CFB: South Florida beats Nothern Illinois in International Bowl
TORONTO — Mike Ford ran for a career-high 207 yards and scored one touchdown, B.J. Daniels threw two scoring passes to A.J. Love, and South Florida beat Northern Illinois 27-3 in the International Bowl today.
Carlton Mitchell caught six passes for 94 yards for the Bulls, who won back-to-back bowls for the first time. South Florida beat Memphis 41-14 in last year's St. Petersburg Bowl, part of a streak of five straight bowl appearances.
South Florida scored 24 unanswered points in the second half after the teams traded field goals in a dreary first half.
Ford had just one carry in the first half, an 18-yard gain in the second quarter. He broke out in the third, rushing 12 times for 106 yards, then capped his day with a 24-yard scoring run in the final quarter.
It's the third straight year a Big East running back has topped 200 yards in the International Bowl. Ray Rice of Rutgers turned pro after rushing for a game-record 280 yards and four touchdowns in 2007, while Connecticut's Donald Brown ran for 261 yards in last year's game.
Daniels threw for 217 yards.
Making consecutive postseason appearances for the first time, the Huskies lost their third straight bowl and extended the Mid-American Conference's bowl game losing streak to 14 games.
Big East teams have now defeated their Mid-American Conference opponents in all four International Bowls, the only bowl game played outside the United States. Cincinnati beat Western Michigan in the inaugural game in 2007, followed by victories for Rutgers over Ball State in 2008 and Connecticut over Buffalo in 2009.
Northern Illinois running back Chad Spann carried 20 times for 93 yards, giving him 1,038 for the season.
The Bulls took the lead for good on the opening drive of the third quarter. Ford's 36-yard run set up Daniels' 31-yard pass to Mitchell, who shook off a tackle and raced down the sideline to the 6.
It was a record-setting catch for Mitchell, giving him 680 yards on the season and breaking Hugh Smith's school mark of 661 set in 2002. The Bulls couldn't punch it in, but went ahead on Eric Schwartz's 19-yard field goal.
Daniels hooked up with Love for the game's first touchdown on the Bulls' next possession, a 46-yard strike off his back foot, capping an eight-play, 81-yard drive.
Cornerback Jerome Murphy picked off Huskies quarterback Chandler Harnish on the next possession, giving South Florida the ball at its 48. Ford carried five times to get the Bulls to the 7, where, on the first play of the fourth quarter, Daniels connected with Love again, making it 20-3.