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NCAA 14 Summer Series: USF Football Squeaks By FAU 29-24 Despite Five Turnovers

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Phew.

Nathan Bond/The Daily Stampede

If you missed week one of the NCAA Football 14 Summer Series, check it out here.

[These games are played on an Xbox-360 on Heisman with eight minute quarters.]

“As the head coach of this team I pride myself on getting the men in that locker room ready for battle each and every week,” head coach Willie Taggart said (probably) I warned them that looking ahead to Miami in two weeks (another early bye week, smh) can get us beat this week and it very nearly did. This was a poor effort by the coaching staff getting these guys ready for FAU. They punched us in the mouth and we nearly got TKO’d.”

The Bulls turned the ball over on their first three possessions of the game via a strip/sack on quarterback Steven Bench followed by back-to-back interceptions, the second of which was picked off at the goal line. The Owls took an early 10-0 lead early in the first. The only way the first quarter could’ve gone worse for the Bulls is if they had a fourth possession that ended in a turnover.

After FAU tacked on another field goal to begin the second quarter to make it 13-0 FAU, kick returner/slot receiver, Derrick “Flea” Hopkins took matters into his own hands on the ensuing kickoff.

The Opa Locka, FL native followed his blocks perfectly and took it up the left side an NCAA-record 96-yards to the paint to cut the lead to six.

Senior defensive end Ryne Giddins came up with a huge sack on third down to force a punt on the next FAU possession. Then Bench threw his third interception of the half.

The defense bailed him out again with a quick three-and-out to give the Bulls enough time for one final drive before halftime.

[Editor’s note: I probably wouldn’t have gone for it on fourth down or for two, but I didn’t have any timeouts left to stop play if the game glitched again.]

The defense got another stop to start the second half and Bench found wide receiver Andre Davis for a 25-yard touchdown and extend the USF lead to 22-13.

David had another productive day with five catches for 72 yards and two scores and it earned him Player of the Game honors. No other USF wide receiver had more than one catch.

Running back Marcus Shaw was effective again in the running and passing game. He totaled 114 yards combined (86 ruhsing), including a few chunk play in the abysmal first quarter.

Defensively, the Bulls were led by linebacker Dede Lattimore who recorded 12 tackles (11 solo) and a TFL, defensive end Aaron Lynch had seven tackles and two sacks after recording just a single tackle against FCS SE in week one. Giddins had five tackles and four TFL to lead the team.

A Michael Pierre 22-yard TD run pushed the USF lead to 29-13 late in the third quarter, but the Owls would not quit.

They methodically moved the ball down the field to score a touchdown and got the two-point conversion to make it an eight point game. Bench threw his fourth and final interception of the night that set up an FAU field goal to make it 29-24 USF with four minutes to go.

The Bulls (2-0) were forced to punt with two minutes remaining and the Owls did everything they could to upset the Bulls, but a critical drop on fourth and 11 with 41 seconds left ended any comeback attempt.

USF will have another bye week before facing Miami.

Notables:

  • Shaw left left the game briefly with a knee bruise but returned after a possession.
  • TE Sean Price caught three passes for 30 yards.
  • The USF defense was stout on third down as the Owls were just 3-for-13 on the night.