Huskies Fall to South Florida in International Bowl
Jan. 2, 2010
TORONTO - The University of South Florida scored 24 unanswered points in the second half to hand the Northern Illinois University Huskies a 27-3 loss in the 2010 International Bowl Saturday at the Rogers Centre.
Northern Illinois and South Florida battled to a 3-3 tie in the first half as NIU held the Bulls to minus three rushing yards and just 95 yards of total offense in the half. Each team punted four times in the first half in a field position battle. NIU harassed South Florida quarterback B.J. Daniels, sacking him four times in the half, including a 20-yard sack by freshman linebacker Tyrone Clark.
USF's Eric Schwartz put the Bulls on the board first with a 39-yard field goal with 10:17 left in the first half before Huskie senior Mike Salerno tied the game on a 21-yard boot early in the second period.
The turning point of the game came on South Florida's second possession of the second half. Leading 6-3 and facing a third and 13, Daniels scrambled to avoid the Huskie rush before connecting with wide receiver A.J. Love on a 46-yard touchdown pass to give the Bulls a 13-3 lead and the momentum. South Florida held the ball for 11:06 in the third quarter while the Huskies could manage only 10 offensive plays and 29 yards.
"We didn't do our job offensively," said NIU Head Coach Jerry Kill. "They wore us down. We played tough defensively today, especially in the first half."
Tailback Mike Ford did the bulk of the second half damage for the Bulls as he rushed 19 times for 189 of his 207 yards in the second half. Ford, who was named the game's MVP, finished with 207 yards on just 20 carries.
Daniels and Love hooked up again on USF's next drive, this time for a seven-yard score, to give USF a 20-3 lead with 14 minutes and 55 seconds left to play.
Daniels finished with 217 yards and two touchdowns on 14-of-22 passing, while Love had three catches for 56 yards and two TDs.
The NIU offense moved the ball in the first half, but was unable to get into the end zone. The Huskies outgained the Bulls 141-95 yards in the first half, however, NIU's offense was limited to 97 yards of total offense in the second half.
Junior Chad Spann led the Huskies in rushing, gaining 93 yards on 20 carries. Spann's 37-yard scamper in the fourth quarter put him over the 1,000-yard mark for the season, giving NIU its 10th 1,000-yard rusher in the past 11 years and first since 2007.
Quarterback Chandler Harnish finished the day going 12-for-25 for 130 yards with one interception. Marcus Lewis ended his career at NIU as the team's leading receiver with 38 yards on four catches. Cornerback and Florida native Chris Smith led all tacklers with eight, five solo in his first bowl game.
"We had a great time and this bowl was a great experience for our young men," Kill said. "The encouraging thing is we played a lot of freshmen today. We're a young team and we're excited about the future. This bowl game will help us down the road.
"I'm also very proud of our seniors. They accomplished a lot and went to three bowl games."
Northern Illinois finished the season 7-6 overall, while South Florida went to 8-5 with the win.
-- NIU --
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