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USF Win Streak Snapped At Navy, 29-17


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DATE: OCT. 31, 2015


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USF Win Streak Snapped At Navy, 29-17

Sanchez, Byrd & Godwin post double-digit tackles


ANNAPOLIS, MD., OCT. 31, 2015 – USF had the lead late in the third quarter but wasn’t able to hold on in a 29-17 loss at Navy Saturday that snapped the Bulls’ three-game winning streak.


USF (4-4, 2-2) got a 97-yard touchdown return on the opening kickoff and 86 receiving yards from Rodney Adams, who posted 225 all-purpose yards on a tough day for the USF offense. Quinton Flowers completed 12-of-20 passes for 208 yards to help the Bulls to a 17-13 lead late in the third quarter. But, the Bulls were victimized by a pair of missed field goals, an unsportsmanlike penalty and a lost fumble on a kickoff return that could have set up a go-ahead drive with 6:58 remaining.


“We didn’t make the winning plays that we needed to make in that ballgame,” head coach Willie Taggart said.


USF rushed for just 62 yards on 24 carries after averaging 236 rushing yards per game entering Saturday.


“We were playing turnover-free until the end, but we just didn’t playing winning football overall,” Taggart said.


Navy (6-1, 4-0) used its triple-option attack to rush for 428 yards and scored 13 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to become bowl eligible. Quarterback Keenan Reynolds rushed for 117 yards and had two touchdown runs in the fourth quarter to tie Montee Ball for the top career mark in the FBS with 77 rushing touchdowns. The Middies also go 100-yard rushing performances from Chris Swain (131) and Dishan Romine (115).


“We didn’t stay in our gaps, where we were supposed to be, and he snuck it in there,” Taggart said of Reynolds. “(Navy) is a really good football team with a good offense.”


Navy took a 13-10 lead into halftime after USF started the programs’ first meeting with a huge play right away.


Adams took the game’s opening kickoff at the 3 and jetted 97 yards downfield for a touchdown. It marked USF’s first kickoff return for a touchdown since current graduate assistant Lindsey Lamar went 100 yards at Louisville on Nov. 13, 2010. The Bulls grabbed the initial lead for the sixth consecutive games and seven out of eight outings this season.



USF’s defense stepped up after Adams’ return and held Navy to a 30-yard field goal by Austin Grebe with 10:08 remaining in the first quarter.


Emilio Nadelman’s 25-yard field goal spotted USF a 10-3 lead with 2:30 left in the first quarter. The Bulls went 68 yards on 15 plays on their lone drive of the first quarter that took 7:38 off the clock, USF’s most time consuming drive of the year.


Navy tied things up less than a minute into the second quarter on a 24-yard touchdown run by fullback Chris Swain. The Midshipmen grabbed their first lead of the game on Grebe’s 26-yard field goal with 33 seconds left in the half.


USF took the momentum back right after the break by forcing a short punt and D’Ernest Johnson’s 24-yard return, after a smart coaching staff adjustment on special teams, set the Bulls up at the Navy 36. Johnson was moved to the up man on the punt, which proved to be a valuable adjustment for the Bulls.


Flowers followed with a 34-yard strike to freshman Chris Barr and Marlon Mack found the end zone from 2 yards out on the next play. Mack led the Bulls with 29 yards on 10 carries after missing last week’s win over SMU with a hamstring injury. He moved up to sixth on the Bulls career-rushing chart with 1,760 yards.


The Bulls stopped a promising drive by Navy following Mack’s touchdown to help keep the lead intact. Following Dishon Romine’s 55-yard run to the USF 27, Deatrick Nichols forced and recovered a fumble at the Bulls’ 22. Navy ranked third in the FBS with only four turnovers before Nichols’ heads-up play near the USF red zone.


Tom Allen’s “Bull Sharks” defense stepped up again on Navy’s next drive deep in USF’s red zone. The Midshipmen had a third-and-6 opportunity at the Bulls’ 11, when Nigel Harris stuffed Swain for no gain. Grebe’s 28-yard field goal cut USF’s lead to 17-16 with 1:53 remaining in the third quarter.

USF had a chance to extend its lead in the fourth quarter, but Nadelman’s 32-yard field goal try sailed wide left with 12:45 remaining. Early in the drive, Flowers hit Adams on a 40-yard connection before the Midshipmen jumped off-sides on fourth down at the Navy 23.


“I think our offense just wasn’t clicking the entire game,” Taggart said. “We missed some reads that we had and we just didn’t execute like we have the past three weeks.”


Navy capitalized on the field goal miss with a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive. The Midshipmen grabbed a 22-17 lead on Reynolds’ 1-yard touchdown run, but Tajee Fullwood batted down a two-point conversion pass with 6:58 remaining.


USF’s lone turnover of the game came on the ensuing kickoff and it proved to be costly after Adams lost a fumble at the end of a 41-yard return that would have put the Bulls in prime field position.


Navy ran the ball down to the USF goal line and Reynolds’ 1-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal helped give Navy a 29-17 lead with 1:49 remaining.


The drive was kept alive by a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty after the Bulls stopped the Midshipmen on third down at the USF 34.


USF had three players post double-digit tackle totals, led by Auggie Sanchez’s career-best 14 stops. Jamie Byrd registered 10 tackles and increased his sack total to five in the past three games. Nate Godwin totaled 10 tackles and half of USF’s 2.0 tackles for loss.


USF wraps up its two-game road trip Saturday, Nov. 7 at East Carolina. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. and the game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.

The Bulls return to Raymond James Stadium to host Temple on Saturday, Nov. 14 (time TBA). Reserve your seats at USFBullsTix.com.


Navy Post Game Notes.pdf

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