Key Moment: West Virginia - South Florida

It wasn't technically a moment – more of an event. But the semantics aren't important. What is was South Florida's in-your-face drive after West Virginia moved to within two points at 14-12 in the third quarter.

West Virginia actually helped the Bulls succeed in their key moment by making a very ill-considered two point conversion attempt with 7:16 left in the third quarter. At that point, with plenty of time left in the game, WVU should have kicked the extra point rather than chase a two-pointer to tie. When Patrick White's pass fell short, it gave a boost to South Florida, and the Bulls didn't waste any time in using that to swing momentum back its way.

Starting on their own 30-yard line, the Bulls commenced a soul-sucking nine-play, 70-yard touchdown drive that put the Mountaineers back on their heels. Key plays in the march included a much too easy 20-yard pass completion from quarterback Matt Grothe to wide receiver Taurus Johnson on third down and four, and an embarrassingly wide open wide receiver screen that Ean Randolph turned into an uncontested 21-yard touchdown romp.

While the West Virginia offense certainly deserved more than its share of blame for the 24-19 loss, it was this series that put the Mountaineers into a hole that it could not climb out of. Had WVU been able to hold the Bulls out of the end zone on this critical possession, it would have been in much better shape to rally and avoid the defeat that cost it any chance of a BCS bid. Instead, it was the Bulls who made the critical plays, marching the ball down the field in an excellent example of what the spread offense can be. On the drive, USF rushed for 39 yards and passed for 56, and overcame 25 yards in penalties, including a holding call that put them in a first down and 20 situation. It only took the Bulls two plays to score after that foul, and the ease with which they did so sent a message that this was not to be the Mountaineers' day.

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