Latest Team Rankings
Free Text Alerts
|ShopMobileRadio RSSRivals.com Yahoo! Sports|
|College Teams||High Schools|
September 14, 2012The frustration is mounting for coach Skip Holtz, and the main theme in USF's latest Big East loss was turnovers.
Quarterback B.J. Daniels was intercepted three times, including two deep in Rutgers territory, and the Bulls also fumbled a punt return in their 23-13 loss to Rutgers in its Big East opener at Raymond James Stadium.
"We cannot turn the ball over. It's something we've harped, we've talked about," Holtz said. "Until we can learn to coach it better and take care of the football, you're not going to win many football games. I'm frustrated as a coach we're digging our own hole."
Though USF had plenty of opportunities, Rutgers defense held USF in check for the most part. Daniels finished just 15-of-33 passing, and the Bulls gained just 95 rushing yards on 29 carries.
After USF jumped on top 6-0 thanks to a pair of first quarter field goals (46 and 41) by Maikon Bonani, the Bulls offense was in prime position to extend the lead, though Daniels threw an interception on Rutgers' 25-yard line and failed to convert on fourth and 1 in the second quarter.
Daniels threw another costly interception in the third quarter when a Rutgers' defender deflected a slant route from the Scarlet Knights' five-yard line.
"It's unfortunate. I thought it was a really physical football game," Holtz said. "If we protect the football, we at least give ourselves a chance. I think two of our interceptions came on tipped passes. I think B.J. is competing his tail off and without much of a running game in front of him, I thought he did a good job of handling all the pressure he received."
Another problem for USF was its inability to get off the field on third down, especially third-and-long. Rutgers dominated time of possession, holding the ball for nearly 39 minutes to USF's 21.
"I think we lost a lot of field position because of that," Bulls defensive coordinator Chris Cosh said. " You can't chose when you play defense or where you play defense. It's our chance to change the complexion of the game."
Rutgers took a 13-6 lead in the third quarter after Jamal Merrell intercepted Daniels with the Bulls in their own territory. Quarterback Gary Nova connected with Gary Harrison for a 6-yard touchdown a few plays later. Nova finished with 277 passing yards.
USF tied it 13-13 early in the fourth when Demetris Murray rushed it in from a yard out. The Bulls had a chance to take the lead after Rutgers took a 16-13 lead on a field goal but Daniels and the offense sputtered, failing to pick up a first down on its possession following the Scarlet Knights field goal.
"Last week we had an opportunity to move the ball, and we did. This time, the ball didn't bounce our way," Daniels said.