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September 28, 2013
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Sophomore Quarterback Steven Bench dropped back in the pocket in the end zone, searching for a target to throw to. Before Bench could react, the pass rush was upon him and as he was sacked, he fumbled the ball.
To Bulls fans' dismay, Miami recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown, taking a 28-7 lead.
The recovered touchdown marked the fourth straight game that the Bulls have surrendered a touchdown to the opposing defense. Despite Head football coach Willie Taggart insisting this trend wouldn't continue, the Bulls continue to beat themselves.
This play dealt a fatal blow to the USF momentum and created a three touchdown margin. The Bulls would never come within 21 points for the rest of the game as they fell 49-21 Saturday afternoon.
The fumble by the Bulls occurred just moments after they made a key stop within the five yard line. DeDe Lattimore stripped the ball from Miami RB Duke Johnson and South Florida looked as if they had held off the Miami offense for at least the time being.
Down 21-7 with the ball at their own one, the Bulls could have at least stayed within two scores. However, this would not be the case. As the ball fell out of Bench's hands, the buzz in the air became drowned out by Miami cheers.
"The play call didn't work. That's between me and Coach Taggart," Bench said.
At this point, it was apparent that there was little that USF could do to prevent Miami from inflicting their will. The defense gave it their all, but even four forced turnovers by the Bulls were not enough for the offense to mount an attack. The offensive line's failure to protect the quarterback played a large role in the inability to kickstart the offense, especially on the end zone fumble. Bench was sacked five times and hit many more. Coach Taggart talked about the offensive line's struggles after the game.
"Some of it was missed assignments. Some of it was him (Bench) holding the ball too long," Taggart said.
Whether the offensive line or Bench was at fault on the end zone fumble, the offense as a whole was only able to come together successfully for short spurts. The Bulls face Cincinnati at home next weekend as they face their first conference game.