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(Saturday, September 8th)
Final Score: South Florida 32, Nevada 31
Reno, NV (Sports Network) - B.J. Daniels engineered a pair of scoring drives in the closing minutes to propel the South Florida Bulls to a 32-31 victory over the Nevada Wolf Pack in a non-conference thriller at Mackay Stadium.
Daniels completed 22-of-40 passes for 363 yards and three touchdowns with just one interception for South Florida (2-0). Andre Davis set USF's single-game receiving record with 12 catches for 191 yards and two scores to help the Bulls start the season off with back-to-back victories. Lindsey Lamar gained 85 yards and a touchdown on eight carries while Demetris Murray rushed for 60 yards and a touchdown on 13 touches.
Cody Fajardo completed 27-of-38 passes for 271 yards and a touchdown while under center for Nevada (1-1) as it suffered its first loss of the season. Stephon Jefferson tallied a game-high 135 yards on 30 carries while Zach Sudfeld, Brandon Wimberly, and Kolby Arendse caught five passes each.
Nevada avoided a catastrophe early and struck first as Cody Fajardo's fumble into the endzone was recovered by his teammate, Zach Sudfeld, for the inaugural touchdown of the contest at the 10:40 mark of the opening period.
Fajardo later finished off a seven-play, 58-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run which put the Wolf Pack up, 14-0, with 6:29 left in the first frame.
South Florida scored its first points just over a minute later when Daniels completed a 51-yard touchdown pass to Davis. Place kicker Maikon Bonani missed the ensuing extra point attempt, which kept Nevada ahead, 14-6.
Fajardo answered with just under three minutes left in the first quarter by completing a 29-yard pass to Joseph Huber for a score.
The Bulls narrowed the gap with just over nine minutes left in the first half as Murray pushed through the middle for a one-yard touchdown run. Bonani's extra point narrowed Nevada's lead to 21-13, which is where the score would remain through halftime after both teams failed to score the rest of the half.
South Florida found the endzone on its opening possession of the second half a Lamar dashed 35 yards for a touchdown. USF trailed by a point, 21-20, after Bonani made the extra point.
Nevada ended the Bulls' run when Fajardo ran 14 yards for a touchdown as the third quarter came to a close. Fajardo's second rushing touchdown of the game sent the Wolf Pack into the final frame leading 28-20.
Nevada added its lead with just over eight minutes left in the contest with a 35-yard field goal courtesy of Allen Hardison.
Trailing 31-20 with minutes remaining, Daniels connected with Dunkley for a 52- yard touchdown pass to cut into the lead. The Bulls' quarterback was unable to connect with his target on the two-point conversion try, which left USF trailing, 31-26, with 2:37 left to play.
The Wolf Pack was unable to get anything going on their ensuing drive, and was forced to punt after just three plays.
USF took control with 1:38 remaining on its own eight yard-line, but Daniels quickly moved the ball towards midfield before finding Davis for the go-ahead 56-yard touchdown pass. The Bulls once again failed their two-point conversion try, which put them ahead 32-21.
Thanks to an illegal helmet contact penalty, Nevada was able to move the ball into USF territory. However, Fajardo lost a fumble on the final play to conclude the thriller.
Nevada had only lost once in its previous 18 home games.
09/08 21:14:35 ET
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