Bulls trample Huskies to take International Bowl

South Florida Bulls MVP Mike Ford and George Selvie hold the trophy after their team defeated the...

South Florida Bulls MVP Mike Ford and George Selvie hold the trophy after their team defeated the Northern Illinois Huskies in their NCAA International Bowl football game in Toronto on Saturday, January 2. (REUTERS/Mark Blinch)

Terry KOSHAN, Sun Media

, Last Updated: 5:15 PM ET

A.J. Love gave fans something to like about the 2010 International Bowl.

The University of South Florida wide receiver had two touchdowns in the second half, leading the Bulls to a 27-3 victory against the Northern Illinois University Huskies at the Rogers Centre.

Until Love caught a 46-yard pass from quarterback B.J. Daniels at 10:48 of the third quarter, the game had been a dreadful bore. Neither club had much going on offence until Love got in between Huskies defenders Chris Smith and Tracy Wilson for the first major of the afternoon.

Love then caught a seven-yard pass from Daniels early in the fourth quarter to easily put the game out of reach. That kept the several hundred Bulls fans who trekked from Tampa, where the school is based, on their feet until the final gun.

Mike Ford, who rushed for a career-high 207 yards, ran in for a 24-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Ford was named the game's MVP, setting an International Bowl record with an average of 10.4 yards a carry.

South Florida, which upset Florida State in a game in September, finished the season 8-5. Northern Illinois ended at 7-6.

After the teams combined to set an International Bowl record for fewest point in a half when they trotted off deadlocked 3-3 after 30 minutes, the Bulls finally started to find some holes in the Huskies’ defensive line. Ford took over in the second half, and Daniels managed to shake off the fact he was sacked five times.

The Bulls nearly cracked the touchdown goose egg not long after the second half began. Ford rumbled 36 yards to the Huskies’ 42 yard-line, and a couple of plays later, Carlton Mitchell caught a 31-yard pass to take South Florida to the six-yard line. But the Bulls had to settle for a 19-yard field goal by Eric Schwartz to take a 6-3 lead.

One major positive was a result of the drive that went 81 yards in four minutes 19 seconds. Mitchell, with his catch, improved to 680 yards on the season, breaking the single-season team record of 661, set in 2002 by Hugh Smith.

The teams combined for a measly 13 first downs in the first half, with the Huskies leading the way offensively with 141 yards to the Bulls’ 95.

Schwartz gave South Florida a 3-0 lead at 4:43 of the first quarter when he kicked a 39-yard field goal. Mike Salerno got Northern Illinois on the board at 1:41 of the second when he kicked a 21-yard field goal.

Schwartz’s second field goal, a 19-yarder under five minutes into the third quarter, put the Huskies up 6-3.

terry.koshan@sunmedia.ca


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