Category Archives: Football

Former Gators QB Kerwin Bell Named Bulls Offensive Coordinator & Quarterbacks Coach

(Information provided by the USF Athletic Department)

(Tampa, FL) Fresh from leading Valdosta State to the 2018 NCAA Division II championship with the nation’s No. 1 ranked scoring offense in the division (52.0 ppg), Florida native Kerwin Bell has been named the Bulls’ offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, USF Head Coach Charlie Strong announced Thursday.

Bell, a former standout quarterback and SEC Player of the Year at the University of Florida (1984-87), comes to USF after 12 seasons as a successful head coach leading programs at Valdosta State (2016-18) and Jacksonville University (2007-15) and a 14-year playing career in professional football, which included stops with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1989) and Miami Dolphins (1988).

“I have known Kerwin for more than 30 years and have a great deal of respect for what he has done in his career both as a player and coach and the success of the football programs he has led,” Strong said. “He has directed some very explosive, high-scoring offenses and consistently puts his players in position to reach their highest potential. We are very excited to have Kerwin joining our staff.”

Strong and Bell were first part of the same program during the 1983-84 seasons at Florida, where Strong was serving in his first coaching position as a graduate assistant and Bell was a walk-on quarterback. Bell, a native of Mayo, Fla., earned the Gators’ starting quarterback job as a redshirt freshman in 1984 and went on to earn SEC Player of the Year honors after leading the Gators to a 9-1-1 record, SEC championship and top five national ranking.

Bell most recently served three seasons as the head coach at Valdosta State (2016-18) where he guided the offense and led the Blazers to a 27-7 record, a school-record 15 straight victories, two Division II playoff appearances and conference and national championships in 2018. He was named the 2018 Gulf South Conference Co-Coach of the Year after leading VSU to a 14-0 record (the first unbeaten season in program history) and a 49-47 victory over Ferris State in the Division II National Championship game, the program’s first title since 2012.

Bell’s 2018 offense led the nation in scoring (52.0 ppg), ranked second in first downs (341) and was fourth in total offense (523.9 ypg), red-zone offense (.901) and pass efficiency (167.37).
Bell led VSU to runner-up conference finishes in his first two years guiding the program and went 8-3 with a playoff appearance in his first season at the helm in 2016 as the Blazers led the nation with 27 interceptions.

Prior to VSU, Bell led Jacksonville University for nine seasons, guiding the Football Championship Series program to a 66-35 record and three Pioneer Football League championships. Also serving as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Bell was named the 2008 PFL Coach of the Year and an Eddie Robinson Award finalist after leading the Dolphins to a 9-4 record and conference title.

Prior to taking over the Jacksonville program, Bell led Trinity Catholic High School in Ocala, Fla, for six seasons (2001-06), earning a Florida 2B state title in 2005 and runner-up finish in 2006.

Bell was selected in the seventh round of the 1988 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins, beginning a 14-year professional career that saw stops with the NFL teams in Miami, Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Indianapolis as well as stops in the Canadian Football League (where he passed for 19,538 yards and 101 touchdowns in nine seasons) and the World League of American Football.

Bell earned a degree in psychology from the University of Florida in 1987. After beginning his career at UF as a walk-on, he was inducted into the University of Florida Athletics Hall of Fame in 1997 following a four-year career (1984-87) that saw him pass for 7,585 yards and 56 touchdowns. He was ranked the No. 26 greatest Gator of all-time from the first 100 years of UF football in 2006 by The Gainesville Sun.





94th East-West Shrine Game in St. Pete To Be Broadcast Nationally on Radio

(St. Petersburg, FL) The East-West Shrine Game, the nation’s longest running college all-star football game, will air Saturday, January 19 on an international radio network including over one hundred fifty stations led by SB Nation Radio, on SiriusXM radios and the SiriusXM app (SiriusXM NFL Radio, channel 88) as well as online at shrinegame.com. The broadcast will be available on phones, tablets and other connected devices via the free Tunein internet radio app for mobile devices. WHBO 1040 will be the local Tampa Bay flagship station for the national broadcast.

“We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with the East West Shrine game,” said David Gow, Chairman and CEO of Gow Media. “It’s an honor to broadcast such a wonderful game each year and help shine a spotlight on the outstanding work by Shriners Hospitals for Children.”

For the eighth year, Patrick Kinas will lead the live broadcast from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. Kinas is a veteran play-by-play broadcaster heard nationally on Westwood One’s college football and basketball coverage while also hosting the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea for Westwood One earlier this year. Patrick is also in his 7th year as voice of the Durham Bulls (Triple-A, Tampa Bay Rays) and made several substitute appearances on the Rays Radio Network in 2018 as well.

Eight-year National Football League veteran (Falcons & Seahawks) Derek Rackley returns to the booth as analyst for the game broadcast. Since retiring from the League, Rackley has been active in booths for Big Ten and CBS Sports Networks and most recently broadcast NCAA and NFL games on Westwood One’s national radio network. Former NFL and MLB All Star Brian Jordan return for the 7th year to add his perspective to this iconic event and action on the field.

Michigan broadcaster Rick Berkey will again patrol the sidelines, interviewing players, NFL coaches and all-star guests in attendance in support of the game’s beneficiary, Shriners Hospitals for Children®.

The game radio broadcast airs at 2:15 p.m. EST with kickoff scheduled for 3:07 p.m. EST.

The four and a half hour broadcast will be filled with exciting game action, interesting player stories, and interviews conducted live from the sidelines. The broadcast will highlight the important work of Shriners Hospitals for Children, featuring the 2019 patient ambassadors and their parents.

St. Petersburg based Play-by-Play Sports Properties LLC produces the broadcasts. Joe Bourdow serves as Executive Producer. Additional information about the radio network broadcast is available at shrinegame.com.

The East-West Shrine Game® is the longest running college all-star football game in the nation. An invitation to take part in the game is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the best collegiate football players in the country to showcase their talents as top NFL prospects. Since 1925, the game has benefited Shriners Hospitals for Children®.

Shriners Hospitals for Children improves the lives of children by providing pediatric specialty care, conducting innovative research, and offering outstanding educational programs for medical professionals. Children with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate are eligible for care, regardless of the families’ ability to pay, and receive all care and services in a compassionate, family-centered environment.





Iowa Defeats Mississippi State 27-22 in the Outback Bowl

(Tampa, FL) Safety Jake Gervase made an interception in the end zone to help preserve a late lead, and ball-hawking Iowa Hawkeyes beat No. 18 Mississippi State in the Outback Bowl 27-22 Tuesday.

Gervase also batted down an errant fourth-down pass to end the Bulldogs’ final drive at the Iowa 32 with 25 seconds left. Two earlier Mississippi State threats in the fourth quarter led to only three points.

The Hawkeyes totaled just 199 yards, with 75 coming on a touchdown pass from Nathan Stanley to Nick Easley, but they converted three takeaways into 17 points.

Stanley threw for 214 yards and three scores. The Hawkeyes won despite netting minus 15 yards rushing, and their three running backs totaled 4 yards in 15 carries.

Iowa (9-4) earned its biggest postseason victory since an Orange Bowl win over Georgia Tech to cap the 2009 season. Mississippi State (8-5) lost to a team outside the top 15 for the first time.

Trailing 24-19, the Bulldogs had a first down at the Iowa 1 early in the fourth quarter, but three quarterback draws lost 2 yards and they settled for a field goal.

They were again on the verge of taking the lead with nine minutes left, but receiver Stephen Guidry bobbled a pass in the end zone, and Gervase snatched it away. The Hawkeyes then drove 50 yards for a field goal to go up 27-22.

The Hawkeyes scored two touchdowns in 97 seconds for a 17-6 lead. The Bulldogs rallied with two touchdowns in 18 seconds to go up 19-17, with quarterback Nick Fitzgerald giving them the advantage on a nifty 33-yard touchdown run — his 100th career score rushing or passing.

But on their next possession, Fitzgerald’s tipped pass was intercepted by defensive lineman Chauncey Golston. Stanley then scrambled to convert a fourth and 1, and on the next play he hit Easley to put Iowa ahead to stay, 24-19.

The Hawkeyes won because they kept the game close early despite a slow start. They trailed only 6-0 after one quarter even though they had minus 8 yards and a 12-yard punt.

Mississippi State tried some trickery in the first quarter by throwing down the middle to quarterback Keytaon Thompson, but he dropped a potential touchdown pass and the Bulldogs settled for a field goal.

The Bulldogs had 90 yards in penalties while Iowa had none. Targeting and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on Mississippi State jump-started the Hawkeyes’ offense and led to a field goal for their first score. A 51-yard completion for the Bulldogs was negated by a holding penalty.

The Bulldogs, who allowed only 12 touchdowns in the regular season, gave up two in quick succession in the second quarter.

First Easley slipped several yards behind the secondary to catch Stanley’s long throw in stride. The touchdown pass was the 50th of Stanley’s career — and his longest. It was the longest play allowed by the Bulldogs this season.

Two snaps later, A.J. Epenesa’s strip sack of Fitzgerald gave the Hawkeyes the ball at the 13, and they scored on Ihmir Smith-Marsette’s touchdown catch for a 17-6 lead. The fumble lost was Fitzgerald’s first in 511 carries.

Iowa will likely finish in the Top 25 for only the second time in the past nine seasons. Coach Kirk Ferentz concluded his 20th season at Iowa and improved to 152-101, including 8-8 in bowl games.

The down-to-the-wire finish was a rarity for the Bulldogs, who had only one other game decided by fewer than 14 points.

Stanley will be a third-year starter returning to lead the 2019 Hawkeyes, who also will have their top three rushers back. They open the season Aug. 31 at home against Miami (Ohio).

With fifth-year senior Fitzgerald departing, the Bulldogs will have a new starting quarterback — possibly Thompson — when they open the 2019 season Aug. 31 in New Orleans against Louisiana.





Marshall Hands USF 6th Straight Loss with 38-20 Win at The Gasparilla Bowl In Tampa

(Tampa, FL) Most Valuable Player Keion Davis rushed for a game-high 94 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead the Marshall Thundering Herd (9-4, 6-2 C-USA) to a 38-20 victory over the USF Bulls (7-6, 3-4 AAC) in the 11th annual Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl at Raymond James Stadium before an announced crowd of 14,135. USF completes a disappointing season with 6 straight losses after going 7-0.

Davis did almost all of his damage in the second half, picking up 82 of his 94 yards on just nine carries. His 16-yard touchdown run with 6:24 left in the fourth quarter gave the Herd its final 18-point margin and secured Marshall’s record third win in three Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl appearances. Marshall also won in 2011 (20-10 over FIU) and in 2015 (16-10 over UConn).

Marshall never trailed, jumping out to a 14-0 lead less than 11 minutes into the game on the strength of short scoring runs by quarterback Isaiah Green and running back Anthony Anderson. Green’s score capped a seven-play, 81-yard drive and Anderson’s plunge followed a fumble recovery and return of 29 yards to the USF 1-yard line by Marshall’s Darius Hodge.

USF cut the lead in half at the 2:43 mark of the second quarter thanks to a 38-yard scoring pass from slotback/wildcat Tyre McCants who found Randall St. Felix open in the end zone.
The Bulls were unable to get any closer in the game as Marshall extended its lead to 28-7 late in the second quarter and carried a 28-10 lead into halftime.

St. Felix highlighted the USF offensive effort collecting a Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl-record 165 receiving yards on just six catches. St. Felix added his second touchdown reception of the night on a 33-yard connection with quarterback Blake Barnett late in the third quarter which narrowed Marshall’s lead to 31-20.

Marshall’s balanced offensive attack finished with 503 total yards — 282 rushing and 221 passing. The Herd’s defense limited USF to 360 total yards and just 92 on the ground. Marshall did not allow an opposing rusher to reach 100 yards in any game during the 2018 season and the streak now has reached 14 games.





USF Bulls Football Program Signs 19 on First Day of Early Signing Period

(Tampa, FL) The University of South Florida football program welcomed 19 new student-athletes during the first day of the NCAA Early Signing Period, which began Wednesday and ends Friday.

Head Coach Charlie Strong and the Bulls were preparing for USF’s fourth straight bowl appearance as the early signing period began. USF takes on Marshall Thursday in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl, set for an 8 p.m. kickoff at Raymond James Stadium before a national TV audience on ESPN.

On Wednesday, the first of three days in the early signing period, USF received National Letters of Intent from 19 student-athletes that will don the green and gold. Fifteen of the new Bulls hail from the state of Florida, while three are from Georgia and one is from Virginia.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Bulls added 10 players, including a pair of junior college players. Four of the signees play in the secondary, including junior college cornerback McArthur Burnett (Pahokee/Coffeyville CC), who began his career at Florida playing is six games as a redshirt freshman in 2017. He is joined by cornerbacks Jayden Curry (Virginia Beach, Va./IMG Academy) and Daquan Evans (Orlando/Jones HS) and safety Leonard Parker (Tampa/Plant HS).

The Bulls added three players along the defensive line, including junior college defensive end Tyrik Jones (Plantation/Arizona Western CC). He is joined by defensive ends Thomas Nance (Eagle Lake/Lake Region HS) and Jason Vaughn (Auburndale/Advance Prep).

The Bulls also added three linebackers in Demaurez Bellamy (Deland/Deland HS), Tae’Aviion Gray (Quitman, Ga./Brook County HS) and Darius Williams (Miami/Norland HS), who tallied 58 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and six sacks in his senior season.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Bulls added nine players, including quarterback Jahquez Evans (Atlanta/Mays HS), a Georgia 6A All-State first team selection who threw for 928 yards and 10 touchdowns and ran for 365 yards and four touchdowns in six games in his senior year.

The Bulls added four offensive linemen in Joshua Blanchard (Miami/Norland HS), Raymond Collins (Largo/Largo HS), Dustyn Hall (Punta Gorda/Charlotte HS) and Matthew McDuffie (Glen Saint Mary/Baker County HS).

USF also added a running back in Josh Berry (Davenport/Ridge Community HS) and three wide receivers, including 6-4 Logan Berryhill (Kingsland, Ga./Camden County HS), 6-1 Xavier Weaver (Orlando/Orland Christian Prep), who posted 110 catches, 2,124 yards and 32 touchdowns on his career, and Groveland, Fla. speedster Kelley Joiner Jr. (South Lake HS), who tallied 4,525 career yards and 55 touchdowns rushing.





USF-Florida Football Series Start Moved Up to 2021 in Tampa

(Tampa, FL) USF’s football series with the Florida Gators will begin one-year earlier than previously scheduled and now open in Tampa, USF Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly announced on Thursday. Kelly also announced the addition of a seventh home opponent to the Bulls’ 2019 slate.

“The University of Florida has been great working with us on this series and we appreciate being able to make adjustments that work best for both programs,” Kelly said. “We are excited to get the Gators in Tampa two years earlier than originally scheduled and to add to our 2021 non-conference schedule that also includes games at N.C. State and BYU.”

The Bulls’ three-game series vs. Florida, previously slated to begin in 2022 in Gainesville, will now get underway on Sept. 11, 2021 with a clash in Raymond James Stadium. The Gators first visit to face USF in Tampa had previously been scheduled for the 2023 season.

The Bulls will complete the series with the Gators with two previously announced games in Gainesville on Sept. 17, 2022 and Sept. 6, 2025.

Kelly also announced the addition of a game vs. South Carolina State to the Bulls’ 2019 home schedule, bringing the home slate to seven games. The Sept. 14 game vs. the Bulldogs in Raymond James Stadium completes USF’s 2019 non-conference schedule, which also includes home games in the season-opener on Aug. 31 vs. Wisconsin and on Oct. 12 vs. BYU as well as a Sept. 7 road date at Georgia Tech.

The Bulls also have future non-conference series vs. Power 6 opponents scheduled against Texas (2020, 2022, 2024), N.C. State (2021 & 2024) and Louisville (2022, 2024 & 2026), with all making visits to Raymond James Stadium.





Outback Bowl Matchup: Iowa vs. Mississippi State January 1 in Tampa

(Tampa, FL) The Iowa Hawkeyes and No. 18 Mississippi State Bulldogs will square-off for the first time in the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day in Tampa, bowl officials announced Sunday. Both teams are 8-4. It will be the first time these teams have played in 119+ seasons of their football history. It will also be the first appearance by Mississippi State in the Outback Bowl.

“We are thrilled to extend an invitation to Iowa and Mississippi State to play in this year’s Outback Bowl,” said Outback Bowl Chairman Todd Timmerman. “These are two quality teams that should produce a terrific match-up that fans are really going to enjoy watching on New Year’s Day. We look forward to hosting the Hawkeye and Bulldog teams and their fans, and ensure them they will have an amazing experience in the Tampa Bay area.”

“I am thrilled for our team and our tremendous group of seniors who have earned the opportunity to go out with a New Year’s Day bowl in the state of Florida,” MSU head coach Joe Moorhead said. “The Outback Bowl is the perfect destination for our team. I have always had tremendous respect for Coach Ferentz and his Iowa teams.”

“We are excited to accept a bid to our first Outback Bowl to cap off Joe Moorhead’s successful first season as our head football coach,” MSU Director of Athletics John Cohen said. “I want to congratulate our team and our coaching staff for earning our program’s ninth straight bowl appearance. This team featured college football’s best defense and demonstrated overall improvement throughout the year, as shown by winning four of its last five games, including a dominant win in a rivalry game to finish the regular season. Tampa is a great city, with an endless number of entertainment opportunities for our fans, and we always look forward to playing in an NFL stadium. I encourage our Bulldog family to pack Raymond James Stadium and send our senior class out the right way.”

“Our football team, coaches, and staff are excited to be invited to the 2019 Outback Bowl,” said Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz. “We know we will enjoy outstanding hospitality, and we know we will face a quality opponent from the SEC. This is a great reward for how hard our players have worked and the success they have enjoyed this season.”

The Outback Bowl will be played on January 1st at 12:00 PM ET at Raymond James Stadium.

For information on Outback Bowl events leading up to the game go to the bowl web site at www.outbackbowl.com.





USF Bulls to Play Marshall in Gasparilla Bowl in Tampa December 20th

(Tampa, FL) The Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl will feature USF (7-5, 3-5) from the American Athletic Conference and Marshall (8-4, 6-2) from Conference USA, as both teams have accepted invitations to play in this year’s game.

The 11th edition of the bowl game will be played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Thursday, Dec. 20, at 8 p.m. ET and air on ESPN.

USF, which started the season 7-0 and earned a top 20 ranking, will be appearing in its hometown bowl for the second time. The Bulls played in the inaugural bowl game in 2008 as the Big East Conference representative and defeated Memphis 41-14. USF head coach Charlie Strong is also making his second trip to the bowl game. Strong was a rookie head coach at Louisville in 2010 and capped off his first year leading the Cardinals to a 31-28 win over Southern Mississippi.

“We are excited for the opportunity to compete in a bowl game against a good opponent and the chance to send our seniors out with a third straight bowl win,” Strong said. “We look forward to some good practices and work with our team to prepare for the game. Our players will enjoy the activities and bowl experience here in the Bay Area and they are excited to get back out on the field and perform in front of our fans.”

Marshall will be making its third appearance at the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. The Thundering Herd defeated UConn 16-10 in 2015 and FIU 20-10 in 2011. Marshall finished the season winning three of its last four games.

“Any opportunity to play in a bowl game is great,” said Marshall head coach Doc Holliday. “The state of Florida has been good to our program for several years now and we’re excited to get back down to the Tampa area. We will face a very good South Florida team and a head coach that I know well in Charlie Strong.”

“We’re expecting lots of green clad fans at Raymond James Stadium,” said Brett Dulaney, Executive Director of the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. “We hope USF fans will be excited with the opportunity to stay at home to see their team in a bowl and Marshall has been well represented by their fan base both times they’ve been here.”

The Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl is owned-and-operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN.

While the game is the headliner event, the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl activities start a few days prior. This year the teams, their alumni and students will start arriving in Tampa on Sunday, Dec., 16, for the numerous bowl-related festivities leading up to kick-off. These events, which are free and open to the public, include the Beach Invasion (Dec. 16 – Treasure Island Park), Battle of the Bands (Dec. 18 – Treasure Island Park), Pep Rally (Dec. 19 – Armature Works) and the Fan Invasion (Dec. 20 – Raymond James Stadium).

For more information on the 2018 Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl game and the numerous events, visit www.gasparillabowl.com. Additionally, follow the bowl on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@GasparillaBowl).





UCF Routs USF 38-10 in War on I-4, Loses QB McKenzie Milton to Devasting Leg Injury

(Tampa, FL) The USF Bulls regular season came to a merciful close Saturday afternoon with a 38-10 loss to cross-state rival UCF at Raymond James Stadium. After winning their first seven games, the Bulls dropped five in a row to end the 2018 campaign on a sour note.

While UCF kept its 24-game winning streak alive, it came a tremendous cost when quarterback McKenzie Milton left the game early in the second quarter with a gruesome leg injury that required emergency surgery at nearby Tampa General Hospital. Reports are as of Sunday November 25, that the surgery was successful, but no further details have been released on his status.

The lone bright spot for USF was Freshman Johnny Ford rushing for 120 yards and 34-yard touchdown reception late in the third quarter. Ford averaged 7.5 yards on 16 carries in his third 100-yard rushing game of the season. His first career touchdown reception came on a pass by sophomore starter Chris Oladokun with 1:15 left in the third quarter before UCF responded with 21 straight points.

USF (7-5, 3-5 in AAC) saw its War on I-4 series lead trimmed to 6-4 as UCF (11-0, 8-0 in AAC) claimed its second straight win in the series.
Starting for the second time in place of injured Blake Barnett, Oladokun completed seven of 12 passes for 77 yards and opened the game’s first drive with a 22-yard run. Junior Brett Kean also saw action, completing eight of 17 attempts for 36 yards.

Defensively, USF stayed within striking distance most of the way by forcing six punts, including four in the second half. Linebacker Khalid McGee made a game-high 13 tackles, becoming the 15th player in program history to record 100 stops in a season, after he and 17 other seniors were honored in their final regular season game at Raymond James Stadium.

The 10th War on I-4 clash started with teams trading punts and takeaways on defense, including a 30-yard interception return by Nick Roberts down to the UCF 12. After the Bulls couldn’t convert on fourth-and-1 from the UCF 3, the Knights drove 97 yards and took a 7-0 lead with 25 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

UCF extended its advantage to 10-0 four minutes into the second quarter, one play after star quarterback McKenzie Milton was carted off the field with a devastating leg injury that caused both teams to surround him with support.
Trailing 17-0, USF chipped away at its deficit with a 25-yard field goal by Coby Weiss with 3:09 remaining in the half. Ford rushed three times for 67 yards on the 70-yard scoring drive and his 38-yard run set the Bulls up at the UCF 13. Ford finished the first half with 76 yards on seven attempts (10.9 ypc).

Friday’s second half opened with five straight punts before Oladokun found Ford over the middle for a 34-yard touchdown with 1:15 left in the third quarter.

UCF responded with a touchdown on the next drive and capped off the scoring with 14 more points in the fourth quarter.

Announced attendance was 57,626 for the 10th playing of the War on I-4 marked the second-largest crowd in the game’s history.

Prior to kickoff, USF honored 18 seniors: WR Ryeshene Bronson, WR LaDarion McBride, OL Eric Mayes, WR Tyre McCants, TE Riley Sheehan, RB Davion Sutton, K Jake Vivonetto, DB Chris Barr, DT Kevin Bronson, DE Josh Black, DE Juwuan Brown, LB Jeffery Farrar, DE Derek Hintze, DB Ronnie Hoggins, DE Vincent Jackson, LB Khalid McGee, S Jaymon Thomas and DB Mazzi Wilkins.

Despite the loss, USF’s 7 wins qualifies them for a bowl bid which will be awarded December 1.





Temple Scores 27 Unanswered Points to Defeat USF Bulls 27-17 Saturday

(Philadelphia, PA) In a microcosm of their season, the USF Bulls (7-4, 3-4 in AAC) played well enough to build a 17-0 lead in the first half, then fell apart in the second, giving up 27 unanswered points in a 27-17 loss to Temple Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia. The game mirrors the Bull’s entire 2018 season, starting off with 7 straight wins and now four consecutive losses as the bottom has fallen out of Charlie Strong’s second season in Tampa.

USF has lost four straight games for the first time since dropping six straight at the end of the 2013 season.

Temple (7-4, 6-1 in AAC) scored touchdowns on special teams and defense, taking the lead on a 73-yard punt return by Isaiah Wright with 10:05 to play. Star back Ryquell Armstead was held to 64 rushing yards on 26 attempts, well under his 122.2 ypg average, a week after running for 210 yards and six touchdowns against Houston.

Junior Jordan Cronkrite led USF’s ground attack with 17 attempts for 83 yards and two touchdowns, becoming the fifth player in program history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. Both of Cronkrite’s rushing touchdowns came during the Bulls’ 17-0 run in the opening half.

Starting quarterback Blake Barnett completed 14 of 23 passes for 82 yards and threw two interceptions after missing last week’s game with a shoulder injury.

Looking to get back on the winning track, USF jumped out to a 17-0 lead going into halftime after getting two touchdown runs from Cronkrite and a dominant effort by the defense.

After USF forced a three-and-out on Temple’s opening drive, Cronkrite passed the 1,000-yard mark with a 49-yard run on the Bulls’ opening possession. Cronkrite rushed for 56 of USF’s 60 yards on the tone-setting scoring drive that was capped off by his 3-yard touchdown run.

USF’s offense was back in Temple territory after Chris Barr recovered a fumble at the Owls’ 37-yard line on a muffed punt late in the first quarter. Eight plays later, the Bulls took a 10-0 lead with 35-yard field goal by Coby Weiss 10 seconds into the second quarter.

USF pumped its lead up to 17-0 after Cronkrite’s 1-yard touchdown run with 2:27 to go before halftime, which capped off a 12-play, 83-yard drive.

Senior Ronnie Hoggins grabbed USF’s second takeaway of the game with an interception midway through the third quarter, but Temple stormed back in the second half with 27 straight points. Wright’s 73-yard punt return gave the Owls their first lead with 10:05 remaining in the game and they never gave it up.

Kevin Kegler came up with a huge tackle for loss at the USF 45 to stuff a Temple fourth-and-1 rushing attempt with 8:13 to play, but the Bulls’ offense couldn’t capitalize. Still trailing 20-17, USF got the ball back at its own 10-yard line with 1:44 remaining but a strip sack fumble was recovered in the end zone by Temple.

“You had the ball and three opportunities in the third quarter on the plus side and we got nothing out of it”, said a beleaguered Charlie Strong. “We’ve got to be able to score points there. We had two turnovers and then we gave the ball up on downs. You can’t let that happen, especially when you’re on the road.”

USF returns to Raymond James Stadium to host rival UCF, who has already clinched the AAC eastern division with its win over Cincinnati Saturday night, on Friday, Nov. 23 at 4:15PM. The game will be televised on ESPN.