(Tampa, FL) USF (7-0, 3-0) faces its most important game of the season so far as the Bulls travel to Houston Saturday afternoon to play the Cougars (6-1, 3-0) in a game to be televised nationally on ABC-TV (3:30 PM EDT).
One of five remaining unbeaten teams in FBS football, two unbeaten and ranked in the AAC East Division, USF entered last season’s Oct. 28 game vs. Houston at 7-0 and ranked No. 17/14 before suffering a 28-24 setback in Tampa when D’Eriq King ran in for a 20-yard TD with 11 seconds to play. The teams’ combined record of 13-1 is the best among all college football matchups this week. The Bulls have lost their last three games vs. Houston and will be looking for their first win over the Cougars since a 32-14 victory in Houston in 2002. USF fell, 35-23, in its last trip to Houston in 2013. This will be the Bulls’ first ever game in TDECU Stadium.
In addition to the television broadcast, the game can be heard on the USF Radio Network on 820 AM/96.7 FM and online over the iHeart Radio Bulls Unlimited Channel.
(Tampa, FL) Johnny Ford and Jordan Cronkrite both rushed for 100-plus yards as USF posted the program’s second straight 7-0 start to a season with a 38-30 victory over UConn before a homecoming crowd of 41,127 at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday night.
One of just five remaining unbeaten teams in FBS football, No. 21/20 USF (7-0, 3-0 in The American) seized the momentum with a 17-point third quarter and totaled 611 yards on the way to matching the program’s best-ever start to a season. After heading into halftime tied at 7-7, USF registered 199 of its 346 total rushing yards during a 31-point outburst in the second half.
USF finished with two 100-yard rushers for the 15th time in program history. Ford scored three times on seven carries and finished with 164 yards in his first career 100-yard game. The freshman from Miami set a USF game record (minimum five carries) with 23.4 yards per attempt and now owns USF’s longest non-scoring run after breaking off a 78-yarder in the third quarter.
Cronkrite extended his 100-yard rushing streak to five games with 103 yards on 16 carries. The junior’s five straight 100-yard rushing games match the program record also held by Quinton Flowers (2016) and Marlon Mack (2015).
Quarterback Blake Barnett rushed for 78 yards on 10 carries and scored his team-leading seventh touchdown on the ground from 20 yards out during USF’s 17-point third quarter. Barnett also shook off two early interceptions to complete 20 of 28 passes for 265 yards and a touchdown.
Redshirt freshman Randall St. Felix caught two passes for a game-high 123 yards and ignited USF’s 17-point third quarter with a 75-yard touchdown reception on the Bulls’ first offensive play of the second half.
In the 16th meeting between the programs, UConn (1-6, 0-4 in AAC) grabbed a 7-0 lead near the midpoint of the opening quarter and USF evened things up just before halftime. Ford’s 15-yard touchdown run with 43 seconds before the break capped off a seven-play, 80-yard drive.
USF seized the lead on its first offensive play of the second half when St. Felix took a short pass and went the distance for a 75-yard touchdown. It marked USF’s longest pass play of the season and extended St. Felix’s catch streak to seven games.
Big plays continued for the Bulls midway through their 17-point third quarter when Ford covered 78 yards on USF’s longest ever non-scoring run. The ninth-longest run in USF history helped set up Coby Weiss’ 30-yard field goal that extended the lead to 17-7 with 6:07 to go in the quarter.
After UConn cut its deficit to 17-14, Jernard Phillips got the Bulls back into scoring position with a career long 69-yard kickoff return. Two plays later, Barnett registered his team-leading seventh rushing touchdown of the season from 20 yards out with 2:34 remaining in the third quarter.
Nick Roberts’ 61-yard interception return set up Ford’s second 15-yard rushing touchdown to help pump the USF lead up to 31-14 less than a minute in the fourth quarter. Roberts (Jacksonville, Fla.) matched his career high with 10 tackles while fellow redshirt freshman Mekhi LaPointe set a new career high with a game-high 11 tackles.
UConn responded with 10 straight points before Ford’s 43-yard rushing touchdown helped put USF ahead, 38-23, with 4:46 remaining. UConn cut the lead to 38-30 with 2:24 remaining but never got the ball back.
USF heads back on the road for a conference test at Houston on Saturday, Oct. 27. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on ABC.
The Bulls return to Raymond James Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 3 to host Tulane in the Bulls’ Salute to Service game (kickoff time: TBA).
(Tampa, FL) One of just eight remaining unbeaten teams in FBS football, USF (6-0; 2-0 American) has reached bowl eligibility on the earliest date in program history and climbed into the top 20 of the national rankings for the 31st time in program history, checking in at No. 20 in the latest Amway Coaches Poll and No. 21 in the Associated Press Poll.
One of three unbeaten and Top 25 ranked teams in the East Division of the American Athletic Conference, USF’s comeback from a 14-point fourth quarter deficit in a 25-24 victory at Tulsa marked its largest fourth quarter comeback since 2012 and earned the Bulls bowl eligibility on Oct. 12, one day earlier than the previous earliest date in program history.
Bowl eligible for the fourth straight season and in October for the sixth time in program history, the 2018 Bulls team bettered by one day the 2007 team, which earned bowl eligibility on Oct. 13, 2007 after a 64-12 defeat of UCF.
The American is the only conference nationally with three unbeaten teams. The Bulls are joined by No. 10/9 UCF (6-0) and No. 20/21 Cincinnati (6-0). UCF comes to Raymond James Stadium for the War on I-4 on Fri., Nov. 23 while the Bulls travel face Cincinnati on Sat., Nov. 10.
Junior Jordan Cronkrite posted his fourth straight 100-yard rushing game, collecting 151 yards and a 66-yard touchdown Friday in Tulsa. Cronkrite stands third nationally in rushing yards per game (151.4) and yards per carry (8.05) and became the first Bull to post four touchdown runs of 60-plus yards in the same season. With 757 yards and six touchdowns through six games, Cronkrite is well on his way to posting the ninth 1,000-yard rushing season in program history and becoming just the fifth Bull to accomplish the feat. The Bulls have been ranked in the top 10 nationally in rushing in each of the previous three seasons and have had a 1,000-yard rusher for a program record four straight seasons.
USF returns to Raymond James Stadium, where it has won 19 of its last 22 games, on Saturday for a 7:00 p.m. Homecoming clash with UConn (1-5; 0-3 American). The Bulls have won six straight games against the Huskies and will be looking to equal the program’s best-ever start by improving to 7-0 for the second straight season. The Bulls are 34-6 in their last 40 games, a mark that is tied with Oklahoma for the fourth-best mark nationally over each team’s last 40 contests and trails only Alabama (38-2), Clemson (36-4) and Ohio State (35-5).
Saturday’s game will be televised by CBS Sports Network and can be heard live on the USF Sports Network (820AM; iHeart Radio Bulls Unlimited).
(Tampa, FL) One of just 11 remaining unbeaten teams in FBS football, USF (5-0; 1-0 American) put an end to its short stint outside the national Top 25 rankings on Sunday when the Bulls entered the Week 7 rankings in both the Associated Press Poll and Amway Coaches Poll at No. 23.
The Bulls saw a program record run of 20 straight weeks in the Top 25 rankings ended when the 2018 preseason polls were announced and did not include a USF team that lost 13 starters, including its record-breaking quarterback and middle linebacker. After six weeks of the 2018 season, the Bulls are 5-0 for the second straight season, the sixth time in program history, and back in the Top 25.
USF posted 574 yards of offense and a season-high 365 yards rushing, the 10th-best total in program history, in a 58-42 victory at UMass on Saturday that included a run of 31 straight points that gave the Bulls a 41-14 lead midway through the third quarter. The offensive outburst was fueled by a USF and American Athletic Conference record 302 yards rushing from junior Jordan Cronkrite (Miami) who posted touchdown runs of 77, 76 and 30 yards. Cronkrite averaged 13.1 yards per carry in posting the second highest rushing total in the NCAA in 2018 and the fourth-most rushing yards ever by a player from a state of Florida FBS program. Cronkrite now stands third nationally in rushing yards per game (151.5) and yards per carry (8.78) and owns three of the nation’s top 21 longest rushing plays on the season.
USF is one of three unbeaten teams in the East Division of the American Athletic Conference as The American is the only conference nationally with three unbeaten teams. The Bulls are joined by No. 10/9 UCF (5-0) and No. 25/25 Cincinnati (6-0). UCF comes to Raymond James Stadium for the War on I-4 on Fri., Nov. 23 while the Bulls travel to face Cincinnati on Sat., Nov. 10.
After finishing up its second straight unbeaten non-conference season and improving to 12-2 away from Tampa in its last 14 games, USF will resume conference play on Friday with a 7:00 p.m. ESPN primetime kickoff at Tulsa (1-4; 0-2 American). The Bulls are 33-6 in their last 39 games, a mark that is tied with Oklahoma and Wisconsin for the fourth-best nationally over that span and trails only Alabama (37-2), Clemson (35-4) and Ohio State (34-5).
(TAMPA, FL) The unbeaten USF football team returns to action this Saturday when the Bulls travel to Amherst, Mass., to take on Massachusetts in a 3:30 p.m. kickoff. The game is being televised by Eleven Sports and will be aired locally in the Bay Area on WFLA sister station WTTA-TV Great 38.
WTTA-TV Great 38 can be received by over-the-air antenna in the Bay Area on channel 38 as well as on Spectrum (Ch. 6 & 1006 HD), Frontier (Ch. 14 & 513 HD) and Comcast/Xfinity (Ch. 11 & 435 HD) cable systems and via DirecTV (Ch. 38) and Dish Network (Ch. 38). The game is also being broadcast on Eleven Sports (available via DirecTV, ATT Uverse and Verizon Fios) and NESN (available on DirecTV).
“We are thrilled to be able to partner with WFLA and its sister station WTTA Great 38 to provide fans in the Bay Area the opportunity to watch their Bulls take the field this Saturday at UMass,” USF Vice President for Athletics Michael Kelly said. “We reached out to Eleven Sports, which is broadcasting the game in the Northeast, and were able to work out an agreement to license the game for distribution in the Bay Area, and WFLA was terrific in clearing the air time and a great location in which to broadcast it. We know area fans will enjoy the opportunity to cheer on their Bulls.”
The Eleven Sports broadcast team of Eric Frede, Andy Gresh and sideline reporter Matt Goldstein, a former UMass kicker, will call the game.
USF is one of just 14 teams that remain undefeated in FBS football as the Bulls return after a bye week at 4-0. The Bulls checked in just outside the Top 25 rankings this week, collecting 83 votes in the AP Poll (27th) and 109 in the Coaches Poll (26th).
The Bulls have won 32 of their last 38 games, tied for fifth-best in the nation over that span, entering Saturday’s contest at UMass (2-4). The game can also be heard live on the USF Sports Network on 820 AM in the Bay Area and digitally on the iHeart Radio Bulls Unlimited channel.
The American Athletic Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) once again has made mental health and safety its top priority. All 13 American institutions will kick off the American Athletic Conference’s Pow6rful Minds Campaign for 2018-19 with Mental Health Awareness Week, Oct. 1-7. This is part of an important initiative to improve awareness of mental health issues and resources available to student-athletes with the goal of ending the stigma related to seeking help and promoting success through a healthy, powerful mind. Learn more HERE.
(Tampa, FL) The USF Bulls will open their sixth season in The American Athletic Conference Saturday night vs. ECU, a team USF is 7-1 against all-time and has won three straight games against, including a 61-31 victory in Greenville in USF’s second AAC game last year. The Bulls are 4-1 in AAC openers, having won their last two. This will mark USF’s fifth AAC opener played at home, the Bulls are 3-1 in those games with a loss to Memphis (24-17) in 2015. USF is 9-6 all-time in conference openers. A win would mark USF’s second straight 4-0 start to a season (USF started 7-0 in 2017) and the seventh in program history.
PROGRAM WIN 150: USF is seeking the 150th win in program history in just its 22nd season. The Bulls will try to reach the mark in program game 255 (149-105, .586), which would be the fastest of any FBS program in the state of Florida to reach the mark. The next closest is Florida in 258 games. USF has gone 24-4 since the start of 2016.
AMERICAN ROLL: USF is 19-5 in AAC games over the last three seasons, the best record in the conference, and has won 10 of its last 11 AAC home games, with the loss coming to Houston (28-24) in the final 11 seconds last year. The Bulls have won seven straight home games vs. AAC East Division foes, with the last loss coming in 2014. The Bulls are 13-2 vs. East Division foes the last three years (losses at UCF (2017) and at Temple (2016) and 16-6 overall.
HOME COOKING: USF has won 18 of its last 21 home games, with 15 wins coming by two touchdowns or more.
EXTRA YARD FOR TEACHERS: USF will sport helmet decals in support of Extra Yard for Teachers. The CFP Foundation is spearheading the charge towards elevating the teaching profession using the high profile of college football through the implementation of four focus areas: resources, recognition, recruitment and professional development.
LAST TIME VS. ECU:
Six different players scored touchdowns in USF’s most explosive game of the 2017 season, a 61-31 victory at East Carolina hat marked the Bulls’ most points ever in a road game. It was USF’s second-highest scoring game in American Athletic Conference play.
USF rushed for a season-high 390 yards and totaled 575 total yards.
USF had a highly productive 21-point first quarter and held ECU to just seven second half points while running off 24 unanswered to cruise to the win.
Quinton Flowers passed Tim Tebow to become the state of Florida’s top career rushing FBS quarterback and posted 93 yards and a touchdown on just 10 carries. Flowers added two touchdown passes during his 253-yard day.
• Play-by-Play: Dave LaMont
• Analyst: Ray Bentley
• Sideline Reporter: NA
• Online: espn.com/watch
RADIO: USF Radio Network
• Play-by-Play: Jim Louk
• Analyst: Sam Barrington
• Sideline Reporter: Joey Johnston
• In Tampa: 820 AM / 96.7 FM
• Digital: iHeart Radio – Bulls Unlimited Channel
(CHICAGO) USF (3-0) erased a 12-point fourth quarter deficit with 18 unanswered points and extended its winning streak against Power Five foes to five straight with a 25-19 victory over Illinois at Soldier Field on Saturday.
Darnell Salomon (Miami) completed the comeback with a 50-yard touchdown catch on a pass from Blake Barnett (Corona, Calif.) with 2:24 remaining after starting the fourth quarter with a 14-yard touchdown reception. USF’s defense came up huge with three sacks on the final drive of the game and didn’t allow a touchdown for the final 55 minutes, 6 seconds.
Barnett threw both his touchdown passes to Salomon in the fourth quarter, completing 23 of 40 attempts for 411 yards, good for the second-best performance in the USF single-game record book. Salomon finished with five catches for 95 yards as the Bulls came from behind in the fourth quarter for the second straight week.
Defensively, linebackers Khalid McGee (Miami) and Nico Sawtelle (Jensen Beach, Fla.) had career-high tackle days with 14 and 13 stops, respectively. Ronnie Hoggins (Coconut Creek, Fla.) added 11 tackles while Kevin Kegler (Madison, Fla.) finished with a career-high 1.5 sacks.
Mitchell Wilcox (Tarpon Springs, Fla.) set a new USF game record for a tight end with eight catches for 109 yards, both career highs. Barnett also completed six passes to Randall St. Felix (Miami), who finished his second 100-yard game with 120 receiving yards and hauled in a career long 55-yard catch in the fourth quarter.
Jordan Cronkrite (Miami) rushed for a career-high 136 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries to help the Bulls register their fourth 600-plus yard outing. The Bulls finished with 626 yards, outgaining Illinois, which finished with 380, by 246 yards on the day.
USF faced its first halftime deficit this season despite leading Illinois in offensive yards by a 267-231 margin in the first two quarters.
Illinois (2-1) jumped out to a 7-0 lead just over four minutes into the first quarter. USF bounced right back with Cronkrite’s first touchdown run as a Bull from 3 yards out that capped off an 11-play, 75-yard drive in 3:02. The sequence was kept alive by a gutsy 7-yard reception by Wilcox on fourth-and-5 from the Illinois 26.
USF trailed, 16-7, at the break after preventing more points with a clutch takeaway on defense. Down, 13-7, in the second quarter, senior cornerback Mazzi Wilkins (Tampa) recovered an Illinois fumble at the USF 31 with 5:26 to go before halftime. McGee had a standout first half with nine tackles (seven solo).
USF cut into its 12-point fourth quarter deficit with Barnett’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Salomon on the first play of the period. Wilcox posted four catches for 53 yards on the 11-play, 75-yard drive.
Coby Weiss’ 26-yard field goal made it a two-point game with 7:47 remaining. The score was set up by a leaping, career long 55-yard catch by St. Felix down to the Illinois 12.
USF’s defense forced a punt with 3:47 left to give coordinator Gilbert’s offense a chance at a go-ahead score. USF needed just 1:17 to grab its first lead, capping off a six-play, 85-yard drive with Barnett’s 50-yard touchdown pass to Salomon. Barnett increased the lead to 25-19 with a two-point conversion pass to St. Felix.
Sacks by Kirk Livingstone (Fort Lauderdale, FL), Kegler and Tyrone Barber (Venice, Fla.) helped stall the final Illinois drive that ended with an incomplete pass in the end zone with no time remaining.
Head coach Charlie Strong’s thoughts on USF’s comeback victory:
The Bulls are back at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 22 for a conference clash with East Carolina. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPNews.
(Tampa, FL) The USF Bulls (2-0) will play their first-ever game in Chicago and second in the state of Illinois on Saturday in the second of a two-game series with the Illini. The Bulls won the first meeting, 47-23, last year in Tampa. USF last ventured to the state of Illinois in 2001, falling, 20-17, at Northern Illinois. It will mark USF’s fourth Big Ten road game in the last six seasons and fifth overall. The Bulls are 1-5 all-time vs. Big Ten opponents, that victory coming last year vs. Illinois, and are 0-4 in road games vs. the Big Ten, falling at Maryland (2015; 35-17), Wisconsin (2014; 27-10), Michigan State (2013; 21-6) and Penn State (2005; 23-13).
Coming off a 49-38 win over Georgia Tech, USF is looking for its fifth straight win vs. a Power 5 opponent. The Bulls have won six of their last seven meetings vs. P5 teams, including a pair of bowl victories. The loss came to No. 13 Florida State (55-35) in 2016 in Tampa. The American has posted four wins vs. P5 teams so far in 2018.
Illini Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach Rod Smith was on the USF staff from 2001-06 under head coach Jim Leavitt, serving as QB Coach/Passing Game Coordinator and then Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach (2005-06). Meanwhile, nine coaches in the game have Tampa Bay Buccaneers ties, including Illini Head Coach Lovie Smith who served as head coach of the Buccaneers from 2014-15 and was the linebackers coach from 1996-2000.
USF has gone 23-4 since the start of 2016, including 10-1 in out-of-conference games (two bowl wins) with the only loss coming to No. 13 Florida State in 2016. The Bulls have posted a 18-3 record in Raymond James Stadium over the past four seasons and are in the midst of the most successful run in program history (31-9 (77.5) since 2015) that includes a 30-6 mark in the last 36 games, which ranks among the top six in the nation over that time.
Broadcast info for Saturdays Bulls game:
USF (2-0; 0-0 American) vs. Illinois (2-0; 0-0 Big Ten)
Saturday, Sept. 15 • 3:30 PM (ET) • Soldier Field • Big Ten Network TV: Big Ten Network (BTN)
• Play-by-Play: Dave Revsine
• Analyst: J Leman
• Sideline Reporter: Ally Strum
• Online: BTN2Go.com
RADIO: USF Radio Network
• Play-by-Play: Jim Louk
• Analyst: Sam Barrington
• Sideline Reporter: Joey Johnston
• In Tampa: 820 AM / 96.7 FM
• Digital: iHeart Radio – Bulls Unlimited Channel
• Satellite: Sirius 145 / XM 386