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October 31, 2013

USF close, but no victory

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USF falls to Houston, but may have found its future QB

Battling back from a 21-10 deficit, the USF Bulls stood ready to take the lead - and thought they had.

Freshman QB Mike White floated an apparent touchdown pass to Andre Davis, but a costly - and somewhat questionable - offensive pass interference call nullified the score.

White was sacked on the next play and lost the ball - and the hope of an upset of the 7-1 Houston Cougars.

Ironically, Houston was flagged for the exact same call on its first series after the fumble - but the flag was waived off.

Davis and the Houston defender were jostling for position down the far sideline - as happens on almost every offensive pass play - and the call came so obviously late that a visibly upset Willie Taggart had an intense discussion with the officiating crew during a time out.

The catch that never was would have given the Bulls a 29-28 lead pending the extra point with 4:13 remaining in a game that USF dominated the second half and found its future quarterback.

White finished the game rather ignominiously - with an interception on 4th down - but threw for 311 yards on 26 of 41 passing and had two touchdowns.

But he'd rather have had three.

White connected twice with Michael McFarland - once from 8 yards out in the second quarter and once from two yards out in the fourth, to cut the lead to 28-16.

The first touchdown broke a 13-quarter streak of no offensive touchdowns by the Bulls.

Davis finished with nine catches for 134 yards. McFarland had four for 40 yards. Ten different USF players caught passes from the true freshman QB - who played the entire game.

Marvin Kloss kicked three field goals (39, 50 and 49 yards) in the game - and broke the USF school record for consecutive field goals, hitting his 13th in a row to cut the lead to 28-16.

Several missed tackles in the first half and blown coverages allowed Houston to build a 21-10 lead at the half, but momentum shifted after Johnny Ward recovered a Cougar fumble in the end zone - stopping Houston's first drive of the second half.

USF was called for 19 penalties (170 yards), none more costly than the one on Davis. Houston was flagged four times for 33 yards.

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