EAST HARTFORD - Another game, another humbling loss for the UConn football team.
This time it was South Florida pounding the Huskies, coming away with a 48-22 victory Saturday afternoon at Pratt & Whitney Stadium.
The win snapped the Bulls’ 9-game losing streak to FBS foes and extended UConn’s drought in such games to an amazing 20 games.
UConn is now 1-4 overall this season, 0-2 in American Conference play. USF is 2-3, 1-1.
UConn running back Kevin Mensah ran for 70 yards and two touchdowns in the loss, eclipsing the 2,000-yard mark on the ground in his career while scoring the second one.
USF coach Charlie Strong, under some heat after his team’s slow start, got a major boost. Some fans in the stands took exception to the Bulls running a fake field goal already leading by three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, and throwing for a late touchdown. UConn coach Randy Edsall, however, said he told Strong after the game it was a non-issue.
“I said “Charlie, I’ve got no problem with that,’ ” Edsall said.
In a game whose start time was moved up seven hours to avoid issues with mosquitos that carry Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), the Bulls were running all day. They amassed 313 rushing yards and 503 total yards.
In what was likely the final meeting between the teams for some time -- UConn is leaving the American Athletic Conference at season’s end and UConn coach Randy Edsall scoffed at the notion when asked about scheduling the Bulls in the future on Tuesday -- USF won its eighth straight game over the Huskies.
The Bulls played without starting quarterback Blake Barnett (injury) and leading receiver Johnny Ford (suspension) but largely rolled nonetheless.
USF quarterback Jordan McCloud threw for three touchdowns and ran for another in Barnett’s place. Running back Jordan Cronkrite gained 148 yards on 20 carries for USF.
UConn quarterback Mike Beaudry, in his first action since the team’s season-opener Aug. 29, was 18-for-29 for 209 yards and a touchdown.
Trailing by two touchdowns, UConn’s first possession of the second half ended when the Huskies punted from the opponents’ 37-yard line. It was the team’s third punt from inside the USF 43 during the game.
The visitors then began to pull away, driving 80 yards in five minutes for a touchdown. McCloud hit a wide-open Bryce Miller from 12 yards out to make it 34-14 Bulls.
It was a rather quiet first quarter but the teams played a frantic second, scoring touchdowns on five consecutive possessions between them. UConn trailed 27-14 at the half, though it could have been worse after Beaudry’s fumble in the final minute in his own territory. He was bailed out on the next snap when UConn safety Abiola Olaniyan intercepted McCloud to keep the margin at the break a mere 13.