RENO, Nev. (AP) - B.J. Daniels passed for 363 yards and three touchdowns, including a 56-yard scoring toss to Andre Davis with 38 seconds left in the game Saturday, to help South Florida come from behind to beat Nevada 32-31.
Daniels also threw a 51-yard TD to Davis, who finished with 12 catches for 191 yards, and a 52-yard score to Chris Dunkley with 2:37 remaining. Lindsey Lamar added 85 yards rushing on just 8 carries for the Bulls (2-0), who trailed 21-6 in the opening quarter.
Cody Fajardo passed for 271 yards and a touchdown and ran for 134 yards and two more scores, and Stefphon Jeffersonran for 135 yards for the Wolf Pack (1-1), who won their opener last week at Cal and had lost only once in their last 18 home games.
Nevada, which moved this season from the Western Athletic Conference to the Mountain West, dominated early and led 21-13 at the half but Lamar ran 35 yards for a touchdown on South Florida's opening drive of the second half to cut the lead to 21-20.
Fajardo answered with passes of 23 yards to Brandon Wimberly and 19 yards to Kendall Brockbefore faking a hand off and rolling around the right side 14 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the third quarter to make it 28-20.
Allen Hardison's35-yard field goal put Nevada ahead 31-20 with 8:16 left in the game before the Bulls of the Big East Conference mounted their comeback.
Daniels, who also ran for 53 yards on 11 carries, completed 22 of 40 passes on the game but was 10 of 17 for 227 yards in the fourth quarter alone. Demitri Murray added 60 yards rushing for the Bulls.
Fajardo, a sophomore, completed 27 of 38 passes on the game. He was practically flawless early, leading Nevada to touchdowns on its first three possessions, rushing for 88 yards in the first quarter and completing 9 of his first 10 pass attempts, including a 29-yard scoring toss to Joe Huber that put the Wolf Pack on top 21-6.
After a roughing the quarterback penalty against defensive end Brock Hekking, Demetri Murray got loose for an 18-yard run to set up his own 1-yard touchdown dive and Maikon Bonani converted the extra point this time to cut it to 21-13 9:20 before the half.
Nevada was driving again before Sam Barrington forced Jefferson to fumble and JaQuez Jenkins recovered on the USF 14. After Markus Smithwas called for interfering with Sterling Griffin near midfield, Daniels completed a 57-yard pass to Terrence Mitchell at Nevada's 13, but the officials ruled Mitchell had stepped out of bounds before that and the Bulls had to punt again.
Griffin, who was USF's leading returning receiver from a year ago, later apparently injured his right knee and left the game at the half without a reception.
The Bulls also lost defensive lineman Elkino Watson late in the second quarter and defensive back Kayvon Webster in the third quarter to apparent knee injuries.
Fajardo would have had three rushing touchdowns but fumbled in the end zone at the end of a 26-yard run on Nevada's opening drive and tight end Zach Sudfeld recovered for his first career TD and a 7-0 lead less than 5 minutes into the game.
With the loss to USF on Saturday, Nevada fell to 511-442-33 and Hall of Fame Coach Chris Ault saw his record to 227-104-1.
FAJARDO SHINES IN LOSS: Sophomore quarterback Cody Fajardo again was brilliant on Saturday, completing 27-of-38 for 271 yards and a touchdown. He also ran 18 times for 34 yards, including touchdown runs of 1 yard and 14 yards. In all, Fajardo finished with 405 yards of total offense and accounted for three scores. Fajardo hit nine different receivers during the game and did not throw an interception for the second straight game to open 2012.
Fajardo’s 100-yard rushing performance was the third of his career at Nevada and his 134 yards marked the second-highest tally of his career. He nearly added a third rushing score but on a long run in the first quarter, the ball was knocked out of his hands at the 2-yard line. Zach Sudfeld pounced on it for the touchdown, however. The last time Fajardo had a multi-touchdown game rushing was Oct. 29, 2011 at New Mexico State when he scored four rushing TDs
JEFFERSON TOPS 100 AGAIN: For the second game of the year, junior running back Stefphon Jefferson topped the 100-yard mark in rushing. He finished with 135 yards on 30 carries against USF and is now averaging 141 yards per game so far in 2012. This marked the fourth time in Jefferson’s career that he topped the 100-yard mark.
RUSHING STREAK STAYS ALIVE: With Cody Fajardo and Stefphon Jefferson each eclipsing the 100-yard mark in rushing against USF, Nevada saw it’s streak of consecutive games with at least one 100-yard rusher extend to 11 straight games. The streak started on Oct. 8, 2011 when Jefferson went for 100 against UNLV and Nevada has had four different players top the century mark during the course of the streak.
28 STRAIGHT AND COUNTING: Senior receiver Brandon Wimberly caught five passes for 55 yards on Saturday and extended his streak of consecutive games with at least one reception to 28 straight, which was the sixth-longest in the nation entering Saturday.
SUDFELD SCORES: Senior tight end Zach Sudfeld has been through a lot in his six seasons at Nevada and entering Saturday’s game at USF, the one thing he had never done was score a touchdown. That changed against USF, although not how one might expect. Sudfeld jumped on top of a Cody Fajardo fumble after a long run in the end zone to get the first collegiate touchdown of his career. In the game, Sudfeld caught five passes for 67 yards to lead Nevada.
HUBER’S FIRST CATCH: Junior wide receiver Joseph Huber entered Saturday’s game without a reception during his career at Nevada. That changed in the first half when Huber hauled in a 29-yard pass from Cody Fajardo and raced into the end zone for not only his first catch, but his first touchdown. He finished the game with two catches for 31 yards.
SMITH STARTS: Junior college transfer Markus Smith made the first start of his career at Nevada as the cornerback started in place of the injured Charles Garrett. Smith was third on the team with seven tackles in the game and nabbed Nevada’s only turnover of the game when he recovered a USF muffed punt.
EXTRA POINTS: USF won the toss and deferred to the second half … Nevada received the opening kickoff and defended the north goal to start the game … Nevada opened in a two-tight end set with Kolby Arendse getting the start … Chris Barker started his 42nd straight game, all 42 games of his career … Nevada is now 0-1 all-time against schools from the Big East … The Wolf Pack will travel to Tampa, Fla., in 2015 to complete the two-game series between the schools … Punter Chase Tenpenny booted a career-long 58-yarder in the first half … Nevada has 10 fumbles on the year with four lost … The attendance for the game was 22,804.