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Passing Game Fails For South Florida In Loss To Maryland

Needing the offense to step up, South Florida could do nothing right in the passing game, falling to 1-2 on the season with a loss to Maryland.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Unable to put together a solid day on offense, the South Florida Bulls fell to the Maryland Terrapins 35-17 Saturday afternoon.

The Bulls, coming off of a closer than expected loss to Florida State in week two, struggled from the beginning with only 47 total yards in their first six possessions of the game. Despite the lack of offense, South Florida was still in the game early due to an interception by safety Devin Abraham (5 tkl, 1 INT) on Maryland's first offensive possession that was returned to the Terrapins four-yard-line. One play later, quarterback Quinton Flowers (10-19/60/1TD) found Rodney Adams (4/8/1TD) for a touchdown score to take a 7-0 lead.

Maryland quickly responded with an eight-play, 59-yard drive to tie the game at seven with 8:44 left in the first quarter. After yet another South Florida punt, Maryland drove 71 yards in three plays, capped by a 70-yard touchdown pass, to give the Terrapins a 14-7 lead after one quarter of action.

Late in the second quarter, the Bulls finally had their first drive of over 25 yards, a 12-play, 64-yard drive that ended with a 34-yard field goal attempt by Emilio Nadelman. His kick was good, cutting the Maryland lead to 14-10 with :59 left in the first half. Giving the Terrapins under a minute to score before halftime, the USF defense had a major letdown with Maryland moving 66 yards on only five plays to score a touchdown. The touchdown, on a fumble recovery in the end zone, came with :10 left in the first half. At the half, Maryland led 21-10.

South Florida came out for the second half and immediately gave up a 47-yard kickoff return to start Maryland's second half at the USF 37-yard line. Five plays later, Maryland was in the endzone for the fourth time to extend the lead to 18 points at 28-10. After turnovers from both teams, Flowers and company showed one last gasp of energy with a 17-play, 69-yard touchdown drive, capped by a 7-yard touchdown run by Flowers to pull within 11 points at 28-17.

The Bulls finally had some momentum, but immediately gave that away with an interception by backup quarterback Steven Bench (0-3/0/0TD) that set up Maryland with possession on the USF 17. Three plays later, the Terrapins closed out scoring with a 22-yard touchdown pass to give Maryland the final 35-17 score. Flowers was held out during the drive that Bench threw an interception. Flowers immediately came in for the next possession, so it seems to be a coaching decision to try Bench on that possession.

Running back Marlon Mack (12/71/0TD) and Flowers (24/85/1TD) led the Bulls to 240 yards on the ground in the defeat. Jamie Byrd (9 tkl, 1 INT) and Deadrin Senat (9 tkl) led the Bulls with a combined 18 tackles on the day.

South Florida (1-2, 0-0) is back in action again on October 2 in a start to AAC play versus Memphis.