TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Tanner Mordecai threw his two touchdown passes in a 21-point third quarter and SMU became bowl eligible with a 41-23 win over South Florida on Saturday, the Bulls' eighth-straight loss.
USF, which fired coach Jeff Scott and defensive coordinator Bob Shoop last Sunday, played a spirited first half under interim coach Daniel Da Prato, scoring 10 late points to tie the game at 17 at halftime. But it was the Mustangs, under first-year head coach Rhett Lashlee, who took control to earn a probable bowl trip for the fourth-straight year.
The Mustangs went 97 yards in six plays with their first possession of the third quarter, taking the lead on a 21-yard pass to Rashee Rice. Their next drive was one play,
SUM (6-4, 4-2 American Athletic Conference) capped the game-changing quarter with Tyler Lavine's 8-yard touchdown running after the Bulls turned the ball over on downs.
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Mordecai finished 19 of 27 for 280 yards. Lavine and Camar Wheaton, who scored two touchdowns in the first half, both ran for 112 yards. Kerley had seven catches for 156 and Rice six for 99.
Brian Battie ran for 145 yards for the Bulls (1-9, 0-6). Katravis Marsh threw a touchdown pass to Xavier Weaver, but Marsh was taken from the field on the stretcher after lowering his head on a run with less than six minutes to go in the game.
Jason Albritton ran for a score and Byrum Brown threw his first college touchdown pass, hitting Jayson Littlejohn inside the last two minutes for the Bulls.