USF followed up its Big East opening loss to Rutgers ... with a loss to Ball State.
It was that kind of day for the league, which went 0-2 against the MAC on Saturday -- including UConn's loss to Western Michigan. That winless record comes a week after the Big East made some headlines with its 3-0 day against the ACC.
But Saturday, both UConn and USF seemed to take their MAC competition lightly. The Bulls seemed disinterested and made way too many mistakes in a 31-27 loss. Start with 11 penalties for 112 yards; minus-2 in the turnover margin department; and a missed extra point that impacted the outcome of the game.
Had USF made its extra point after a touchdown by Lindsey Lamar in the second quarter, then the Bulls would not have needed to score a touchdown with time running out in the game. It was a wild final five minutes to be sure. B.J. Daniels threw his second touchdown pass to Lamar -- who ran 29 yards with several broken tackles -- to give USF a 27-24 lead with 4:12 remaining. It was USF's first lead since opening the game with a field goal.
But the Bulls defense simply couldn't hold, and that followed the theme of the day. Keith Wenning marched Ball State 75 yards down the field and capped the drive with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Willie Snead -- who made an unbelievable tippy-toe catch in the corner of the end zone. Ball State grabbed a 31-27 lead with 1:02 to go.
USF then had to go for the touchdown. Daniels marched USF to the Ball State 28 with 17 seconds left. But he threw an interception to end the game, on what looked like a miscommunication with his receiver.
USF did have 518 yards of total offense, but too many mistakes did this team in -- again. Now the Bulls face the prospect of hosting Florida State at home next weekend on the heels of two dispiriting losses.