Tampa Bay, FL----With a crowd of 31,077 on hand for Saturday’s matchup against the Cincinnati Bearcats, the South Florida Bulls picked up their first win of the season with a score of 26-13.
The Bulls forced four turnovers on the night with Mark Joyce leading the way with two interceptions. Freshman Nate Godwin gave the Bulls their first score of the night off a Tony Miliano blocked field goal and it took 75-yards for a Bulls touchdown with 12:57 left in the first quarter.
Filled with positives from start to finish, South Florida lost two key offensive players in the first half against the Bearcats to report some bad news. Senior running back Marcus Shaw and sophomore quarterback Steven Bench both suffered leg injuries and were dressed in street clothes for the second half. Senior quarterback Bobby Eveld took Bench’s place and finished off the game on 10-16 passing for 122 yards and added 35 yards on the ground on eight attempts as well.
For the second week in a row, the Bulls recorded a defensive touchdown. Defensive end Ryan Giddins knocked the ball loose with midway through the second quarter and standout senior linebacker DeDe Lattimore scooped up the pigskin and took it the house for a Bulls touchdown with 07:42 left in the first half to give the Bulls a 20-6 lead.
Placekicker Marvin Kloss continues to impress and set a career high from 52-yards out and finished the game 4-4. The 50-yard kick by Kloss was his second of the year from 50-yards plus.
"I knew that when I got the job. I was so excited in what I had in Marvin,” Willie Taggart said.
Coach Willie Taggart has preached consistency and to be positive all year long. A great week of practice for the Bulls was a big contributor for the win on Saturday evening.
"Our guys don't give up in practice. You couldn't tell it was an 0-4 team,” Taggart said.
Senior defensive back, Fidel Montgomery led the Bulls in tackles Saturday evening with nine total tackles.
For Cincinnati, quarterback Brendan Kay threw for 240 yards on 24-36 passing with three touchdowns, but added two crucial Mark Joyce interceptions as well, which were two big momentum boosters for Chuck Bresnahan's defense.
The Bulls failed to score on the offensive end all night and recorded just 12 first downs to Cincinnati’s 21, but the four successful field goals by kicker Marvin Kloss, the 75-yard blocked field goal touchdown by freshman Nate Godwin and DeDe Lattimore’s scoop-and-score fumble return touchdown were enough to send the Bearcats back to the Midwest with a loss.
"It's big. We've been saying all along we knew our guys could do it,” Taggart said regarding the Bulls first win. “We’re going to party like a rock star right now. The bus had the hazard lights on. Now the bus is moving a little bit.”
The Bulls now sit undefeated in the conference and are (1-4, 1-0) and Cincinnati falls in their conference opener and are (3-2, 0-1) on the season.