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TAMPA -- Playing without starting quarterback Steven Bench (gone after two series in the first) and without running back Marcus Shaw (lost in the second quarter), the USF Bulls did what they had to do to collect win number one in the Willie Taggart era, knocking off Cincinnati 26-20.
The special teams scored a touchdown, the defense scored a touchdown and Marvin Kloss kicked four field goals - including a huge 52 yarder - as the Bulls held off a Bearcat rally in the fourth quarter.
The game started with a familiar scene for the 31,000+ that came - a USF turnover deep in its own territory.
However, after the Shaw fumble, the Bulls defense forced a field goal and Florida transfer Mike McFarland blocked the kick - allowing freshman Nate Godwin to return it 75 yards for a score - and the Bulls led 7-0.
On the next series, USF's defense got into the action with an interception by Mark Joyce that gave the Bulls a short field - at the Cincinnati 28.
USF drove to the Bearcat 8 before stalling out and Kloss kicked a 25 yard field goal for the first double-digit lead of the season for the Bulls.
Bench, who fumbled on the play he was injured on, but didn't lose it (thanks to freshman OL Dominique Threatt) left the game with a knee injury and did not return. Shaw left on the next drive - apparently with a hamstring injury and did not return.
Enter Bobby Eveld and Michael Pierre.
Eveld drove the Bulls 45 yards with both his arm and his legs, scrambling for two first downs and connecting with McFarland and Sean Price, but the drive stalled at the 35 and Kloss kicked a 52-yard field goal with 14:45 remaining in the half.
The Bearcats pulled within six on a touchdown pass by Brenden Kay to Mekele McKay to cut the lead to 13-6, but
Cincinnati would get no closer the rest of the way.
DeDe Lattimore scored on a 10 yard fumble recovery to give the Bulls a 20-6 lead.
Kloss would add two more field goals to build a 26-6 lead before Kay's two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to trim the lead to 26-20, but Deonte Welch recovered an onside kick to all but seal the win.
Lattimore had the final fumble recovery - on the last play of the game - to seal the victory.
Eveld was 10-16 for 129 yards and no interceptions - his best game as a Bull. Pierre added 59 yards on 15 carries to lead the Bulls running game.