TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — South Florida stopped a long skid, but lost a key player for the rest of the season.
B.J. Daniels ran for a first-quarter touchdown before leaving in the fourth with an ankle injury as South Florida stopped a school-record six-game losing streak by beating Connecticut 13-6 on Saturday night.
Daniels was hurt on a 15-yard run inside the UConn 10 just over five minutes into the fourth. The senior quarterback couldn't put any weight on his left leg as he was helped from the field.
"From what I'm being told at this point, it is likely a broken ankle and B.J. will be done for the year," South Florida coach Skip Holtz said. "As nice as it is to win, half of you is jumping up and down really excited about the smiles in the locker room. It comes with the other part of your heart is broken.
"This is a young man that has competed his tail off and given everything that he had to this university for the last four years," he said. "This is painful. It's hard."
The Bulls settled for a 28-yard field goal by Maikon Bonani later in the drive after Daniels was hurt to take a 10-6 advantage. Bonani added a 50-yard kick to extend the lead to 13-6 with four and a half minutes left.
South Florida (3-6, 1-4) had dropped 12 of its last 13 Big East games dating to November 2010. The Bulls squandered a 20-point halftime lead en route to a 37-36 loss to Syracuse on Nov. 27.
Chad Christen had two field goals for UConn (3-6, 0-4), which has dropped six of eight following a season-opening victory over Massachusetts. The Huskies were coming off a bye week.
South Florida played without linebacker Sam Barrington, who was suspended for the game. The team said the Bulls' leading tackler was cited by police for driving with a revoked license.
Daniels put the Bulls up 7-0 on a 5-yard TD run with 4:08 left in the first. He set a school record for career rushing touchdowns with 25 on the score.
Daniels completed 19 of 29 passes for 199 yards, and also picked up 23 rushing yards on 10 carries.
UConn got within 7-3 when Christen made a 50-yard field goal two seconds before halftime. His second field goal of the game, from 37 yards with 4:28 to go in the third, made it 7-6.
The Huskies had failed to score during the second half in their previous three games.
South Florida threatened to extend its early lead midway through the second, but UConn cornerback Dwayne Gratz intercepted Daniels' pass in the end zone.
South Florida was the only FBS team in the nation without an interception until safety Jon Lejiste picked off Chandler Whitmer's pass at the USF 10 yard line with 6:27 remaining in the game.
"It was a high, wobbly pass," Lejiste said. "Those are the ones you usually drop because you have too much time to think. All I could think was don't drop the ball. Just think catch it for the team."
A late UConn drive ended with 50 seconds to go when Elkino Watson intercepted a Whitmer pass. Whitmer has thrown 13 interceptions this season.
"You just can't have that many things happen in a tight game like this and expect to be successful," UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni said. "Too many bad things. Crazy things. You can't turn it over like that and expect to come out of a close game like this with a win. That's the bottom line. If you eliminate the self-inflicted wounds, maybe you're kicking a field goal to win the game. And right now, we'd take that."
Whitmer went 24 of 38 for 284 yards.Click here to join other Bulls fans in discussion on the game!