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November 23, 2013

USF falls to SMU 16-6

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TAMPA - The stagnant USF offense couldn't get out of its own way so the special teams did the job for them - scoring USF's only points in a 16-6 loss to SMU to close out the 2013 home schedule

Trailing 16-0 in the 4th quarter, the Bulls reached the two yard line on a Marcus Shaw five yard run to give USF a first and goal.

However, three straight procedure penalties against the Bulls backed them up to the 17. USF misfired on four straight shots at the end zone - turning the ball over on downs.

After a three-and out for SMU, the Bulls special teams took over and Chris Dunkley took it 50 yards for the only score of the evening for USF. The Bulls went for two to make it a one-possession game, but the pass from Mike White was short and low.

White showed his freshman growing pains against the Mustangs, though he did show slight improvement from his game against Memphis.

White went 19-of-34 for 217 yards, with no touchdown passes and two interceptions. Since Coach Willie Taggart burned White's redshirt when he played against Louisville, he will presumably be the starter throughout the final two games of the season.

Senior RB Marcus Shaw continued to struggle on the ground, averaging just 3.5 yards per carry. The entire running game was abysmal for the Bulls; they gained just 42 yards on the ground in 22 attempts, good for 1.9 yards per carry.

WR Andre Davis was perhaps the most positive aspect of the USF offense tonight, and had many personal accomplishments that will keep him the Bulls' record books for years to come. Davis totaled 113 yards on just five receptions and in doing so became 5th all-time in receiving yards at USF. He also became 4th all-time in receptions with 109 on his career.

The Bulls defense also had a great game, and kept the team competitive during times where they struggled. The unit held Mustangs QB Garrett Gilbert to just 138 yards prior to him being injured and leaving the game. Gilbert entered the game at third in the nation in passing yards per game with a 376.7 average, and led an offense that was fifth in the nation in passing offense. USF held Gilbert's replacement, Neal Burcham, to just 91 yards and one touchdown.

SMU may have lost graduate student QB Garrett Gilbert - who suffered an injury to his left knee on a slide. Back-up Neal Burcham came in and threw for a touchdown, while guiding the Mustangs to two third quarter touchdowns - one by Prescott Line (a five yard run) and one on a pass to Der'ikk Thompson.

USF (2-8, 2-5) travels to UCF Friday at 8 PM. SMU (5-5, 4-2) faces Houston Friday night on the road.



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