(Atlanta, GA) In a more competitive game than its season opener, USF hung tough but fell short in a 14-10 loss to Georgia Tech Saturday at Bobby Dowd Stadium in Atlanta. The Bulls extended their losing string dating back to last season to eight games.
Despite the USF defense forcing four punts in the first half, Georgia Tech took a 14-3 lead into the locker room thanks to a two-touchdown second quarter.
On the opening drive, USF’s defense forced its first of three three-and-outs in the first half and Georgia Tech missed a field goal before the Bulls took a 3-0 lead. Redshirt sophomore Randall St. Felix’s 22-yard reception on fourth-and-4 from the Tech 38 helped set up a 27-yard field goal by junior Coby Weiss with 3:40 remaining in the first quarter.
Jordan Mason’s 1-yard touchdown run gave the Yellow Jackets the lead less than four minutes into the second quarter. Tobias Oliver’s 7-yard touchdown run with 53 seconds left in the half, helped spot Georgia Tech a 14-3 advantage.
Sails delivered the big play USF needed in the second half, intercepting his first pass as a Bull and returning it 6 yards to the Georgia Tech 25 late in the third quarter. USF cashed in three plays later with Ford’s 20-yard touchdown reception on a pass from Jordan McCloud, who had replaced starting QB Blake Barnett.
“We had our chances”, Bulls Head Coach Charlie Strong said. “We had the ball first-and-goal at the 1-yard line. We get a penalty, then we go backwards, then we turn it over. We’ve just got to convert when we have those opportunities.”
On replacing Blake Barnett with McCLoud in the second half Strong commented, “We just needed a change-up and we just needed to get going. We weren’t moving the ball. We got enough around us where we could move the football, so we gave Jordan a chance to let him come in.”
The Bulls return to Raymond James Stadium to host South Carolina State next Saturday, Sept. 14 at 6 p.m.