TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — South Florida coach Willie Taggart is staying positive despite a one-sided loss that kept the Bulls winless heading into the American Athletic Conference season.
Stephen Morris threw for two touchdowns before limping off with an ankle injury and Duke Johnson scored a TD in his eighth consecutive game, helping No. 15 Miami roll past the Bulls 49-21 on Saturday.
"Like I told our guys, we're 0-4, no one is going to say anything positive," Taggart said. "It's the reality of it. So, let's not get caught up in that. Keep working and let's find a way to make those plays. We've got a conference (season) ahead of us. There's no need to just turn around or walk away and just give up. Quitters never win."
South Florida opens AAC play next Saturday against Cincinnati.
"All of our in-season goals are still here," USF center Austin Reiter said. "We're going into conference play. We've still got eight more games to play."
USF's offense has five touchdowns all season, including Marcus Shaw's 3-yard run that made it 7-7. Shaw wound up with 127 yards rushing, but the Bulls' offense didn't come close to scoring again until Steven Bench — their third starting quarterback in four weeks — threw a 16-yard TD pass to Derrick Hopkins with two seconds remaining.
Bench was 13-of-27 passing for 189 yards. He was intercepted once and lost two fumbles.
"We've all got to play better," Bench said. "We're looking forward to Cincinnati. This game is over."
Miami (4-0) is off to its best start in nine years heading into next weekend's Atlantic Coast Conference opener at home against Georgia Tech. At 0-4 under first-year coach Taggart, USF is off to the worst start in school history and has dropped 13 of 14 dating to last season.
"That's a really good football team, and we've got to play so much better in order to have a chance against that football team because of where we're at right now," Taggart said. "Until we get to where we want to be, we've got to play perfect football in order to compete with a team like Miami."
Morris threw for 222 yards, moving ahead of Steve Walsh and into ninth place on Miami's career passing list. He tossed TD passes of 19 yards to Herb Waters and 34 yards to Stacy Coley as the Hurricanes scored on their first three possessions and amassed 251 yards of offense in the first quarter alone.
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