Florida State took the ball after halftime, but failed to produce anything but a quick three-and-out. However, instead of flipping field position, the Bulls blocked the punt and took over possession at the Seminoles 8-yard line. Three runs by B.J. Daniels later, South Florida got into the end zone and cut the lead to 13-10.
The Noles had an answer on the next drive, though. A big 32 yard completion from E.J. Manuel to Rashad Greene set the tempo to start the drive, and six plays later Manuel found Penn State transfer Kevin Haplea all alone in the end zone to push the lead back to 20-10.
After forcing a quick three and out from USF, Florida State started to assert themselves, but not without some assistance from the officials. Manuel found Kenny Shaw down the left for a 47-yard gain that was ruled complete, but it looked as if Shaw did not fully control the ball before he stepped out. The Noles ended the drive with a field goal to go up 23-10.
South Florida had the ball at the end of the quarter, but Cornellius Carradine stripped backup quarterback Matt Floyd, who came in for an injured Daniels, on the last play of the quarter, and the fumble was returned for a touchdown by Christian Jones to stretch the lead to 30-10.