and the passing game started clicking. Today, they're looking absolutely resplendent in the American Athletic Conference standings.

Marvin Kloss' 44-yard go-ahead field goal into a brisk wind with 4:03 to play capped a 71/2-minute drive in a 13-10 victory against winless Connecticut. USF (2-4, 2-0) enters its bye week riding its first two-game win streak since September 2012.

"Who would've thought when we were 0-4 that we'd turn it around?" USF coach Willie Taggart asked rhetorically.

"I know some didn't even think we could win a game. But I think it's great that our guys are just staying together and playing for each other. I think that's what you're all seeing right now."

Even if it was tough watching it at times. Both Bulls wins have come without an offensive touchdown.

"From an offensive perspective, it wasn't pretty," said junior Andre Davis, who had a 12-yard catch on a third-and-8 curl route on the winning drive. "But we made it happen somehow, some way."

Actually, there were myriad ways.

Gashed by UConn's anemic rushing game, 45.8 yards per game coming in, for 162 in the first half, USF scrapped its three down-linemen scheme, put more heat up front and held the Huskies (0-5, 0-1) to 45 after halftime.

Kloss, a junior who has converted his past nine field goals, remained his steely self despite struggling with his footing early on. Sophomore Mattias Ciabatti, punting out of his own end zone three times in the second half, finished with a 44.3-yard average.

The defense managed a touchdown, a 44-yard Aaron Lynch fumble return, for the third consecutive game, and tight end Mike McFarland blocked a field goal for the second game in a row.

Even the committee of tailbacks performed solidly (122 yards) in the absence of top rusher Marcus Shaw (leg). But the decisive factor might have been the moxie of USF's maligned quarterback.

Senior Bobby Eveld, pressed into starting duty by Steven Bench's knee injury, was 3-for-4 for 38 yards on the winning drive. Two completions came on third down.

Entering that possession, Eveld had gone 5-for-24 for 68 yards and two sacks.

"I thought the first half, Bobby was rushing a lot of things. I think he was looking at the rush rather than looking down the field," said Taggart, who said he never considered pulling Eveld.

"At halftime, we talked about it, and he stayed in there a couple of times and got some nice throws in there to keep the drive going. He showed when we protect for him, he can throw the football."

And the Bulls showed what they can do with a little grit and confidence.

Style points be darned.

"Today might not have been pretty from an offensive standpoint," Eveld said. "But I tell you what: Our defense did a great job keeping us in that ball game.

"I think as long as we keep playing as a team like we are now, we're going to be rolling."

Joey Knight can be reached at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow him on Twitter at @TBTimes_Bulls.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) runs onto the field to play against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday in London. TIM IRELAND  |  AP
    Martin Fennelly: Coach Bruce Arians may not be worried after six games, but history says his optimism is misplaced.
  2. Times
Dania Vizzi, now, 24  of Odessa, stands for a portrait on the skeet range at Silver Dollar Shooters Club in Odessa. An Olympic hopeful, she won a bronze medal at the 2019 Pan American Games. Tampa Bay Times
    The Vizzi family turned agricultural land into a private skeet shooting range for aspiring Olympian without Pasco County permission.
  3. The Nationals' Victor Robles reacts as he crosses home after hitting a home run during the sixth inning of a Game 3 rout of the Cardinals in the NL Championship Series. JEFF ROBERSON  |  AP
    Washington rolls to an 8-1 rout, is one game from World Series.
  4. Lightning, baseball playoffs and more sports on the air.
  5. Montreal Canadiens left wing Jonathan Drouin (92) takes a shot during the first period of a game against the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, N.C., on Oct. 3, 2019. GERRY BROOME  |  AP
    Also, Tampa Bay’s practice picks up in intensity after a day off ... and a lackluster showing on Saturday.
  6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians walks on the field before Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers in London. ALASTAIR GRANT  |  AP
    And that’s especially true for turnover-prone Jameis Winston, who will remain the starter when Tampa Bay next takes the field Oct. 27 vs. the Titans.
  7. Since he entered the NFL in 2015, Jameis Winston has been responsible for a league-high 87 giveaways, including six Sunday. JEFF HAYNES  |  Associated Press
    Sunday was a tough day for the players taken at the top of the 2015 NFL draft. The Titans at least are realizing what the Bucs are denying: They have a quarterback problem.
  8. Georgia's D'Andre Walker (15) tackles Florida's Dameon Pierce (27) in the second quarter at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville last season. Times
    The Gators are still who we thought they were after the LSU loss. But Georgia...
  9. The Lightning's alternate "disrupt the night" jerseys will be back for weekend games at Amalie Arena this season. SHADD, DIRK  |  Tampa Bay Times
    “Disrupt the night” jerseys return for weekend games, starting on Saturday.
  10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate (84) makes a touchdown catch against the Carolina Panthers during the fourth quarter Sunday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. ALASTAIR GRANT  |  AP
    An ugly loss leaves a sour taste, and several players would like to get back on the field immediately to right the ship.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement