The weekly 2-4-7 takes a look at two key players, four significant plays and seven quick-hitters from South Florida's game. Here are the moments that stood out in the Bulls' 13-6 win over Connecticut.
Two Key Players
True freshman Tashon Whitehurst was stellar in his first career start. The Gainesville, Fla. native led the Bulls with eight tackles, added a sack, a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery in the win. South Florida held the Huskies to 98 total yards rushing and Whitehurst was a big reason why. He was key in filling gaps and effective putting pressure on quarterback Chandler Whitmer. He registered one quarterback hit, but had a number of pressures.
Kicker Maikon Bonani was a key cog in the Bulls’ win as he set a new career-high with a 50-yard field goal, kicked a 28-yarder and was perfect in his one PAT opportunity. The senior’s field goals came at very important times in the game for the Bulls. His first field goal, the 28-yarder, came with 7:53 left in the game and answered a Huskies field goal that brought Connecticut within a point. With under five minutes to go Bonani was called upon to stretch to give the Bulls a seven-point lead and responded with a 50-yard field goal.
Four Key Plays
I decided to make this SIX plays that changed the game
B.J. Daniels gets the Bulls on the board late in the first quarter with a five-yard touchdown run. It was an important drive for South Florida as the methodical eight-play 80-yard drive took 3:14 off the clock. Daniels completed passes to Victor Marc, Terrence Mitchell and Andre Davis on the drive while Demetrius Murray added a 26-yard carry to get the ball to the five-yard line. The touchdown run gave B.J. Daniels, a school record, 25 rushing touchdowns in his career.
Connecticut hits a 50-yard field goal with 0:02 to go in the first half. The Huskies were able to get points on the board after USF was forced to punt from deep inside its own territory. The field goal by Chad Christen cut USF’s lead down to four and gave the Huskies momentum heading into the halftime break.
USF recovers a fumble at the Connecticut 38-yard line with 11:43 to go in the game. Tashon Whitehurst recovered the fumble as Lyle McCombs couldn’t handle the exchange from Whitmer. The turnover (USF defense’s first of three in the game) resulted in three points as Bonani hit a 28-yard field goal to give the Bulls a 10-6 lead.
B.J. Daniels goes down with an apparent left leg injury with 7:53 to go in the game. After being helped to the sideline, Daniels was carted off the field and did not return. During his postgame press conference Head Coach Skip Holtz says that Daniels broke his ankle on the play and will likely be done for the year.
Jon Lejiste intercepts Chandler Whitmer. The play was arguably the most important in the game because Connecticut was driving the ball down the field and in position to take the lead with a touchdown with less than two minutes left in the game. Lejiste intercepted the ball at the Bulls’ 10-yard line and returned it 29 yards – two penalties on the ball resulted in USF getting the ball at the Huskies’ 36.
Elkino Watson intercepted a deflected pass with 0:50 to go in the game. The interception came at an opportune time as the Huskies were driving the ball down the field and had a chance to tie the game with a touchdown and a field goal. The interception sealed the game for the Bulls who took over at its own 23-yard line.
Seven Quick Hitters
B.J. Daniels rushed for a school record 25th touchdown.
With 222 total yards of offense, B.J. Daniels moved into second-place all-time in career total offense (10,501 yards). Daniels passed Marquel Blackwell (1999-2002) who had 10,343.
Announced attendance for the game was 36,190 – Actual attendance, per Tampa Sports Authority, was 20,665.
Bonani set a new career-high with a 50-yard field goal. It ties the fourth-longest FG in USF history and is the longest since 2009.
On the 277th pass faced this season, Jon Lejiste got the first interception of the Bulls season.
Elkino Watson got his first career interception tonight.
Tashon Whitehurst made his first career start and got his first career fumble recovery in the game.