Tag Archives: Charlie Strong

USF Bulls Set to Begin Spring Practice Tuesday March 19th

(Tampa, FL) The USF Bulls football team will return to the field on Tuesday, March 19 for the first of 15 spring practices to prepare for their third season under head coach Charlie Strong.

Strong announced one of those spring practices will be held on location at Clearwater Central Catholic High School on Saturday, April 6 and will be open to the public. The open practice is scheduled from 10:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

The USF Spring Game presented by USF Federal Credit Union will once again return to Corbett Stadium on the USF campus on Saturday, April 13 with a 1 p.m. kickoff. The spring game, which has drawn capacity crowds the past four seasons to Corbett Stadium, is free to the public and will cap off a day of entertainment on campus that begins with a street festival starting at 11 a.m. outside the stadium.

The 2019 Bulls return 16 starters (9 offense, 5 defense, 2 specialists) from a 2018 squad that reached the program’s fourth straight bowl game. USF will feature a new offensive coordinator in Kerwin Bell, who led Valdosta State to an NCAA Division II national championship with the nation’s top scoring offense (52.0 ppg) last year.

Bell will take the reins of an offense that returns starting quarterback Blake Barnett (2,710 passing yards), first team all-conference tight end Mitchell Wilcox (540 receiving yards), tailbacks Jordan Cronkrite (1,121 rushing yards) and Johnny Ford (787 rushing yards), leading receiver Randall St. Felix (679 receiving yards) and all five starters along the offensive line from the Gasparilla Bowl.

USF’s defensive returners are led by second-leading tackler Greg Reaves (89 tackles), who is expected to return to his defensive end position after starting the final seven games of 2018 at linebacker. Honorable mention all-conference cornerback Mike Hampton returns after posting the second-most pass defenses (18) in program history, as do safety Nick Roberts, who led the team with three interceptions and was fourth with 72 tackles, and defensive end Kirk Livingstone, who tied for the team lead with 10 tackles for loss and was fifth with 56 tackles.

USF will play seven games in Raymond James Stadium during the 2019 season, highlighted by visits from preseason top 25-ranked Wisconsin to open the season (Aug. 30) and BYU (Oct. 12) in the non-conference slate and three straight November home games vs. conference contenders Temple (Nov. 7), Cincinnati (Nov. 16) and Memphis (Nov. 23).





USF Bulls Spring Football Game Set for Saturday April 13

(Tampa, FL) The USF Bulls Spring Football Game will once again return to Corbett Stadium on the USF campus on Saturday, April 13 with a 1 p.m. kickoff.

The spring game is free to the public and will cap off a day of entertainment on campus that begins with a street festival starting at 11AM outside the stadium. Normal pregame tailgating activities will be allowed in campus lots. Fans are also encouraged to bring blankets and utilize seating areas on the grass berms surrounding the playing surface as a large crowd is expected.

Fans will get their first look at a 2019 Bulls team that returns 16 starters. USF’s third season under head coach Charlie Strong will feature a new offensive coordinator in Kerwin Bell, who led Valdosta State to an NCAA Division II national championship with the nation’s top scoring offense (52.0 ppg) last year.

Bell will take the reins of an offense that returns starting quarterback Blake Barnett (2,710 passing yards), first team all-conference tight end Mitchell Wilcox (540 receiving yards), tailbacks Jordan Cronkrite (1,121 rushing yards) and Johnny Ford (787 rushing yards), leading receiver Randall St. Felix (679 receiving yards) and all five starters along the offensive line.

The defensive returners are led by second-leading tackler Greg Reaves (89 tackles), who is expected to return to his defensive end position after starting the final seven games of 2018 at linebacker. Honorable mention all-conference cornerback Mike Hampton returns after posting the second-most pass defenses (18) in program history, as do safety Nick Roberts, who led the team with three interceptions and was fourth with 72 tackles, and defensive end Kirk Livingstone, who tied for the team lead with 10 tackles for loss and was fifth with 56 tackles.

The Bulls will take the field for the first of 15 spring practices on March 19 and will practice for four weeks leading up to the spring game.

USF will play seven games in Raymond James Stadium during the 2019 season, highlighted by visits from preseason top 25-ranked Wisconsin to open the season (Aug. 30) and BYU (Oct. 12) in the non-conference slate and three straight November home games vs. conference contenders Temple (Nov. 7), Cincinnati (Nov. 16) and Memphis (Nov. 23).





Charlie Strong Completes USF Football Coaching Staff Revamp for 2019 Season

(Tampa, FL) University of South Florida Head Football Coach Charlie Strong has completed the Bulls’ coaching staff, officially adding one offensive coach and three defensive coaches to the staff for his third season at the helm.

On the offensive side of the ball, Strong announced the addition of Jeremy Darveau as offensive line coach. Darveau rejoins new Bulls offensive coordinator Kerwin Bell as the pair helped lead Valdosta State to an NCAA Division II national championship with the highest scoring offense (52.0 ppg) in the division last season. Also joining USF from the Valdosta staff are Kade Bell and Andrew Robustelli, who were both standouts playing under Bell at Jacksonville University and will serve as quality control analysts for the offense at USF.

On the defensive side of the ball, Strong announced the promotion of Bryan Hill to safeties coach. Hill served the last two seasons on the USF staff in a quality control position for the defense. Strong also announced the addition of Steve Ellis as defensive backs coach and Paul Spicer as defensive line coach as well as a positional change for current assistant coach Sean Cronin, who will now coach outside linebackers. Ellis joins the USF program from Middle Tennessee State, where he served as cornerbacks coach/recruiting coordinator last season and previously served as co-defensive coordinator. Spicer joins USF from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he served as assistant defensive line coach for the last four seasons.

Strong also announced the promotion of Albert Boone to director of football operations, replacing Clifford Snow, who departed to pursue opportunities outside of football. Boone had previously served as director of on campus recruiting.

“I feel very good about our coaching staff and the energy and ability they will bring to our program as we head into the 2019 season,” Strong said. “I expect our new coaches will connect very quickly and very well with our players, bring their own perspectives and ideas and will help us excel on the field and in recruiting. We are very excited for this upcoming season and are going to work.”





USF Bulls 2019 Football Schedule Released

(Tampa, FL) The USF football team will open its third season under head coach Charlie Strong with a primetime clash vs. Wisconsin on Friday, Aug. 30 nationally televised on an ESPN network from Raymond James Stadium. The American Athletic Conference announced the 2019 schedules for all 12 conference teams on Thursday.

The clash with the Badgers, No. 17 in the CBS Sports Way-too-early Top 25 rankings for 2019, moving to Friday night of Labor Day weekend was among the highlights of a 2019 schedule that will see the Bulls play seven games in Raymond James Stadium, including five against opponents that played in bowl games last season.

The Bulls’ conference slate is highlighted by three straight November home clashes with conference title contenders Temple (2018 East Division runner-up), Cincinnati (2018 East Division third place) and Memphis (back-to-back West Division winner) before the regular season finale in the War on I-4 in Orlando. Kickoff times and remaining television designations will be announced at a later date.

The Bulls will open their 23rd season of football with their biggest season opener since winning on the road at No. 16 Notre Dame (23-20) to open the 2011 campaign. The Wisconsin game, which was originally slated for an Aug. 31 kick, will pit the Bulls against a Badger program coming off its 17th straight bowl appearance and returning Doak Walker Award winner Jonathan Taylor, who ran for 2,194 yards last season. Wisconsin appears in multiple preseason Top 25 polls after an 8-5 season capped by a 35-3 victory over Miami in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. The Badgers won the first meeting with USF, 27-10, in 2014 in Madison, Wisc.

USF will travel to Georgia Tech on Sat., Sept. 7 for the second meeting between the schools. The Bulls used 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to post a 49-38 comeback win vs. Tech in Tampa last year. The Bulls return home on Sat., Sept. 14 to face South Carolina State and get the first of two byes on the season the following week before opening conference play in Raymond James Stadium on Sat., Sept. 28 vs. SMU. The Bulls own a 3-1 record vs. the Mustangs and it will be the first meeting since a 35-27 victory in Dallas in 2016.

USF will hit the road to face UConn on Sat., Oct. 5. The Bulls own an 11-5 record vs. the Huskies and have won the last seven meetings. USF will wrap up its non-conference slate vs. BYU on Sat., Oct. 12. It will be the first meeting with the Cougars, who posted a 7-6 mark and defeated Western Michigan in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl last season.

USF returns to conference action with back-to-back road games. The Bulls will travel to Navy on Sat., Oct. 19 for a game televised on CBS Sports Network and then head to ECU on Sat. Oct. 26 as conference play heats up.

USF will get its second bye of the season before a strong closing slate against teams that posted a combined conference record of 26-6 last year. The Bulls will get the first three of those games at home starting with a Thurs., Nov. 7 primetime game vs. Temple on ESPN. USF fell to 2-3 vs. the Owls after a 27-17 loss in Philadelphia last year as Temple went 7-1 in the conference and finished second in the East Division. The Bulls beat Temple, 43-7, in 2017 in a Thursday primetime clash in Raymond James Stadium.

Cincinnati comes to Tampa on Sat., Nov. 16 followed by a visit by defending West Division champion Memphis on Sat., Nov. 23. The Bearcats posted an 11-2 record last season, including a 35-23 victory over USF in Cincinnati to take a 9-7 lead in the series and end a string of three straight USF wins. Memphis posted an 8-6 record last season and fell in the conference championship game for the second straight year. The Tigers lead the series with USF, 5-4, but the Bulls posted a 49-42 victory in Memphis in the last meeting in 2016.

The Bulls close out the 2019 regular season with the traditional Friday clash with UCF. The 11th installment of the War on I-4 is set for Fri., Nov. 29 in Orlando and will be broadcast on an ESPN Network to be designated later. USF leads the series, 6-4, but will look to end a string of two straight wins by the Knights, who claimed a 38-10 victory in Tampa last year and won an epic 49-42 game in the last meeting in Orlando in 2017.

The American Athletic Conference Football Championship Game will be played on Saturday, Dec. 7 at the home site of the division winner with the better conference record.





Former Gators QB Kerwin Bell Named Bulls Offensive Coordinator & Quarterbacks Coach

(Information provided by the USF Athletic Department)

(Tampa, FL) Fresh from leading Valdosta State to the 2018 NCAA Division II championship with the nation’s No. 1 ranked scoring offense in the division (52.0 ppg), Florida native Kerwin Bell has been named the Bulls’ offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, USF Head Coach Charlie Strong announced Thursday.

Bell, a former standout quarterback and SEC Player of the Year at the University of Florida (1984-87), comes to USF after 12 seasons as a successful head coach leading programs at Valdosta State (2016-18) and Jacksonville University (2007-15) and a 14-year playing career in professional football, which included stops with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1989) and Miami Dolphins (1988).

“I have known Kerwin for more than 30 years and have a great deal of respect for what he has done in his career both as a player and coach and the success of the football programs he has led,” Strong said. “He has directed some very explosive, high-scoring offenses and consistently puts his players in position to reach their highest potential. We are very excited to have Kerwin joining our staff.”

Strong and Bell were first part of the same program during the 1983-84 seasons at Florida, where Strong was serving in his first coaching position as a graduate assistant and Bell was a walk-on quarterback. Bell, a native of Mayo, Fla., earned the Gators’ starting quarterback job as a redshirt freshman in 1984 and went on to earn SEC Player of the Year honors after leading the Gators to a 9-1-1 record, SEC championship and top five national ranking.

Bell most recently served three seasons as the head coach at Valdosta State (2016-18) where he guided the offense and led the Blazers to a 27-7 record, a school-record 15 straight victories, two Division II playoff appearances and conference and national championships in 2018. He was named the 2018 Gulf South Conference Co-Coach of the Year after leading VSU to a 14-0 record (the first unbeaten season in program history) and a 49-47 victory over Ferris State in the Division II National Championship game, the program’s first title since 2012.

Bell’s 2018 offense led the nation in scoring (52.0 ppg), ranked second in first downs (341) and was fourth in total offense (523.9 ypg), red-zone offense (.901) and pass efficiency (167.37).
Bell led VSU to runner-up conference finishes in his first two years guiding the program and went 8-3 with a playoff appearance in his first season at the helm in 2016 as the Blazers led the nation with 27 interceptions.

Prior to VSU, Bell led Jacksonville University for nine seasons, guiding the Football Championship Series program to a 66-35 record and three Pioneer Football League championships. Also serving as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Bell was named the 2008 PFL Coach of the Year and an Eddie Robinson Award finalist after leading the Dolphins to a 9-4 record and conference title.

Prior to taking over the Jacksonville program, Bell led Trinity Catholic High School in Ocala, Fla, for six seasons (2001-06), earning a Florida 2B state title in 2005 and runner-up finish in 2006.

Bell was selected in the seventh round of the 1988 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins, beginning a 14-year professional career that saw stops with the NFL teams in Miami, Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Indianapolis as well as stops in the Canadian Football League (where he passed for 19,538 yards and 101 touchdowns in nine seasons) and the World League of American Football.

Bell earned a degree in psychology from the University of Florida in 1987. After beginning his career at UF as a walk-on, he was inducted into the University of Florida Athletics Hall of Fame in 1997 following a four-year career (1984-87) that saw him pass for 7,585 yards and 56 touchdowns. He was ranked the No. 26 greatest Gator of all-time from the first 100 years of UF football in 2006 by The Gainesville Sun.





Marshall Hands USF 6th Straight Loss with 38-20 Win at The Gasparilla Bowl In Tampa

(Tampa, FL) Most Valuable Player Keion Davis rushed for a game-high 94 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead the Marshall Thundering Herd (9-4, 6-2 C-USA) to a 38-20 victory over the USF Bulls (7-6, 3-4 AAC) in the 11th annual Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl at Raymond James Stadium before an announced crowd of 14,135. USF completes a disappointing season with 6 straight losses after going 7-0.

Davis did almost all of his damage in the second half, picking up 82 of his 94 yards on just nine carries. His 16-yard touchdown run with 6:24 left in the fourth quarter gave the Herd its final 18-point margin and secured Marshall’s record third win in three Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl appearances. Marshall also won in 2011 (20-10 over FIU) and in 2015 (16-10 over UConn).

Marshall never trailed, jumping out to a 14-0 lead less than 11 minutes into the game on the strength of short scoring runs by quarterback Isaiah Green and running back Anthony Anderson. Green’s score capped a seven-play, 81-yard drive and Anderson’s plunge followed a fumble recovery and return of 29 yards to the USF 1-yard line by Marshall’s Darius Hodge.

USF cut the lead in half at the 2:43 mark of the second quarter thanks to a 38-yard scoring pass from slotback/wildcat Tyre McCants who found Randall St. Felix open in the end zone.
The Bulls were unable to get any closer in the game as Marshall extended its lead to 28-7 late in the second quarter and carried a 28-10 lead into halftime.

St. Felix highlighted the USF offensive effort collecting a Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl-record 165 receiving yards on just six catches. St. Felix added his second touchdown reception of the night on a 33-yard connection with quarterback Blake Barnett late in the third quarter which narrowed Marshall’s lead to 31-20.

Marshall’s balanced offensive attack finished with 503 total yards — 282 rushing and 221 passing. The Herd’s defense limited USF to 360 total yards and just 92 on the ground. Marshall did not allow an opposing rusher to reach 100 yards in any game during the 2018 season and the streak now has reached 14 games.





USF Bulls Football Program Signs 19 on First Day of Early Signing Period

(Tampa, FL) The University of South Florida football program welcomed 19 new student-athletes during the first day of the NCAA Early Signing Period, which began Wednesday and ends Friday.

Head Coach Charlie Strong and the Bulls were preparing for USF’s fourth straight bowl appearance as the early signing period began. USF takes on Marshall Thursday in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl, set for an 8 p.m. kickoff at Raymond James Stadium before a national TV audience on ESPN.

On Wednesday, the first of three days in the early signing period, USF received National Letters of Intent from 19 student-athletes that will don the green and gold. Fifteen of the new Bulls hail from the state of Florida, while three are from Georgia and one is from Virginia.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Bulls added 10 players, including a pair of junior college players. Four of the signees play in the secondary, including junior college cornerback McArthur Burnett (Pahokee/Coffeyville CC), who began his career at Florida playing is six games as a redshirt freshman in 2017. He is joined by cornerbacks Jayden Curry (Virginia Beach, Va./IMG Academy) and Daquan Evans (Orlando/Jones HS) and safety Leonard Parker (Tampa/Plant HS).

The Bulls added three players along the defensive line, including junior college defensive end Tyrik Jones (Plantation/Arizona Western CC). He is joined by defensive ends Thomas Nance (Eagle Lake/Lake Region HS) and Jason Vaughn (Auburndale/Advance Prep).

The Bulls also added three linebackers in Demaurez Bellamy (Deland/Deland HS), Tae’Aviion Gray (Quitman, Ga./Brook County HS) and Darius Williams (Miami/Norland HS), who tallied 58 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and six sacks in his senior season.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Bulls added nine players, including quarterback Jahquez Evans (Atlanta/Mays HS), a Georgia 6A All-State first team selection who threw for 928 yards and 10 touchdowns and ran for 365 yards and four touchdowns in six games in his senior year.

The Bulls added four offensive linemen in Joshua Blanchard (Miami/Norland HS), Raymond Collins (Largo/Largo HS), Dustyn Hall (Punta Gorda/Charlotte HS) and Matthew McDuffie (Glen Saint Mary/Baker County HS).

USF also added a running back in Josh Berry (Davenport/Ridge Community HS) and three wide receivers, including 6-4 Logan Berryhill (Kingsland, Ga./Camden County HS), 6-1 Xavier Weaver (Orlando/Orland Christian Prep), who posted 110 catches, 2,124 yards and 32 touchdowns on his career, and Groveland, Fla. speedster Kelley Joiner Jr. (South Lake HS), who tallied 4,525 career yards and 55 touchdowns rushing.





UCF Routs USF 38-10 in War on I-4, Loses QB McKenzie Milton to Devasting Leg Injury

(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.





Temple Scores 27 Unanswered Points to Defeat USF Bulls 27-17 Saturday

(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.





USF Bulls Drop Third Straight Losing to Cincinnati 35-23 Saturday Night

(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).