(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.
(Montego Bay, Jamaica) Jessie Govan scored 27 points and had six rebounds to lead Georgetown to a 76-73 overtime victory over USF Sunday afternoon in the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.
James Akinjo finished 14 points and six assists and Josh LeBlanc added nine points and 10 rebounds off the bench.
David Collins led USF with 21 points that included a career-high four three-pointers. Laquincy Rideau scored 13 points and had a game-high four assists, while Alexis Yetna tallied a double-double with 11 points and a career-high 17 rebounds.
Akinjo gave Georgetown its first lead of the second half since the 18:26 mark when his jump shot with 56 seconds remaining in regulation put the Hoyas ahead 60-59. Collins answered on the ensuing possession for the Bulls with a layup in the lane to push USF ahead by one point.
Collins drew a foul on the next possession and hit both free throws to give USF a 63-60 edge with 13 seconds left in regulation. Akinjo then took the inbounds pass across half court and hit a three-pointer at the top of the key to tie the game at 63 with 4.6 seconds remaining.
USF nearly hit the game-winning shot off a rebound following a half court heave from Rideau, but T.J. Lang’s put back at the buzzer was ruled late after an official review.
Georgetown (3-1) held USF scoreless for over six minutes and built a 19-9 lead midway through the first half. The Bulls, however, closed the period on 12-4 run to pull within two points on a Collins free throw just before halftime.
Lang hit a three-pointer just under four minutes into the second half to cap a 17-4 run to give the Bulls a 43-32 lead. The Bulls would hold the lead until Akinjo’s basket in the final minute of regulation.
USF returns to the Yuengling Center in Tampa Wednesday at 7 p.m. when the Bulls host Florida A&M.
(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.
(Tampa, FL) Laquincy Rideau scored 17 points and hit two clutch free throws in the final seconds to lead USF to a 74-70 overtime victory over Austin Peay on Monday in the opening round of the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic at the Yuengling Center.
USF (2-0) took a 72-67 lead with under a minute left in overtime on a free throw from Rideau, but Zach Glotta was fouled on a three-point attempt on the ensuing possession and hit all three shots to cut the lead to two. After two missed free throws by the Bulls and turnovers by both teams, Rideau stepped to the line and made the final two points to extend the lead to four and clinch the victory for USF.
USF built a 49-40 lead midway through the second half following a three-pointer by T.J. Lang. Austin Peay, however, answered with an 18-6 run over the next five minutes to take a 58-55 edge on a three-pointer from Glotta.
Rideau regained the lead for the Bulls when his layup with 30 seconds left gave USF a 61-60 edge, but Jarrett Givens connected from beyond the arc on the other end to put Austin Peay ahead 63-61. Justin Brown drew a foul on the final possession of regulation and hit both free throws with 0.4 seconds left on the clock to tie the game and force overtime.
Austin Peay took the lead first in overtime on a free throw from Givens, but David Collins hit a three-pointer on the next possession giving USF the lead for good.
Lang and Collins both finished with 15 points and Mayan Kiir added 11 points, six rebounds and two blocks off the bench.
Terry Taylor paced Austin Peay with 21 points and 12 rebounds while Glotta chipped in with 15 points and hit a pair of three-pointers.
“We play hard. We play with great energy and intensity”, said USF Head Coach Brian Gregory. “We hung in there in the first half. We had some good offense and some wide open shots, we just weren’t able to make those baskets. We stretched it out in the second half and then got out of sorts. I’m proud of our guys for continuing to fight and for finding a way to win.”
USF continues competition in the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. when the Bulls face Ohio in Montego Bay, Jamaica, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre. The game will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network.
(Cincinnati, OH) The USF Bulls were officially eliminated from any chance at an AAC title by losing a 35-23 decision to the Bearcats in sub-freezing Cincinnati Saturday night.
USF (7-3, 3-3 in AAC) dropped three straight conference games for the first time since 2013 after Cincinnati (9-1, 5-1 in AAC) seized the momentum with a 21-point third quarter.
Sophomore quarterback Chris Oladokun made his first career start in place of injured Blake Barnett, who suffered a shoulder injury in last week’s game against Tulane. Oladokun threw a 72-yard touchdown pass to Ryeshene Bronson on his first attempt to give USF an early lead. Oladokun added a 25-touchdown pass to Tyre McCants in the third quarter and finished 10 of 22 through the air for 165 yards with no interceptions.
Junior Brett Kean also saw action at quarterback, throwing a 38-yard touchdown pass to Mitchell Wilcox to help give the Bulls a 16-14 lead they took into halftime. Kean completed four of 10 passes for 67 yards with no turnovers in his first appearance since the season opener.
Junior Mitchell Wilcox became USF’s new career and season receiving yards leader and season receptions leader for a tight end, finishing with a team-high seven catches for 90 yards and a touchdown. Wilcox, a Mackey Award candidate, has racked up a record 468 receiving yards and 35 catches this season and improved his career receiving yards to a record total of 904 after missing last week’s game with an injury.
Freshman Johnny Ford led USF’s rushing attack with 10 carries for 63 yards while the Bulls gained 81 yards on the ground against the nation’s fifth-ranked defense.
USF didn’t let a 28-degree kickoff temperature, the coldest in program history, prevent it from heading into halftime with a 16-14 lead after getting solid play from both backup quarterbacks and three sacks from the defense that forced four punts.
Oladokun threw a deep strike on his first pass attempt to Bronson, who made a one-handed catch and raced to the end zone for a 72-yard touchdown. Oladokun had six career pass attempts for 37 yards before throwing the first touchdown of his career to give USF a 6-0 lead just over two minutes into the action.
The Bulls jumped back ahead, 9-7, on a 37-yard field goal by Coby Weiss six plays after a career long 62-yard kickoff return by Bentlee Sanders.
Kean entered the game in the second quarter and capped off his first drive with a career long 38-yard touchdown pass to Wilcox to help give USF a 16-14 lead with 11:34 remaining in the half. Wilcox had three catches for 63 yards on the 75-yard scoring drive.
Cincinnati scored 14 straight points to open the second half before the Bulls responded with Oladokun’s second touchdown pass of the night. McCants hauled in his 16th career scoring reception from 25 yards out as USF cut its deficit to 28-23 with 2:06 left in the third quarter.
USF didn’t find the end zone again while pursuing its fourth double-digit fourth quarter comeback of the season. Senior defensive back Ronnie Hoggins led the Bulls with a career-high 13 tackles while junior Greg Reaves finished with 10 tackles.
“The first half we played well, then the second half we come out and give up three touchdowns in the third quarter”, Head Coach Charlie Strong said. “We just were never able to put it together and sustain drives. We only scored one touchdown (in the second half). We’ve got to be able to play for 60 minutes and that’s what we didn’t do.”
USF lost three straight games for the first time since early in the 2015 season. USF lost three straight conference games for the first time since 2013.
The temperature at kickoff was 28 degrees, marking the lowest in program history and just the seventh game in USF history with a kickoff below 40 degrees. The previous lowest temperature a USF game had kicked off at was 29 degrees at West Virginia in 2008. USF lost that game, 13-7.
USF finishes up a two-game road stretch with a conference test at Temple on Saturday, Nov. 17 in a noon kickoff. Game broadcast on ESPN News.
USF returns to Raymond James Stadium to host rival UCF in a War on I-4 clash on Friday, Nov. 23 (time TBA).
(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) Following a rare home loss and with its first two-game skid since dropping three straight early in the 2015 season, USF (7-2, 3-2) begins a two-game road swing against two teams above the Bulls in the AAC East Division standings. The Bulls have won the last three meetings vs. Cincinnati (8-1, 4-1) including a 45-20 win in their last trip to Nippert Stadium in 2016. The Bulls are 2-5 all-time at Cincinnati.
USF has lost back-to-back conference games for the first time since the last two games of 2014 (Memphis and UCF). The Bulls last three-game conference skid came in 2013. With possible temperatures in the 30’s at kickoff, it would mark the Bulls’ first kickoff below 40 degrees since falling 31-6 at Rutgers on Dec. 7, 2013.
USF will be facing its first ranked opponent since falling at No. 12 UCF (49-42) on Nov. 24, 2017. USF is 0-1 vs. ranked foes under Charlie Strong and 11-23 all-time. The Bulls’ last victory over a ranked team came vs. No. 22 Navy (52-45) in 2016. USF’s last road win vs. a ranked team came at No. 16 Notre Dame (23-20) on Sept. 3, 2011.
USF has gone 13-3 away from Tampa (10-3 in true road games) in the last three seasons and has won six of its last eight conference road games. The Bulls are averaging 40.5 ppg. in their last 16 games away from Tampa, failing to score at least 30 just twice.
Having passed for 322 yards in Saturday’s loss to Tulane, Blake Barnett enters this weekend’s game with 2,400 passing yards, 9th on the USF season charts, and closing quickly on the first 3,000-yard passing season in program history. Barnett ranks 19th nationally and third in The American passing for 267.2 yards per game and 16th nationally and third in The American in total offense (301.8 ypg).
Game Broadcast Information: TV: ESPNU
• Play-by-Play: Bill Roth
• Analyst: Mike Golic Jr.
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, 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).