Bearcats fall in American Athletic Conference opener to previously winless USF

a a a a
Share this story

TAMPA, Fla. -- Nate Godwin scored on a long blocked field goal return and DeDe Lattimore scooped up a fumble for another touchdown Saturday night to help South Florida begin American Athletic Conference play with a 26-20 victory over Cincinnati, which was playing for the first time since one of its players was killed in a car accident.

The Bearcats (3-2, 0-1) spent a difficult bye week grieving, attending red-shirt freshman Ben Flick's funeral and making hospital visits in addition to practicing. They were looking forward to playing a game to help things get back to normal.

Two hours before kickoff, the entire Cincinnati team gathered at the midfield at Raymond James Stadium, forming a circle around the USF logo to pray. A moment of silence in Flick's memory was observed before the opening kickoff. Two other players were injured in the wreck, and one of them remains hospitalized.

USF (1-4, 1-0) won for the first time under coach Willie Taggart, who left Western Kentucky after last season to take over a program that underachieved for much of the eight years it was a member of the Big East.

The Bulls lost quarterback Steven Bench and running back Marcus Shaw, who entered the game averaging 131.2 yards per game rushing, to leg injuries in the first half.

But with Cincinnati turning the ball over four times, missing an extra point and having a field goal blocked, USF's sputtering offense didn't need to get into the end zone to do its part.

Marvin Kloss kicked four field goals, including a 52-yarder. Bobby Eveld came off the bench to complete 10 of 16 passes for 122 yards, no TDs and no interceptions.

Brendon Kay rallied Cincinnati from a 26-6 deficit with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes. But USF's defense also rose to the occasion, clinging to a 13-point lead by stopping the Bearcats on downs at the Bulls' 10 with 6:45 remaining.

The car accident occurred on Sept. 21 while traveling back to Cincinnati from Oxford, Ohio, where the Bearcats had beaten Miami of Ohio earlier in the day.

The players were making the trip on their own because as redshirt freshmen, they didn't dress or travel with the team to the game.

The Bearcats got off to an encouraging start defensively Saturday night, forcing a fumble on the second play from scrimmage. But the offense was unable to take advantage, settling for a 40-yard field goal attempt that 6-foot-5 Mike McFarland leaped to block and the speedy Godwin ran back 75 yards to give USF a 7-0 lead.

It didn't get any easier the rest of the way.

USF scored on defense for the second week, with DeDe Lattimore scooping up Brendon Kay's fumble and returning it 10 yards for a touchdown that put the Bulls up 20-6 in the second quarter.

Kay completed 24 of 36 passes for 240 yards and three touchdowns -- 22 yards to Mekale McKay in the second quarter, 27 yards to Chris Moore early in the fourth, and 15 yards to McKay to trim USF's lead to 26-20 with 2:03 left.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Print this article

Comments

Hmm... It looks like you’re not a WCPO Insider. or Subscribe now to contribute!

More UC Sports
Gunner Kiel sharp in Cincinnati spring game
Gunner Kiel sharp in Cincinnati spring game

Gunner Kiel threw for 300 yards and looked smooth running Cincinnati's first-team offense during the Bearcats' spring game Saturday.

UC's Kilpatrick named first-team AP All-America
UC's Kilpatrick named first-team AP All-America

Sean Kilpatrick got one of college basketball biggest honors Monday when he was named first-team Associated Press All-America.

VIDEO: Tommy G's top UC hoops moments of 2014
VIDEO: Tommy G's top UC hoops moments of 2014

As fans of 16 other college hoops teams get fired up for the NCAA Sweet 16, basketball fever is cooling down at UC. But you wouldn't…

Harvard upsets 5th-seed Cincinnati 61-57
Harvard upsets 5th-seed Cincinnati 61-57

Siyani Chambers scored 11 points, including five straight in the final two minutes, and 12th-seeded Harvard won its second NCAA…

RECAP: UC upset by Harvard in NCAA Tourney
RECAP: UC upset by Harvard in NCAA Tourney

The Cincinnati Bearcats came up short in their 2014 NCAA Tournament debut against the 12th-seeded Harvard Crimson, but boy,…

Bearcats get no respect, not even from president
Bearcats get no respect, not even from president

Fifth-seeded UC continues to hear that it is ripe for the seemingly annual upset pulled by a No. 12 seed. Even President Barack Obama is…

UC to battle through Virginia-led East Region
UC to battle through Virginia-led East Region

A look at the East Region of the 2014 NCAA Tournament that features the likes of Cincinnati, Villanova, Michigan State and No. 1 seed Virginia.

Fans react to UC, Harvard matchup on Thursday
Fans react to UC, Harvard matchup on Thursday

No. 5 Cincinnati opens NCAA tournament play in the East Region against No. 12 Harvard, which will make its third straight trip to the…

UC set to party, treat fans with good NCAA seed
UC set to party, treat fans with good NCAA seed

The Bearcats probably like CBS Sports' prediction more than ESPN's, but they might be happy either way when they host an NCAA…

UC out of AAC tourney with loss to UConn, 58-56
UC out of AAC tourney with loss to UConn, 58-56

The University of Cincinnati Bearcats were knocked out of the American Athletic Conference men's basketball tournament Friday night with…