Although the first half did have some offense mixed in among the punting, the second half was not nearly as smooth. The teams combined for 10 second-half punts, and Miami had the only two sustained drives in the final two periods. The first one took up nearly half the third quarter, taking the Hurricanes to the USF 24-yard line. But Ryne Giddins got a hand on Wieclaw’s 41-yard field goal attempt, keeping the score tied at 3.
The second drive was the last one of the game. Miami went on a 61-yard, 15-play march that was almost all due to quarterback Jacory Harris. He completed all seven passes he attempted, and had a key 10-yard scramble when the Hurricanes were in 2nd and long inside their own 20-yard line. After Miami got into field-goal range, Skip Holtz opted not to use any of his three timeouts to try and save more time on the clock for USF to get the ball back, saving them for the field goal attempt. (In his defense, Miami had a 2nd and 1 and a 3rd and 1, and if the Hurricanes had converted either one it wouldn’t have mattered whether USF called timeout or not.)
The game turned when B.J. Daniels suffered a shoulder injury near the sideline on a running play. He was unable to return, and backup Bobby Eveld was completely ineffective. Since Eveld is not a threat to keep the ball, the running game stopped working, and he completed 5 of 9 passes for only 36 yards. The Bulls only gained 75 yards and three first downs with Eveld in the game, and one of the first downs was because of a personal foul on Miami.
The inept offensive performance wasted a great defensive effort from USF. They held Lamar Miller to just 51 yards rushing on 20 carries, locked down receivers Travis Benjamin and Tommy Streeter, and sacked Jacory Harris six times. But with USF’s already-conservative offense becoming even more so without their starting quarterback, it seemed like a matter of time until Miami figured out a way to score and win.
The Bulls fall to 5-5 and still need one more win to secure bowl eligibliity. Their next chance is Friday morning at 11:00 against Louisville at Raymond James Stadium.