(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.
(Tampa, FL) David Collins scored 17 points and USF defeated Alabama A&M 80-63 Tuesday evening at the Yuengling Center to open the college basketball season.
Justin Brown added 16 points off the bench, T.J. Lang finished with 10 points and the duo combined to make six of USF’s nine three-pointers to help the Bulls shoot 42.9 percent (9-for-21) from beyond the arc.
Laquincy Rideau tied his career-high with 10 assists and Alexis Yetna pulled down a game-high nine rebounds in his USF debut.
Arthur Johnson paced Alabama A&M with 20 points and four steals and Andre Kennedy scored 15 points.
USF (1-0) led by as many as 15 points in the first half before Alabama A&M used a 23-10 run to pull within two points (33-31) on a three-pointer by Johnson in the final minute.
Alabama A&M (0-1) took its only lead on a bucket from Johnson early in the second half to put the Bulldogs ahead 41-40, but USF answered with an 18-6 run to build a 58-47 advantage.
Justin Brown gave USF its largest lead when his three-pointer from the wing put the Bulls ahead 80-61 with just over a minute remaining.
“I thought we did a lot of good things over the first eight or 10 minutes”, said Bulls Head Coach Brian Gregory. “Games are going to be tough but we didn’t lose out poise. The Alabama A&M zone gave us problems early on, but we made an adjustment early in the second half to get the ball inside more and our posts did some good things down low.”
USF returns to the Yuengling Center in Tampa on Monday, Nov. 12 when the Bulls host Austin Peay at 7 p.m.
(TAMPA, FL) With few lower bowl seats remaining and demand running high for the War on I-4 gridiron clash vs. unbeaten UCF on Friday, Nov. 23, USF Athletics has released tickets for purchase in the west upper deck (home side) of Raymond James Stadium. USF Athletics also announced a new partnership with Dunkin’ as the presenting sponsor of this year’s game.
“Excitement for the War on I-4 has been building since last season’s epic game watched by nearly five million people on ABC,” USF Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly said. “With ticket demand for the game continuing to build and remaining lower bowl seating inventory shrinking daily, we felt it was time to open tickets sales in the 300 level. We anticipate tickets moving quickly and a tremendous atmosphere in Raymond James Stadium on game day.”
The stadium’s 44,204 lower bowl seats and suite tickets have nearly sold-out for the game, with less than 700 prime seats remaining in various, dynamically-priced lower bowl sections. Upper deck tickets will begin priced between $29-$59.
USF leads the War on I-4 series, 6-3, and has won two of the last three meetings, but the Knights claimed a 49-42 victory in Orlando last season in a game that saw three touchdowns scored in the final 2:21. USF tied the game on an 83-yard touchdown pass from Quinton Flowers to Darnell Salomon with 1:41 left to play, but the Knights got a game-winning 95-yard kickoff return from Mike Hughes.
Senior Tyre McCants, the Bulls’ leading receiver in 2018, had a USF game record 227 yards receiving and a touchdown on nine catches in last season’s War on I-4 clash. The team’s combined to produce 1,186 yards of offense in the game.
(Tampa, FL) USF dropped consecutive conference games for the first time since the end of the 2014 season with a 41-15 setback against Tulane on Saturday at Raymond James Stadium.
Tulane (4-5, 3-2 in AAC) took control of the game with 34 straight points after USF (7-2, 3-2 in AAC) started with a 3-0 lead. The Bulls’ nation-leading streak of consecutive 20-plus point games was snapped at 38.
Quarterback Blake Barnett completed 29 of 49 attempts for 332 yards and was the Bulls leading rusher in the game with 59 yards.
Tulane headed into halftime with a 27-3 lead after scoring 27 unanswered points, including 20 in the second quarter.
USF started the scoring in the middle of the opening quarter with a 27-yard field goal by Coby Weiss The 65-yard drive was sparked by Barnett’s career long 39-yard run on USF’s first offensive play of the game.
Following USF’s third turnover of the game, Darius Bradwell’s 73-yard touchdown run helped extend the Green Wave lead to 34-3 with 3:48 remaining in the third quarter. USF answered back about three minutes later with Ford’s eighth rushing touchdown run of the season from 5 yards out.
USF’s rally continued with a 1-yard touchdown run by Barnett that cut the deficit to 34-15 with 9:26 remaining. The touchdown was set up by a 31-yard reception by junior Darnell Salomon, who finished with three catches for 54 yards.
Redshirt freshman linebacker Andrew Mims recovered a fumble in USF territory on Tulane’s next drive, but the Bulls couldn’t complete their fourth double-digit fourth quarter comeback of the season.
USF returns to the road for a two-game stretch that begins with a test at Cincinnati on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 7PM ET.
USF’s next home game is a War on I-4 clash with rival UCF in the Bulls’ regular season finale on Friday, Nov. 23 (time TBA).
(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) USF junior running back Jordan Cronkrite (Miami) has been named the American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week after a record-setting 302-yard and three-touchdown day in the Bulls’ win at UMass.
Cronkrite, who previously earned conference honor roll recognition in Week 4, became the third USF player to earn conference player of the week honors for the 5-0 Bulls on the year, as he joined quarterback Blake Barnett (Week 3) and wide receiver Terrence Horne (Week 2). Cronkrite also earned Honorable Mention National Performer of the Week honors from the College Football Performance Awards, AAC Offensive Player of the Week from College Sports Madness, and a helmet sticker on ESPN College Football Final.
Cronkrite posted a USF and American Athletic Conference record 302 yards rushing at UMass with touchdown runs of 77, 76 and 30 yards. Cronkrite averaged a USF game-record 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 enters Week 7 ranked third nationally and second in The American 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 with touchdown runs of 80, 77 and 76 yards on the year.
He is riding a string of three straight 100-yard games into USF’s Friday ESPN primetime clash at Tulsa. His 567 yards (9.45 ypc) in his last three games rank as the second-most ever over a three-game span by a USF player, coming up just shy of the record of 591 set by Andre Hall in 2004.
Head Coach Charlie Strong’s Monday press conference on the Tulsa game this Friday:
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.
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).
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 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 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
(TAMPA) Another week and another conference honor for USF quarterback Blake Barnett who is off to a blazing start in his Bulls debut.
After being named to the American Athletic Conference Honor Roll following each of his first two USF starts, Barnett was named the Conference Offensive Player of the Week following a 411-yard passing day against Power Five foe Illinois and leading another fourth quarter comeback.
Barnett passed for two touchdowns and 172 yards in the fourth quarter as he led USF back from a 12-point deficit with drives of 75, 71 and 85 yards. The Bulls tallied 18 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, capped by Barnett’s game-winning 50-yard touchdown pass to Darnell Salomon with 2:24 to play.
Barnett completed 23-of-40 passes for 411 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He tallied 428 total yards on the day. Barnett’s passing yardage ranks as the second-most ever by a USF quarterback while his total yards rank seventh.
Barnett enters week 4 ranked in the top 21 of seven NCAA statistics. He stands eighth nationally in total offense (352.3 ypg), 10th in total passing yards (918), 11th in points per game (20.7 ppg) and 14th in passing yards per game (307.7 ypg). Barnett has thrown seven touchdown passes to five different receivers on the year, with four averaging 60 yards or better receiving per game, and is completing 64.8 percent of his passes.
Barnett will look to lead USF to its third straight conference opening win Saturday when the Bulls take on the ECU Pirates in an 8 p.m. kickoff at Raymond James Stadium. USF is 4-1 all-time in American Athletic Conference openers and 7-1 all-time vs. ECU.
A Bulls’ win would mark the 150th in program history in the program’s 255th game. That would make USF the fastest FBS program in the state of Florida to reach 150 wins, bettering Florida, which did it in the program’s 258th game in 1937.
The game will be televised by ESPNews and can be heard live on the USF Radio Network (820 AM locally, iHeart Radio Bulls Unlimited Channel).