South Florida falls 34-3 to No. 18 Louisville
South Florida coach Willie Taggart is looking for one thing
after his offense struggled again.
Teddy Bridgewater threw for 344 yards and three touchdowns and
No. 18 Louisville rebounded from its first loss of the season with
a 34-3 rout of the Bulls on Saturday.
”We’re trying to find some guys to make plays and get a
score,” Taggart said. ”That’s something that’s holding the
football team back is not scoring points. Wherever we can find
them, we’re going to find them. If it’s playing guys both ways,
we’ll do that.”
USF failed to score an offensive touchdown for the third
straight game, all in conference play. The Bulls used three
quarterbacks and were outgained 485 yards to 133.
”We all know that’s our biggest issue,” Taggart said of the
USF’s sputtering offense was outgained 240 yards to 25 in the
first half. Without two 15-yard penalties on Louisville for not
allowing enough room to field a punt and roughing the passer, the
Bulls wouldn’t have come close to scoring up to that point. The
offense accounted for minus 2 yards on the 13-yard drive that
positioned Marvin Kloss for a 50-yard field goal.
The Bulls don’t have an offensive touchdown since the closing
seconds of a lopsided loss to Miami on Sept. 28. Nevertheless, they
won their first two conference games, scoring on fumble and blocked
field goal returns to beat Cincinnati and running back another
fumble for TD in a three-point win over Connecticut.
Bobby Eveld made his fourth start at quarterback for USF, but
was replaced after injuring his left ankle in the second quarter.
Penn State transfer Steven Bench took over, but didn’t have a lot
more success moving the ball. He gave way to fourth-stringer Mike
White after throwing the interception that Charles Gaines returned
for a TD.
Taggart said White, a freshman, will be his starting
”First, he’s a smart kid,” Taggart said. ”Has a little
swagger that you like at the quarterback position. But he’s still
The Bulls’ most promising drive of the day, featuring a 24-yard
run by Darius Tice and Bench’s 25-yard completion to Mike
McFarland, ended Tice losing a fumble at the Louisville 19.
Gaines returned a fourth-quarter interception 70 yards for a
touchdown as the Cardinals’ defense reverted to the form that
helped Louisville (7-1, 3-1 American Athletic Conference) climb
into the top 10 before blowing a 21-point, second-half lead at home
during a 38-35 loss to Central Florida.
Bridgewater completed 25 of 29 passes with no interceptions,
hiking his totals for the season to 23 TDs with two picks. In three
career games against USF (2-5, 2-1), the junior from Miami has gone
65 of 82 for 841 yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions.
”Teddy is a great quarterback,” South Florida defensive tackle
Todd Chandler said. ”He can sense pressure. He knows when to get
rid of the ball. He does a real good job of throwing to the
check-down guys. To be able to stop Louisville’s offense, you’ve
got to get into the head of Teddy and we just kind of fell short
Dominique Brown rushed for 125 yards and scored on a 5-yard
reception for Louisville. Bridgewater threw TD passes of 20 yards
to Damian Copeland and 69 yards to Gerald Christian.
UCF rallied from a 28-7 deficit to beat the Cardinals – stopping
an eight-game winning streak, dropping Louisville ten spots in the
AP Poll and out of first place in the AAC.
The offense was hardly the problem in the loss, though.
Bridgewater threw for 341 yards, two touchdowns and no
interceptions, but a usually reliable defense was unable to close
The Cardinals got off to another fast start Saturday, taking the
opening kickoff and moving 90 yards to take a 7-0 lead on
Bridgewater’s 20-yard TD pass to Damian Copeland. A drive to the
USF 1 produced a 19-yard field goal and Christian’s 69-yard scoring
reception helped Louisville to a 17-3 halftime lead.
Bridgewater led scoring drives of 90, 73, 80, 82 and 81 yards.
The Cardinals dominated time of possession 41:43 to 17:47 and had
”I see him being the No. 1 quarterback taken (in the 2014 NFL
draft),” Taggart said. ”He’s so poised and tough. He’s smart. You
watch his team when they play, they play for him.”