Tag Archives: Charlie Strong

Cincinnati Beats USF on Last Second FG 20-17 Saturday Night in Tampa

(Tampa, FL) USF gave No. 17 Cincinnati all it could handle in a 20-17 loss that went to the final second Saturday night at Raymond James Stadium.

Following the Bulls’ missed chance at a go-ahead field goal from 33 yards out with 2:07 to play, Sam Crosa made a 37-yard kick as time expired to earn the Bearcats (9-1, 6-0) at least a share of The American’s East Division title.

Powered by a solid defensive effort, USF (4-6, 2-4) took a 10-0 lead into halftime and held a 17-10 advantage early in the fourth quarter. The Bulls’ bid for their first win over a ranked opponent since 2016 was hampered by four missed field goals from 50, 53, 43 and 33 yards out.

Cincinnati, which came to Tampa averaging 32.7 points, was shut out in the first half for just the second time this season and was outgained by the Bulls by a 438-278 margin. Sophomore linebacker Antonio Grier Jr. led USF’s valiant defensive effort with a career-high 10 tackles, including two of USF’s eight tackles for loss and one of the team’s four sacks as the Bulls forced eight punts and gained a takeaway for the 10th straight game.

Redshirt freshman Jordan McCloud completed 18 of 27 passes for a career-high 267 yards and a touchdown. McCloud’s 4-yard scoring pass to senior tight end Mitchell Wilcox helped spot USF a 17-7 lead midway through the third quarter.

USF got a team-high 78 rushing yards from Jordan Cronkrite. The senior from Miami moved up to eighth on the program’s career rushing list with 1,808 yards. Freshman Kelley Joiner Jr. set career highs with 72 rushing yards on 13 carries and totaled a team-best 121 all-purpose yards.

Cincinnati didn’t get a first down until late in the first quarter and that drive resulted in its fourth punt. USF took advantage of the opportunity with a 28-yard field goal by freshman Spencer Shrader Freshman Xavier Weaver had a 37-yard reception on the 13-play, 85-yard drive.

Cincinnati found the end zone on the second drive of the second half before the Bulls answered right back. McCloud’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Wilcox capped off a seven-play, 75-yard drive that extended the USF lead to 17-7 with 7:12 to play in the third quarter. Joiner exploded downfield on the first play of the sequence with a career long 49-yard reception.

The Bearcats tied things up in the first minute of the fourth quarter, which set up a dramatic finish in the 17th meeting between the programs.

With the Bulls backed up at their own 3 midway through the quarter, McCloud threw a quick pass to junior Eddie McDoom, who raced downfield through defenders on a career-long 41 reception. Three plays later, McCloud completed a 19-yard pass to sophomore Bryce Miller on third-and-4 down to the Cincinnati 31. USF got as close as the Bearcats’ 15 before missing the potential go-ahead field goal with 2:07 remaining.

Cincinnati then converted twice on third-and-long and drove 60 yards to set up Crosa’s game-winning field goal in the final seconds.

“This one hurts and it hurts because you saw a great team effort tonight”, said Bulls Head Coach Charlie Strong. “Just the way our guys came out and the energy they had and just the way they played from start to finish. We had our opportunities, and it’s tough because of the opportunities that we had. There’s no blame for anyone. It’s one of those losses that’s a team loss. We have two games left and we’ve got to get to a bowl game.”

USF wraps up a three-game homestand Saturday, Nov. 23 against No. 18 Memphis. Kickoff time for the Bulls’ Senior Day game is 4 p.m. on ESPNU.






Temple Defeats USF 17-7 Thursday Night in Tampa

(Tampa, FL) USF’s woes continued before a sparse crowd at Raymond James Stadium dropping a 17-7 decision to Temple. The Bulls gave up 9 sacks and committed some bad penalties in crucial moments to drop their record 4-5 and 2-3 in the American Athletic Conference.

USF kept Temple (6-3, 3-2) scoreless for most of the first half and totaled its 21st takeaway of the season with an interception by Bentlee Sanders on the opening drive of the third quarter with the Owls clinging to a 7-0 lead. Sanders added a sack on a night in which USF totaled eight tackles for loss, forced four punts and two turnovers on downs.

USF cut its deficit to 14-7 with a 14-yard touchdown reception by sophomore Bryce Miller late in the third quarter. Two turnovers and a key drop slowed the Bulls’ progress on offense after they put up 525 yards and 45 points the last time out at East Carolina on Oct. 26.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Jordan McCloud completed 23 of 38 passes for a career-high 225 yards and a touchdown in his seventh straight start. Senior tight end Mitchell Wilcox set up USF’s lone touchdown with a 25-yard catch and had a team-best 55 yards on a season-high five receptions.

USF’s defense dominated early in the sixth meeting between the schools before Temple used a late touchdown to take a 7-0 lead into the break. The Bulls’ defense gave up just 246 yards prior to Temple’s final drive and saw the Owls finish with 320 yards.

A big stop on Temple’s first drive set the tone for a shutout performance by the Bulls in the opening quarter. Sophomore Tyrone Barber made a clutch tackle for a loss of 2 yards with the Owls facing fourth-and-1 at the Bulls’ 7-yard line.

USF followed that up by forcing a pair of three-and-outs and sophomore linebacker Dwayne Boyles (Miami) ended the second sequence with a sack early in the second quarter. Senior end Darius Slade crashed through the line and posted his first sack as a Bull to halt Temple’s fourth drive that covered 20 yards on four plays.

Temple’s Jager Gardner made the biggest offensive play of the half with a 57-yard run on third-and-1 down to the USF 2. Gardner would finish with 133 yards on 25 carries on the night. Three plays later, Todd Centeio threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Yeboah with just 1:29 to go before the break.

USF’s defense kept it a one-score game on the opening drive of the second half thanks to Sanders’ first-career interception at the Bulls’ 10-yard line. Sanders’ second sack of the season stalled Temple’s very next drive.

Temple took a 14-0 lead on a 39-yard fumble recovery returned for a touchdown by Sam Franklin with 4:45 to play in the third quarter.

The Bulls bounced right back on their next drive with a 14-yard touchdown reception by Miller. Freshman Xavier Weaver (Orlando) sparked the seven-play, 90-yard sequence with a career high 40-yard reception. Wilcox set up the score with a leaping 25-yard catch that got the Bulls to the Temple 14. McCloud went 3-for-3 for 79 yards on the drive that kept the Bulls close with 1:01 remaining in the third quarter.

Down 17-7 in the fourth quarter, USF was at midfield and nearly got into scoring position on an accurate deep pass by McCloud that was dropped. The Bulls were set to get the ball back after a Temple three-and-out, but a roughing the kicker penalty extended the Owls’ drive that ended at the USF 9 with 2:06 remaining.

“This is a tough one, a hard one to swallow”, said USF Head Coach Charlie Strong. “We had opportunities and didn’t take advantage of them. You look at the first drive, we’re driving the football, then end up turning the ball over. We could’ve got a score there and the defense played well up until right before half, giving up the drive where they scored on us. When the opportunity’s there, you have to take advantage of it, and we didn’t take advantage of it. Playing against a good football team, you can’t go out there and make mistakes – every mistake cost us.”

The Bulls continue a three-game homestand Saturday, Nov. 16 against No. 17 Cincinnati before the program’s Senior Day game against No. 19 Memphis on Saturday, Nov. 23. Kickoff times for both games have yet to be announced.






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).

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.





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.





USF Bulls Defeat UConn 48-22 Saturday for First AAC Conference Win of the Season

(East Hartford, CT) USF found its offense, at least for one week, racking up 503 total yards in a 48-22 win over UConn Saturday afternoon in Connecticut. Jordan Cronkrite ran for 148 yards while the Bulls ground game compiled 313 rushing yards to capture an American Athletic Conference win.

USF (2-3, 1-1 in AAC) led from start to finish in its eighth straight victory over the Huskies (1-4, 0-2), dating back to 2012. Saturday marked USF’s first 300-yard rushing game since gaining 346 yards on the ground against the Huskies on Oct. 20, 2018.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Jordan McCloud accounted for four touchdowns in his third straight start. The Tampa native completed 11 of 12 passes for 157 yards and three touchdowns on top of rushing for 62 yards and another score from 26 yards out.

Making his first-ever USF start in the slot, Bryce Miller caught a pair of 12-yard touchdown passes from McCloud. Miller’s first TD reception started a string of four straight scoring drives that helped the Bulls build a 27-14 halftime lead.

Cronkrite registered his first 100-yard rushing game of the season while averaging 7.4 yards per carry. Senior Trevon Sands added seven carries for a career-high 64 yards in a performance that included his first-ever touchdown run as a Bull from 5 yards out in the second quarter.

USF’s defense posted five sacks and allowed just eight points and 94 yards in the second half as the Huskies were held to 293 yards.

“I keep saying it – we have a good football team”, Head Coach Charlie Strong said. “It’s all about them just playing with confidence, coming together and believing in themselves. I told them that we (had) some guys down, but the thing about it is other guys can step up.”

USF returns to Raymond James Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 12 to host BYU. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. and will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.





USF Homecoming Game vs. BYU Scheduled for 3:30 PM ET Kickoff in Tampa Oct. 12th

(Tampa, FL) USF football’s homecoming game against BYU on Saturday, Oct. 12 has been set for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff and will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

It will mark the first-ever meeting between the Bulls and Cougars in football and the second straight afternoon kickoff for the Bulls in Raymond James Stadium.

An FBS independent, BYU stands 2-3 on the season after a grueling early schedule that saw the Cougars post wins at Tennessee (29-26) and vs. No. 24 USC (30-27), and losses to No. 15 Utah (30-12), No. 21 Washington (45-19) and at Toledo (28-21) last Saturday. The Cougars have a bye week this week before coming to Tampa.

BYU has logged 577 wins in football since the program’s inception in 1922, including 23 conference titles, 36 bowl game appearances and one national title. The Oct. 12 meeting between USF and BYU will be the first of two, with USF traveling to Provo, Utah on Sept. 25, 2021.

USF (1-3; 0-1 American) will head to UConn (1-3; 0-1 American) Saturday for a noon kickoff at Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford.

SMU’s “Pony Express” Rolls Over USF 48-21 in AAC Conference Opener in Tampa Saturday

The “Pony Express” of the early 80’s came back to life as SMU delivered a 48-21 beating to the USF Bulls Saturday afternoon in Tampa. The Mustangs remained unbeaten at 5-0 while USF fell to 1-3 in what appears to be another lost season under head coach Charlie Strong.

Redshirt freshman Jordan McCloud earned his second straight start at quarterback for the Bulls, but was sacked six times in the first half and exited with a sprained wrist before USF saw its three-game winning streak in conference openers snapped.

After scoring 55 points before the bye week, USF couldn’t stay in a rhythm on offense while red-hot SMU jumped out to a 34-0 halftime lead.

Xavier Jones’ first of two first-half touchdown runs started the scoring for SMU with 9:58 remaining in the opening quarter before USF nearly evened things up on the next drive.

Senior back Jordan Cronkrite hauled in a 31-yard reception on third-and-14 at the USF 19. The 16-play, 77-yard drive was kept alive by McCloud’s 18-yard scramble to the SMU 17 on fourth-and-7, but the Bulls came away with no points after McCloud was intercepted in the end zone.

SMU scored touchdowns on five straight possessions as senior quarterback Shane Buechele was razor sharp completing his first 13 passes, throwing three touchdown passes and running for a 10-yard touchdown.

Former starting QB Blake Barnett started the second half leading the Bulls to back-to-back scoring drives by throwing a 13-yard touchdown pass to Miller with 10:40 remaining. Miller set up his first career touchdown catch with a career long 37-yard reception on the four-play, 83-yard drive that took just 1:12 off the clock.

USF extended its scoring streak to three straight drives with Barnett’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Wilcox with 2:57 remaining. Wilcox also had a 20-yard catch on the five-play, 82-yard drive that started with a career long 30-yard reception by Mathis.

USF had won its past three conference openers before dropping its first AAC game in a season for the first time since 2015.

“It’s one of those games, and I just told our players, we will get it corrected because we’re better than that”, said head coach Charlie Strong after the loss. “We know this, it can be fixed and we’ve just got to go to work. I told our coaches that’s on us. We cannot allow our team to go out and we can’t fall behind, 34-0. We’re not good enough to get caught back up.”

USF continues conference play at UConn on Saturday, Oct. 5. Kickoff is set for noon ET, moved up from its original 7PM start as a safety precaution after receiving guidance from the Connecticut Department of Public Health as it relates to the mosquito-borne eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus.

The Bulls return to Raymond James Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 12 to host BYU (time TBA).