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Cincinnati 20, South Florida 17

TAMPA, Fla. - Sam Crosa kicked a 37-yarder field goal as time expired to give No. 17 Cincinnati a 20-17 victory over South Florida and at least a share of the American Athletic Conference East division title.

The Bearcats (8-1, 6-0, No. 17 CFP) rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to win for the eighth straight time, getting touchdown runs from Michael Warren and Gerrid Doaks before Desmond Ridder led an 11-play, 60-yard drive to win the game. USF's Spencer Shrader missed a 33-yard field goal that would have given the Bulls (4-6, 2-4) the lead with 2:07 remaining.

Ridder was just 9 of 18 passing for 78 yards, but he had a pair of big third-down completions on the winning march - the last a short flip to Warren, who rambled 30 yards to the USF 40. Warren ran for 11 yards on the play and finished with 134 yards rushing on 24 carries.

Jordan McCloud threw for 267 yards and one touchdown for USF, which led 10-0 at halftime. The Bulls clung to a 17-10 advantage entering the fourth quarter, but couldn't put the Bearcats away.

Cincinnati pulled even on Warren's 2-yard TD run with 14:26 to go, but wasted an opportunity to pull away from the 17-17 when a holding penalty nullified Doaks' 50-yard run to the USF 1.

The Bearcats, who rallied from a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat East Carolina 46-43 two weeks ago, have had a penchant for performing up or down to the level of opponents this season - struggling against weaker conference foes they figured to dominate while playing their best in games considered to be tougher matchups.

This one was ugly from the start, with Cincinnati's offense helping to dig an early hole with three false starts and a delay of game penalty, and the defense giving up a 55-yard pass play that set up South Florida first touchdown. If not for an offensive pass interference call that wiped out Bryce Miller's 22-yard TD catch and Shrader missing field goals of 50, 53 and 43 yards in the second quarter, the Bearcats' 10-point halftime deficit would have been larger.

Associated Press

November 16, 2019