EAST HARTFORD, Conn. – Two straight wins. The University of South Florida Bulls have reversed the direction of their season.
The Bulls, fighting adversity all afternoon, rallied for a 13-10 victory against the winless Connecticut Huskies on Saturday at Rentschler Field, where USF had dropped four straight games.
USF moved to 2-4, 2-0 in the American Athletic Conference. The Bulls have an open week before hosting No. 8-ranked Louisville on Oct. 26. UConn, led by interim coach T.J. Weist after the firing of Paul Pasqualoni, dropped to 0-5, 0-1.
It was USF's first two-game winning streak in conference games since 2010.
For the most part, it was an offensively challenged effort. The Bulls were without quarterback Steven Bench and running back Marcus Shaw, the team's leading rusher. But mostly relying on special teams and defense, the Bulls got it done.
Junior place-kicker Marvin Kloss provided the winning margin on a 44-yard field goal with 4:03 remaining. It capped a 13-play, 65-yard drive, in which senior quarterback Bobby Eveld completed four passes, including a trio of third-down conversions. Twice, he hit junior wide receiver Andre Davis on a 12-yarder on third-and-8.
Overall, Eveld was 8-for-28 for 106 yards. Meanwhile, UConn freshman Tim Boyle, starting his first game, was 15-for-43 for 149 yards.
UConn had one final shot at tying the game. But after a pass advanced to the USF 49-yard line, Boyle made a freshman mistake. He didn't spike the ball, wasted time, then burned the final time out. He was reduced to a Hail Mary pass attempt into the end zone, but it was batted away.
It was 10-10 at halftime as UConn, the nation's 123rd-ranked rushing team, had 162 on the ground in the first half.
UConn, taking advantage of a Eveld interception on USF's third play from scrimmage, opened the scoring on a 32-yard field goal by Chad Christen.
The Bulls took a 7-3 lead when Aaron Lynch gave USF its third straight game with a defensive touchdown. Defensive end Ryne Giddins got a strip/sack on Boyle. The ball popped loose, out of the arms of a UConn lineman, and it bounced by Lynch, who galloped for a 44-yard score.
UConn running back Lyle McCombs put the Huskies back in front on a weaving 52-yard touchdown run, but USF found the equalizer on Marvin Kloss' 47-yard field goal.