South Florida sophomore DE Ryne Giddins wasn't in much of a mood to celebrate the accomplishment, but the former Armwood High standout spearheaded a record-tying performance for the Bulls' defense in Saturday's 16-10 loss at Connecticut.
Giddins had two of the Bulls' seven sacks, which matched a school record that has been reached five times, the last time in a win last season over Florida Atlantic.
Giddins finished with career single-game highs in tackles (11), tackles for loss (three) and sacks (two). Most of it came during a monster first half, when he had nine tackles and both sacks while forcing a fumble and breaking up a pass that he nearly intercepted.
"It was a great team effort," Giddins said. "If my tackle (came) out too far or he didn't do what he was supposed to do, I wouldn't have got the sacks or I wouldn't have got the tackles. I give all the credit to the defense because without them I wouldn't have done anything."
USF defensive coordinator Mark Snyder was pleased with the performance.
"Ryne had a great two weeks of practice, and it showed tonight," Snyder said. "We took something off his plate and we're asking him to do things he can do. … I think we're on to something there."
One of the most frustrating things in the loss for USF coach Skip Holtz was the number of penalties against his team.
The Bulls were flagged nine times for 89 yards, a lopsided statistic when it came to their counterparts. Connecticut was penalized just three times for 25 yards.
The penalty yards were the most for a Holtz-led USF team, while the number of penalties were the second-most, behind only the 10 in last season's win over Miami.
"The penalties absolutely hurt us tonight," Holtz said. "I'm certainly not going to blame this game on officiating, but they hurt us tonight."
Going into the game, Holtz felt the Bulls kickoff return game was close to breaking a big one, and that came to fruition.
It didn't come from USF's regular return man, junior Lindsey Lamar, but rather sophomore Marcus Shaw.
Following Connecticut's first score late in the first quarter, Shaw fielded the ensuing kick and raced 79 yards to the Huskies' 8. It was the longest return of Shaw's career and the longest this season for the Bulls.
USF, though, didn't get much in the kickoff return game other than that. Lamar averaged just 16.3 yards on three returns, and Shaw's other return covered only 18 yards.
In the other special teams return game, Holtz opted for USF junior TE Evan Landi to handle the punt-return duties with sophomore Terrence Mitchell (concussion) sidelined for a second straight game.
Landi finished with 17 yards on four returns.
Each of the three starting running backs from BCS programs the Bulls have faced this season — Notre Dame's Cierre Wood, Pittsburgh's Ray Graham and Connecticut's Lyle McCombs — has topped the 100-yard rushing mark.
McCombs was a workhorse Saturday, carrying 32 times for 130 yards.
"Our goal is to keep those guys under 100, so are we where we need to be? No, not to be a great defense," Snyder said. "You've got to hold people under 100, and we didn't do that."
Junior DT Cory Grissom finished with a career-best eight tackles and also had the first fumble recovery of his career. … Junior LB Sam Barrington had a career-best 1.5 sacks. … USF has scored first in all six games this season. … Junior QB B.J. Daniels' 22-yard touchdown run in the third quarter was the 18th of his career, moving him into a tie for fifth in program history. It was also the fourth consecutive game Daniels scored a rushing touchdown. … Daniels had a string of 129 consecutive pass attempts without an interception, the second-longest streak in program history, end when he was picked off in the second quarter. … True freshman DT Elkino Watson made his first career start.