Tampa, FL (Sports Network) – South Florida offensive lineman Jacob Sims recovered Moise Plancher’s fumble into the end zone for the deciding touchdown, as South Florida outlasted Rutgers, 28-27, in Big East action.
Plancher ran for 135 yards on 21 carries and nearly cost the Bulls (5-3, 2-2 Big East) the game, but USF got its second straight win with the help of a third-quarter safety.
B.J. Daniels threw for 149 yards and two touchdowns on 10-of-17 efficiency and was intercepted once for South Florida. Evan Landi and Dontavia Bogan each caught a touchdown pass.
Chas Dodd completed 19-of-22 passes for 139 yards for Rutgers (4-4, 1-2), which has lost two straight. Jeremy Deering ran for 69 yards on nine carries, while Mark Harrison had five receptions for 88 yards and a score.
Mohamed Sanu caught seven passes for 48 yards and threw a touchdown pass for the Scarlet Knights.
Trailing by five with 12 minutes to play, South Florida moved ahead for the first time in the second half on a five-play, 67-yard drive.
Andreas Shields caught a 31-yard pass to begin the series, and Plancher followed with a 21-yard rush to gain the Rutgers 15. Plancher ran the next three plays, but fumbled at the goal line; fortunately for USF, it was recovered by Sims in the end zone.
After a failed two-point conversion, USF led, 28-27.
Rutgers gained possession with six minutes left near midfield after a poor punt and faced 4th-and-3 from the USF 41. The Bulls brought a heavy blitz, resulting in an eight-yard sack of Dodd to turn the ball over.
The Scarlet Knights didn’t get the ball back until 36 seconds remained, and they didn’t get into field goal range down the stretch.
A 47-yard punt return by South Florida’s Terrence Mitchell set up the game’s first touchdown, which was recorded by Landi via a four-yard pass from Daniels 6 1/2 minutes into the contest.
Rutgers answered with its own big special teams play, as Mason Robinson returned a Justin Brockhaus-Kann punt 60 yards to the end zone for a 7-7 contest after one quarter.
San San Te’s 25-yard field goal on the first possession of the second quarter gave the Scarlet Knights their first lead at 10-7, but the Bulls responded with a nine-play, 74-yard series that ended on Daniels’ six-yard touchdown pass to Bogan for a 14-10 contest with just over seven minutes left in the half.
Rutgers went back in front in less than a minute later with a pair of big plays. On the first play from scrimmage following USF’s score, Dodd found Harrison on a 40-yard pass play, then Sanu hit Harrison for a 21-yard score on the next snap to put the visitors back ahead by three.
South Florida was able to tie the game 32 seconds before halftime, 17-17, on Maikon Bonani’s 47-yard field goal.
Rutgers opened up the second half with a nine-play scoring drive to take the lead.
South Florida was whistled for a total of 35 yards in penalties on the series, which traveled 74 yards. The worst of it was a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct call on Patrick Hampton that allowed the Scarlet Knights to go from 3rd-and-12 on the USF 37 to 1st-and-10 on the 22. Joe Martinek finished the drive with a one-yard touchdown run for a 24-17 advantage.
Bonani’s 21-yard field goal drew South Florida to within four moments later, and USF forced a safety when Rutgers’ Kordell Young caught a screen pass in the end zone and never got out, making it 24-22 heading to the fourth.
The Bulls couldn’t take advantage of their ensuing possession, however, as Daniels was intercepted on the first play of the fourth quarter. Te added a 30-yard field goal for the Scarlet Knights to push the lead to five with 12 minutes to play.
11/03 22:40:17 ET