South Florida shut down in 21-6 loss to Mich St
Bobby Eveld has his coach's endorsement as South Florida's quarterback -- even if his performance at Michigan State was a forgettable one.
"Bobby can't throw the ball when he's on his back, and he can't complete passes when you drop the ball," coach Willie Taggart said. "Right now he's our guy. Things change but right now he's our guy."
Shilique Calhoun scored on a fumble return and an interception return, enabling Michigan State to overcome its own poor offensive performance in a 21-6 victory over South Florida on Saturday. Eveld was 6 of 25 for 66 yards with a fumble and an interception.
South Florida (0-2) was routed in its opener by McNeese State, and the Bulls couldn't get anything going offensively Saturday.
"It's very frustrating," Eveld said. "Obviously you talk about not turning the ball over, period, and then having the other defense score just kind of ruins it for you."
The Spartans (2-0) rotated Connor Cook, Tyler O'Connor and Andrew Maxwell at quarterback, but their offense contributed only one touchdown. The defense has scored four of Michigan State's six TDs this season.
Michigan State's offense finally scored in the fourth quarter when Jeremy Langford ran 2 yards for a touchdown. That drive was only 33 yards after a short South Florida punt.
Michigan State's defense scored two of the team's three touchdowns in a season-opening win over Western Michigan last week. That included a fumble return by Calhoun, a 6-foot-4, 250-pound defensive end.
Calhoun opened the scoring Saturday with a 4-yard fumble return in the second quarter, and with Michigan State clinging to a 7-6 lead in the third, Eveld was hit as he threw. The ball floated to Calhoun, who returned it 56 yards for another touchdown.
"You find it hard to win ballgames when your quarterback can't drop back and throw the football to our guys," Taggart said. "When you throw the ball 25 times and only complete six passes, you're not doing much. A lot of that had to do with our protection."
Michigan State had three sacks.
Neither Maxwell nor Cook was very effective in Michigan State's opener, and Maxwell didn't play at all in the first half Saturday. After a 67-minute weather delay before the opening kickoff, Cook got the start for the Spartans. He went 6 of 11 for 32 yards in the game and also lost a fumble.
O'Connor, a redshirt freshman, came in near the end of the first quarter, and on his second drive, the Spartans made it all the way to the South Florida 3-yard line. But they couldn't reach the end zone and came away with no points when Kevin Muma missed a 25-yard field goal.
On the next play, Michigan State finally scored when Eveld was hit by Tyler Hoover and lost the ball. Calhoun scooped it up and took it in.
"Through camp, we discussed being able to score on defense," a smiling Calhoun said. "Even if our offense is good -- even if they're doing great -- we still wanted to make that another aspect to our game, to be able to score on defense."
South Florida's Marvin Kloss kicked two field goals before halftime -- the second came after a fumble by Michigan State punt returner Andre Sims.
Eveld was replaced after his interception by Steven Bench, but he returned by the end of the third quarter. Matt Floyd, who threw two interceptions against McNeese State, did not play against Michigan State.
Marcus Shaw ran for 94 yards on 23 carries for the Bulls, who at least kept this game close after their 53-21 loss to McNeese State.
"I thought our guys gave great, great effort compared to last week. I thought they gave great effort on the football field and that's why we were in that ballgame," Taggart said. "We've got to learn to make the winning plays. We've got to learn to keep momentum on our side when making those plays."