EditorsNote: 4th graf, changes distance of interception return to 61 yards
Freshman Johnny Ford rushed for a career-high 164 yards and three touchdowns on just seven carries as No. 21 South Florida overcame three turnovers to beat Connecticut 38-30 in American Athletic Conference play Saturday night at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.
Blake Barnett threw two early interceptions and the Bulls (7-0, 3-0 AAC) had to overcome yet another slow start, trailing at the end of the first quarter for the fifth time this season. He finished with 265 passing yards.
They broke a 7-7 halftime tie on Randall St. Felix’s 75-yard reception on the first play from scrimmage of the third quarter.
USF went up 31-14 early in the fourth quarter on Ford’s second touchdown — a 15-yard run set up by Nick Roberts’ 61-yard interception return.
Jordan Cronkrite rushed for 103 yards for his fifth consecutive 100-yard game, but his lost fumble led to a UConn field goal that pulled the Huskies (1-6, 0-4) to within 31-23 midway through the fourth quarter.
Ford, who also had a 78-yard non-scoring run, scored his third touchdown on a 43-yard dash to give the Bulls a 15-point cushion, but the Huskies weren’t done.
Quarterback David Pindell, who rushed for a career-high 197 yards, got the Huskies back to within one score with his second rushing touchdown. Connecticut was offsides after recovering the onside kickoff, and the Bulls recovered the second attempt and ran out the clock.
Kevin Mensah rushed for 120 yards and two scores for the Huskies.
After starting the game only 3-of-7 passing with the two picks, Barnett completed 12 passes in a row to finish the first half 15-of-19 for 96 yards. He made it 13 in a row with a short toss that St. Felix turned into a 75-yard touchdown on the first play of the second half. He finished the game 20-of-28.
—Field Level Media