USF quarterback B.J. Daniels ran for two touchdowns and threw for another touchdown. Daniels threw for 304 yards and ran for 142 yards on 22 carries.
With one game left, the loss assured Louisville of a second consecutive losing season – and a third non-winning season in a row under Steve Kragthorpe. It's the first time since 1985-87 – Howard Schnellenberger's first three years - that the Louisville football program has suffered three consecutive non-winning seasons. Louisville hasn't had two straight losing seasons since 1996-97 – Ron Cooper's final two seasons.
That will lead to endless speculation this week about Steve Kragthorpe's future at UofL. Louisville AD Tom Jurich, who was in Tampa for Saturday's game, declined comment about the job security of the embattled coach, according to Quint Kessenich of the Big East Television Network crew.
South Florida extended their narrow halftime lead on the first possession when B.J. Daniels ran for a 20 yard score to put USF ahead 24-16. Two pass plays from Daniels to AJ Love for 25 yards and 14 yards set up USF's touchdown.
Nate Allen then intercepted Adam Froman on the next play to give South Florida the ball at the Louisville 21-yard line. But the Bulls had to settle for a 44-yard Eric Schwartz field goal that extended USF's lead to 27-16 with 7:15 remaining in the third quarter.
Darius Ashley's 17-yard touchdown run cut USF's lead to 27-22 early in the fourth quarter. The Cards tried to cut the lead to three but Adam Froman's two-point pass fell incomplete. Froman hit Doug Beaumont for 29 yards and Josh Chichester for 11 to set up the UofL touchdown.
USF secured victory on Daniels' one-yard touchdown run to make the lead 34-22 with 5:08 remaining in the contest. Daniels 28-yard pass to Ben Busbee gave USF a first down at the two yard line.
It was a game of spurts in the first half as USF jumped out to a 14-0 lead before Louisville scored the next 16 points.
After stopping Louisville three and out on the game's opening series, B.J. Daniels led South Florida on an 80 yard touchdown drive. Daniels gave the Bulls a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter when he found Dontavia Bogan for a 16 yard scoring strike.
South Florida jumped out to a 14-0 lead on their next possession. Daniels hit A.J. Love for a 45-yard reception down to the UofL 24 that set up the Bulls in scoring position. Moise Plancher scored from two yards out to cap USF's 12-play, 80 yard scoring drive at the end of the first quarter.
After USF's second touchdown, Louisville reclaimed some momentum.
Louisville moved into the red zone on their third possession but had to settle for a 37-yard Chris Philpott field goal to cut the deficit to 14-3 with 10:10 left in the half. Froman hit Josh Chichester on a 16 yard pass to set Louisville up with a first down inside the 20. But Darius Ashley was stopped for a three yard loss on the next play and Froman threw incompletions on the next two plays.
The Cardinals cut USF's lead to 14-10 on their next possession when Froman found Scott Long for a 20 yard touchdown with 6:28 in the half. Froman hit Long for a 45 yard gain down to the South Florida 25 yard line to set Louisville up deep in USF territory.
After stopping USF three and out, Trent Guy returned South Florida's punt 60 yards for a touchdown to give Louisville the lead at 16-14. The Cardinals had the extra point blocked.
USF re-gained the lead just before half. South Florida took a 17-16 lead on Eric Schwartz' 22-yard field goal at the end of the second quarter. Two B.J. Daniels 18-yard runs and a 22-yard pass to Sterling Griffen positioned the Bulls for the field goal to end the half.
Louisville closes out the season next Friday at PJCS against Rutgers.