USF Bulls Offense Explodes in 45-20 Win Over East Carolina Saturday in Greenville, NC

(Greenville, NC) USF scored 35 straight points in the first half and kept its foot on the gas pedal after the break in a 45-20 rout of East Carolina on Saturday that extended the Bulls’ winning streak against the Pirates to five games.

USF (4-4, 2-2) has won all five road games is the series with ECU (3-5, 0-4) and remained unbeaten in Greenville after posting new season highs with 347 rushing yards and 525 total yards.

Senior Jordan Cronkrite (Miami) registered his third 100-yard rushing game in the past four outings with 129 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. The senior, who ran for over 1,000 yards last season, now has 511 yards in the last four games. Freshman Jah’Quez rushed for a career-high 99 yards in the second quarter on six direct snaps in the wildcat.

Quarterback Jordan McCloud went 9-for-12 for 102 yards in a first half that saw the redshirt freshman throw touchdown passes to Jacob Mathis and Randall St. Felix, the latter of which set season highs with five catches for 79 yards. McCloud also rushed for 49 yards on four carries in his sixth straight start before sitting out the second half with a minor right ankle sprain.

USF seized the momentum with 35 unanswered points that led to a 35-10 lead at the half. The Bulls gained 248 of their 358 total first-half yards on the ground, scored 14 points off two takeaways and totaled seven of their nine total tackles for loss in the game.

Tyler Snead’s 100-yard kickoff return gave ECU the lead right out of the gates before USF answered right back on its opening drive. Cronkrite’s 5-yard touchdown capped off a 10-play, 75-yard sequence that saw the Bulls convert twice on third down. Cronkite set up the score with a 21-yard run on third-and-3, one play after 17-yard scramble by McCloud, who went 3-for-4 for 35 yards on the drive.

McCloud’s 21-yard touchdown pass to junior tight end Jacob Mathis gave the Bulls the lead in the final minute of the opening quarter. Six plays before the go-ahead score, senior safety Studstill recovered a fumble after senior linebacker Patrick Macon ripped the ball out at the Bulls’ 11-yard line.

USF used an 18-yard touchdown reception by St. Felix to take a 21-7 lead midway through the second quarter. The Bulls needed just 35 yards to reach the end zone after Tampa native KJ Sails’ 24-yard return on ECU’s third of four punts in the half.

Three plays after a 48-yard interception return by senior end Reaves, USF pumped up its lead to 28-7 thanks to Evan’s first career touchdown run from 34 yards. Evans used six direct snaps to rack up 99 rushing yards in the second quarter.

ECU’s last-second field goal before the break halted the Bulls’ scoring streak, which reached 35 points after Cronkrite’s 10-yard touchdown run with 19 seconds left in the half. Cronkrite rushed for 91 yards on eight attempts in the first two quarters.

USF’s defense came up with a fourth-down stop from its own goal line midway through the third quarter and capitalized on the stand with a 24-yard field goal by Spencer Shrader. Rygol accounted for 56 of USF’s 88 yards on its 15-play drive that took 7:11 off the clock.

Rygol threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Horne on USF’s next drive, a six-play, 66-yard sequence, that gave the Bulls a 45-10 advantage with 11:57 to play.

The Bulls’ defense didn’t give up a touchdown until only 45 seconds remained in the game. Sophomore defensive backs Bentlee Sanders, Nick Roberts and Studstill all tied for the game high with nine tackles apiece.

“To come on the road and get another conference win, it was really good”, said Bulls Head Coach Charlie Strong. “We ran the ball really well, rushed for over 300 yards and the offense did a great job. We ended up playing three quarterbacks, but it was just good to see them play so hard. Defensively, we were able to get the stops at the right time.”

The Bulls are on a bye next week and return to Raymond James Stadium on Thursday, Nov. 7 to host Temple at 8 p.m. (TV: ESPN).

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Baltimore Orioles Team Up With Local Charities To Fight Hunger In Sarasota

(Sarasota, FL) The Baltimore Orioles are once again teaming up this fall with local charities Mayors’ Feed the Hungry Program and All Faiths Food Bank to fight hunger in Sarasota.

To support the Mayors’ Feed the Hungry Program, the Orioles will collect non-perishable food items at Ed Smith Stadium beginning on Monday, November 4, and will host the charity’s Thanksgiving Sorting Day at the ballpark on Friday, November 22. Non-perishable food items may be dropped off at Ed Smith Stadium, located at 2700 12th Street, on weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The collection station is located inside Café 54 on Euclid Avenue. The stadium will be closed on Monday, November 11, in observance of Veterans Day.

Sponsored by mayors and government leaders in Sarasota and Manatee counties, the Mayors’ Feed the Hungry Program is a nonprofit coalition of charitable organizations, service agencies and religious institutions. Last year, the program collected and donated 72 tons of nonperishable food and 2,300 turkeys. All the food collected is given to the needy at no charge in time for Thanksgiving. Mayors’ Feed the Hungry also uses cash donations to distribute food gift cards. For more information, visit www.mayorsfeedthehungry.org

Tickets are on sale now for All Faiths Food Bank’s popular Bowls of Hope benefit, which will be held at Ed Smith Stadium on Sunday, November 10, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Each year more than 1,500 guests attend the family-friendly event where 40 of the community’s finest restaurants and caterers serve delicious soups, breads, desserts, and more. Guests select beautiful, handcrafted bowls to keep — all donated by local potters, artists, and students — while enjoying a modest meal as a reminder of the empty bowls they help to fill.

Each year during Spring Training, the Orioles host a food collection drive for All Faiths Food Bank at Ed Smith Stadium. All Faiths Food Bank is the only food bank and largest hunger relief organization in Sarasota and DeSoto counties. Its programs and partners focus on serving children, families, seniors, veterans, and those in crisis. In 2018, All Faiths Food Bank distributed 10.5 million pounds of food, which equates to 8.75 million meals to 82,000 people in Sarasota and DeSoto counties. For more information, visit www.allfaithsfoodbank/bowlsofhope.org





Navy Dominates USF 35-3 Saturday in Annapolis

(Annapolis, MD) USF ran into a juggernaut Saturday afternoon as Navy sailed to a 35-3 win in Annapolis. The Midshipmen (5-1, 3-1 in AAC) rushed 59 times for 434 yards in its third straight win. Navy Quarterback Malcolm Perry had a game-high 188 rushing yards and two touchdowns while Navy’s only completed pass was a 23-yard touchdown on a trick play.

Despite turning the ball over twice in the first half, the Midshipmen used 220 rushing yards to build a 21-3 halftime lead in the first meeting between the programs since a 52-45 Bulls home victory in 2016.

Perry’s 67-yard touchdown run started the scoring with 3:56 to go in the first quarter. Jamale Carothers’ 58-yard run and OJ Davis’ 23-yard touchdown catch on an option pass helped extend the Navy advantage to 21-0 in the second quarter before a takeaway led to points for USF.

Sails hauled in his second interception of the season, but had a pick-6 taken off the board due to a penalty called on a block on the return. Four plays later, freshman Spencer Shrader made his second field goal of the season from 33 yards out with 2:43 remaining in the half.

USF got the ball back less than two minutes later when Roberts intercepted a pass at the Bulls’ 33. The Bulls got to the Navy 48 but the drive ended with an interception of redshirt freshman quarterback Jordan McCloud at the 22. Battling through injuries sustained in previous games. McCloud completed 11 of 23 passes for 50 yards and rushed for 26 yards in his fifth straight start.
After USF’s defense kept Navy scoreless in the third quarter, Perry found the end zone again on a 21-yard run with 13:03 to play. Perry entered the weekend tied for third nationally in TD runs and now has 14 this season.

USF trailed, 35-3, with 6:50 remaining when sophomore quarterback Kirk Rygol replaced McCloud. Rygol finished 4-for-7 for 64 yards while USF registered 150 of its 264 total yards on the ground. Cronkrite led the way with 17 carries for 76 yards, falling short in his attempt at a third straight 100-yard rushing performance.

“If you look at the first half, we gave up three big plays”, said Bulls Head Coach Charlie Strong. “The quarterback, we allowed him to just run up and down the field on us. Then, we couldn’t move the ball on offense. When that happens to you, this is the result that you get.”

USF wraps up a two-game road trip at East Carolina on Saturday, Oct. 26. Kickoff is set for 3:45 p.m. and the conference clash will be televised on ESPNU.





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Charlie Strong Looks Ahead to Saturday’s Game vs. Navy in Annapolis





USF Holds On To Defeat BYU 27-23 Saturday in Tampa

(Tampa, FL) Senior Jordan Cronkrite rushed for 158 yards and two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score with 7:37 remaining to lead USF to a 27-23 homecoming victory over BYU Saturday before an announced Raymond James Stadium crowd of 35,375.

Clinging to a four-point lead, USF (3-3, 1-1 in AAC) came up with consecutive fourth-down stops deep in its own territory to defeat BYU (2-4) in the first-ever meeting between the programs. The Cougars’ final two drives ended at the USF 5 and 20, the last ending after Devin Studstill batted down a pass in the end zone.

USF generated 243 of its 315 total yards on the ground and Cronkrite led the rushing attack with 158 yards on 26 carries in his second-best performance as a Bull. The senior from Miami registered both his rushing touchdowns and racked up 123 yards in the second half.

On a tough day through the air, senior tight end Mitchell Wilcox led the way with two catches for 52 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown reception that put USF on the scoreboard in the second quarter after BYU jumped out to a 13-0 lead.

The wild, first game between the programs started with BYU building a 16-7 halftime lead after the Bulls’ defense forced field goals in the red zone on the Cougars’ final two scoring drives.
BYU took an early 3-0 lead, but the USF defense did lots of damage in the opening quarter with 6 tackles for loss and four sacks.

After BYU extended its lead to 13-0, USF’s offense put together an eight-play, 86-yard scoring drive that was capped off by a 39-yard touchdown reception by Wilcox with 6:01 remaining in the half.

Cronkrite punched in his first touchdown of the season from 1 yard out to help drop USF’s deficit to 16-14 on the first drive of the second half that covered 68 yards on 14 plays.

BYU responded with quarterback Jaren Hall’s 29-yard touchdown run on the next drive, but the Bulls stayed within striking distance recovering a fumble on a punt attempt at the BYU 23 and USF trailed, 23-21, after a 2-yard touchdown run by quarterback Jordan McCloud with 14:57 remaining.

BYU missed a field goal after McCloud’s score and the Bulls turned the opportunity into a 27-23 advantage with Cronkrite’s 3-yard touchdown run with 7:37 to go. Cronkrite secured his second straight 100-yard rushing game on the nine-play, 78-yard drive that was powered by his 41-yard run down to the BYU 15.

BYU marched all the way down to the USF 8 on the next drive before the Bulls came up with a stop on fourth-and-7 from the 10. USF took over with 1:36 to play and, following three running plays, Schneider’s 61-yard punt moved the Cougars back to their own 26 with 1:09 remaining.

BYU got as far as the USF 12 on the final drive of the game that featured Grier’s sack on the crucial third-and-10 play before Studstill’s game-sealing pass breakup.

“That’s a great win for us”, Bulls Head Coach Charlie Strong said, “What we were able to do on defense was just hold them to field goals in the first half and not let the game get away from us”.

USF continues conference play at Navy on Saturday, Oct. 19. Kickoff in Annapolis, Md., is set for 3:30 p.m. and game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.





USF Head Coach Charlie Strong Looks Ahead to Saturday’s Game vs. BYU in Tampa

Charlie Strong’s comments at today’s USF Football presser in Tampa on Saturday’s game against BYU in Tampa.