Tag Archives: College Football

Outback Bowl Matchup: Iowa vs. Mississippi State January 1 in Tampa

(Tampa, FL) The Iowa Hawkeyes and No. 18 Mississippi State Bulldogs will square-off for the first time in the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day in Tampa, bowl officials announced Sunday. Both teams are 8-4. It will be the first time these teams have played in 119+ seasons of their football history. It will also be the first appearance by Mississippi State in the Outback Bowl.

“We are thrilled to extend an invitation to Iowa and Mississippi State to play in this year’s Outback Bowl,” said Outback Bowl Chairman Todd Timmerman. “These are two quality teams that should produce a terrific match-up that fans are really going to enjoy watching on New Year’s Day. We look forward to hosting the Hawkeye and Bulldog teams and their fans, and ensure them they will have an amazing experience in the Tampa Bay area.”

“I am thrilled for our team and our tremendous group of seniors who have earned the opportunity to go out with a New Year’s Day bowl in the state of Florida,” MSU head coach Joe Moorhead said. “The Outback Bowl is the perfect destination for our team. I have always had tremendous respect for Coach Ferentz and his Iowa teams.”

“We are excited to accept a bid to our first Outback Bowl to cap off Joe Moorhead’s successful first season as our head football coach,” MSU Director of Athletics John Cohen said. “I want to congratulate our team and our coaching staff for earning our program’s ninth straight bowl appearance. This team featured college football’s best defense and demonstrated overall improvement throughout the year, as shown by winning four of its last five games, including a dominant win in a rivalry game to finish the regular season. Tampa is a great city, with an endless number of entertainment opportunities for our fans, and we always look forward to playing in an NFL stadium. I encourage our Bulldog family to pack Raymond James Stadium and send our senior class out the right way.”

“Our football team, coaches, and staff are excited to be invited to the 2019 Outback Bowl,” said Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz. “We know we will enjoy outstanding hospitality, and we know we will face a quality opponent from the SEC. This is a great reward for how hard our players have worked and the success they have enjoyed this season.”

The Outback Bowl will be played on January 1st at 12:00 PM ET at Raymond James Stadium.

For information on Outback Bowl events leading up to the game go to the bowl web site at www.outbackbowl.com.





USF Bulls to Play Marshall in Gasparilla Bowl in Tampa December 20th

(Tampa, FL) The Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl will feature USF (7-5, 3-5) from the American Athletic Conference and Marshall (8-4, 6-2) from Conference USA, as both teams have accepted invitations to play in this year’s game.

The 11th edition of the bowl game will be played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Thursday, Dec. 20, at 8 p.m. ET and air on ESPN.

USF, which started the season 7-0 and earned a top 20 ranking, will be appearing in its hometown bowl for the second time. The Bulls played in the inaugural bowl game in 2008 as the Big East Conference representative and defeated Memphis 41-14. USF head coach Charlie Strong is also making his second trip to the bowl game. Strong was a rookie head coach at Louisville in 2010 and capped off his first year leading the Cardinals to a 31-28 win over Southern Mississippi.

“We are excited for the opportunity to compete in a bowl game against a good opponent and the chance to send our seniors out with a third straight bowl win,” Strong said. “We look forward to some good practices and work with our team to prepare for the game. Our players will enjoy the activities and bowl experience here in the Bay Area and they are excited to get back out on the field and perform in front of our fans.”

Marshall will be making its third appearance at the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. The Thundering Herd defeated UConn 16-10 in 2015 and FIU 20-10 in 2011. Marshall finished the season winning three of its last four games.

“Any opportunity to play in a bowl game is great,” said Marshall head coach Doc Holliday. “The state of Florida has been good to our program for several years now and we’re excited to get back down to the Tampa area. We will face a very good South Florida team and a head coach that I know well in Charlie Strong.”

“We’re expecting lots of green clad fans at Raymond James Stadium,” said Brett Dulaney, Executive Director of the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. “We hope USF fans will be excited with the opportunity to stay at home to see their team in a bowl and Marshall has been well represented by their fan base both times they’ve been here.”

The Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl is owned-and-operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN.

While the game is the headliner event, the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl activities start a few days prior. This year the teams, their alumni and students will start arriving in Tampa on Sunday, Dec., 16, for the numerous bowl-related festivities leading up to kick-off. These events, which are free and open to the public, include the Beach Invasion (Dec. 16 – Treasure Island Park), Battle of the Bands (Dec. 18 – Treasure Island Park), Pep Rally (Dec. 19 – Armature Works) and the Fan Invasion (Dec. 20 – Raymond James Stadium).

For more information on the 2018 Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl game and the numerous events, visit www.gasparillabowl.com. Additionally, follow the bowl on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@GasparillaBowl).





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).





Upper Deck Seats Released for USF vs. UCF Game in Tampa

(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.





USF Bulls Face Must Win Scenario in Next Two Road Games To Keep AAC Conference Championship Hopes Alive

(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





Bulls Conference Hopes Washed Away by Tulane’s Green Wave 41-15 in Tampa Saturday Night

(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).





USF Bulls Look to Rebound Saturday Against Tulane in Tampa

(Tampa, FL) Following its first loss since November of 2017, the Bulls return to Raymond James Stadium, where they have won 20 of their last 23 games, to face Tulane for the second time in program history. The Bulls won the first meeting, 34-28, last year in New Orleans in a game that saw a combined 920 yards of offense. The last time the Bulls lost back-to-back games was four seasons ago, losing three straight in September of 2015 to No. 8 Florida State, Maryland and Memphis (also the last time the Bulls lost more than one game in the same month). The Bulls have not lost back-to-back conference games since the last two games of 2014, falling to Memphis and UCF.

USF running backs coach Shaun King is one of the all-time greats in Tulane football history and was inducted into their Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004. A four-year starter at QB, he led the Green Wave to a 12-0 record in 1998 and finished 10th in Heisman Trophy voting. The school honored the 20th anniversary of that unbeaten team, which finished the season ranked No. 7 nationally, this past September. King played with a broken left wrist in a soft cast during that season and the Green Wave defeated BYU, 41-27, in the Liberty Bowl on New Year’s Eve. King was the first player in NCAA history to throw for 3,000+ and run for 500+ in the same season.

USF is one of 18 teams nationally with one loss or less on the year. Four of those teams reside in The American, tied with the SEC for the most nationally. USF plays the other three (Houston, Cincinnati & UCF) among its last five games.

USF has won 20 of its last 23 home games, with 15 wins coming by two touchdowns or more.

Jordan Cronkrite enters Saturday’s game needing just 67 yards to post the ninth 1,000-yard rushing season in program history and become the fifth USF player to achieve the mark.

Saturday will be USF’s annual Salute to Service game with the Bulls wearing helmet decals to honor those that have served in the nation’s armed forces and first responders. The pregame coin toss will be conducted by U.S. Navy Lieutenant Dennis Kelly (retired), a Vietnam veteran and father of USF Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly. The “Hero of the Game” will be Major Sergeant Marty Davenport, U.S. Marine Corps (retired), one of the last soldiers to leave Vietnam during the fall of Saigon.

Blake Barnett enters Saturday’s game with 2,078 passing yards and ranked 22nd nationally passing for 259.8 ypg. Barnett is well on pace to set a USF passing record and post the first 3,000-yard passing season in program history. The season passing mark is currently held by Quinton Flowers (2017) and Matt Grothe (2008) at 2,911 yards. Barnett has passed for 200-plus yards in 7-of-8 games on the year and is on pace to challenge the season record for 200-yard passing games set by Marquel Blackwell with 10 in 2001.

Barnett is completing 62.7 percent of his passes. The season completion percentage record is 63.7 percent posted by Matt Grothe in 2006.

Barnett has 160 completions and is averaging 20 per game. That puts him on pass to challenge the season pass completions record of 258 set by Marquel Blackwell in 2001.

USF is riding a program record-tying string of six straight games with a 100-yard rusher, equaling the mark set in 2016 by a combination of Quinton Flowers, Marlon Mack and Darius Tice.

USF ranks 6th nationally averaging 6.0 yards per rushing attempt, an improvement over last season’s 5.2 ypa, and is averaging 6.4 ypa over the last three games.

After averaging 174 ypg on the ground in the first four games of 2018, with a high of 215, the Bulls are averaging 291 ypg on the ground over the last four games, rushing for 250-plus in every game, and now rank 16th nationally in rushing (233.4 ypg).

The Bulls have posted six straight games with a 100-yard rusher, with Jordan Cronkrite posting a string of five straight that ended at Houston and Johnny Ford riding a current string of two straight.

Game broadcast information:

TV: CBS Sports Network
• Play-by-Play: Dave Ryan
• Analyst: Corey Chavous
• Sideline Reporter: –

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





USF Bulls Undefeated Run Ends in Houston Saturday

(Houston, TX) Freshman Johnny Ford registered his second straight 100-yard rushing game as USF’s undefeated run came to an end with a 57-36 loss at Houston on Saturday.

USF (7-1, 3-1 in AAC) entered the weekend as one of five remaining unbeaten FBS teams and fell for the first time since Nov. 24, 2017.

Ford rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries to help the Bulls run for at least 200 yards for the sixth time this season. Ford found the end zone twice during USF’s 21-point second quarter that started with a 1-yard touchdown run by Jordan Cronkrite. Seeking his sixth straight 100-yard game, Cronkrite finished with 73 rushing yards and needs 67 more yards to post USF’s ninth 1,000-yard season.

Quarterback Blake Barnett completed 26 of 39 passes for 263 yards. Barnett’s 39-yard touchdown pass to Deangelo Antoine made it a one-score game late in the third quarter, but the Bulls couldn’t put together their fourth double-digit fourth quarter comeback of the season.

Two of the nation’s top offenses took turns making plays during Saturday’s first half that saw Houston (7-1, 4-0 in AAC) take a 28-21 lead and USF rush for 176 yards. The Bulls scored 21 points in the second quarter with two touchdown runs by Ford in the period.

Scoring on its first two possessions, Houston jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first six minutes before USF tied things up with two touchdowns 13 seconds apart in the second quarter.

The Bulls cut their deficit in half with a 15-play, 79-yard touchdown drive that was capped by Cronkrite’s 1-yard run with 10:33 left in the half. Just two plays later, Ford sprinted to the end zone on a 32-yard touchdown run that tied the game at 14-14. The score was set-up by redshirt freshman safety Mekhi LaPointe’s first-career interception.

USF tied things back up at 21-21 after Antoine’s backside block helped Ford zoom around the Houston defense on a 17-yard touchdown run with 3:50 remaining in the half. Ford was well on his way to his second straight 100-yard rushing game with 85 yards on 10 carries in the first two quarters.

Key plays on defense and special teams helped the Bulls pull within two points of Houston in the first five minutes of the third quarter.

After Trent Schneider’s 62-yard punt to the Houston 1, defensive pressure in the end zone led to a safety on an intentional grounding call. Bentlee Sanders’ 41-yard return on the ensuing punt helped set up a 23-yard field goal by Coby Weiss with 10:47 to go in the third quarter.

Trailing 43-29, USF got back within a score of Houston on Barnett’s 39-yard touchdown pass to Antoine with 36 seconds left in the third quarter.

USF couldn’t manage to mount its fourth double-digit, fourth quarter comeback of the season despite finishing with at least 30 points for the 32nd time in the past 36 games dating back to 2015.

Greg Reaves led USF defensively with a career-high 12 tackles in his second straight start at middle linebacker. Senior linebacker Khalid McGee (Miami) finished with 10 tackles in his third double-digit effort of the season.

USF was looking to extend the program’s best-ever start to a season. The Bulls started the past two seasons at 7-0 and entered Saturday’s game as one of only five remaining FBS teams.

USF is now 35-7 (83.3 %) over its past 42 games. USF entered Saturday tied with Oklahoma (35-6) and Ohio State and bettered only by Alabama and Clemson for the best record in a team’s past 41 games.

USF has scored at least 20 points in 38 straight games, the longest streak in the nation. USF has scored at least 30 points 32 of its past 36 games dating back to the 2015 season.

USF returns to Raymond James Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 3 to host Tulane. The Bulls’ Salute to Service game is set for 3:30 p.m. and will be televised on CBS Sports Network.