Cincinnati at South Florida

USF beats Cincinnati 26-20 for Taggart's 1st win

AP Sports Writer

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) 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.

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Related Video

Scoring Summary
SFLANate Godwin 75 yd blocked FG return (Marvin Kloss kick)
SFLAMarvin Kloss 25 yd FG
SFLAMarvin Kloss 52 yd FG
CINCYMekale McKay 22 yd pass from Brendon Kay (missed kick)
SFLADeDe Lattimore 10 yd fumble return (Marvin Kloss kick)
SFLAMarvin Kloss 24 yd FG
SFLAMarvin Kloss 40 yd FG
CINCYChris Moore 27 yd pass from Brendon Kay (Tony Miliano kick)
CINCYMekale McKay 15 yd pass from Brendon Kay (Tony Miliano kick)
Team Stats
First Downs2112
Third Down Efficiency7-145-15
Fourth Down Efficiency0-10-0
Plays-Net Yards69-35055-241
Passing Yds240129
Kick Return Yds015
Punt Return Yds49
Time of Poss.29:2630:34
Individual Stats
CINCY: Ralph Abernathy 4-38, Tion Green 8-30, Brendon Kay 11-28, Hosey Williams 7-16, Team 2-0, Jordan Luallen 1--2
SFLA: Michael Pierre 16-61, Marcus Shaw 9-27, Bobby Eveld 8-15, Darius Tice 3-8, Steven Bench 1-1
CINCY: Brendon Kay 24-36-240-2
SFLA: Bobby Eveld 10-16-122-0, Steven Bench 1-1-7-0, Team 0-1-0-0
CINCY: Anthony McClung 8-90, Shaq Washington 5-48, Mekale McKay 2-37, Chris Moore 2-17, Blake Annen 2-12, Max Morrison 1-15, Tion Green 1-7, Hosey Williams 1-6, Ralph Abernathy 1-5, Jeremy Graves 1-3
SFLA: Mike McFarland 4-49, Andre Davis 3-56, Sean Price 3-14, Derrick Hopkins 1-10
Cincinnati4th American Athletic East1-74-8
South Florida1st American Athletic East7-111-2

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