TAMPA (WFLA) – Running back Brian Battie posted his third straight 100-yard rushing game and fifth of the season running for 145 yards on 26 carries as he climbed within 137 yards of the Bulls’ 10th 1,000-yard rushing season as USF football (1-9; 0-6 AAC) battled SMU (6-4; 4-2 AAC) to a 17-17 tie at the half before giving way to a 41-23 Mustangs victory Saturday in Raymond James Stadium. Interim head coach Daniel Da Prato took the helm in his first game as head coach.
Linebacker Dwayne Boyles led USF in tackles for the sixth straight game and pushed his career tackle total to 297, just three shy of becoming just the eighth Bull to post 300 tackles.
Bulls went to quarterback Katravis Marsh who completed 12-of-31 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with an injury after a hard hit on a running play. He had movement in his extremities and was taken to Tampa General Hospital for further observation. Byrum Brown took over as quarterback and is a freshman from Raleigh, NC.
SMU quarterback Tanner Mordecai passed for 280 yards and two touchdowns and running backs Camar Wheaton and Tyler Lavine both ran for 100-yards as the Mustangs put up 553 yards of offense.
A Spencer Shrader field goal in the final seconds of the first half had the game tied at 17 at the break after the Bulls held an SMU offense that scored 77 points the week before in check in the first 20 minutes.
SMU opened the third quarter with a 21-yard and 70-yard touchdown passes to make it 31-17 nine minutes into the quarter.
Facing a 4th-and-three at midfield, USF went for it and failed to complete a short pass. SMU took over and made it 21 unanswered points, driving 44 yards and taking a 38-17 lead. The Mustangs later tacked on a 45-yard field goal for 24 straight points that put the game away.
The Bulls scored on a late touchdown drive as quarterback Byrum Brown hit tight end Jayson Littlejohn for a 17-yard touchdown, the first for both on their careers.
USF got its offense in gear on its third drive as Battie burst for 14 yards and Marsh hit Jimmy Horn Jr. for a 24-yard gain. A big 4th-and-1 pick up by Michel Dukes at the SMU20 kept the Bulls moving toward the endzone and USF finished it off with a 1-yard plunge by freshman Jason Albritton that completed a 12-play, 75-yard drive.