Tag Archives: Raymond James Stadium

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).





USF Bulls Add FAMU and Bethune-Cookman to Future Home Football Schedule

(Tampa, FL) USF Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly announced the addition of five home games to the Bulls’ future football schedules as USF inked agreements for three visits from Florida A&M and a pair of visits from Bethune-Cookman to Raymond James Stadium.

The addition of the home series with the in-state programs leaves USF with just two non-conference dates remaining to be filled through the 2027 season, with one date remaining to be filled in each of the 2022 and 2023 seasons.

“We are excited to add five home games vs. a pair of in-state programs and to be able to continue to build and highlight the great tradition of college football in the state of Florida,” Kelly said. “Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman both have deep traditions and passionate fan bases and we look forward to a great atmosphere in Raymond James Stadium for these games.”

The Bulls will renew the series with FAMU starting on Sept. 18, 2021 and the Rattlers will also visit Tampa on Sept. 23, 2023 and Sept. 18, 2027. USF leads the series with FAMU, 3-0, and posted a 51-3 victory in the last meeting in 2015.

The Bulls will meet Bethune-Cookman for the first time ever on Sept. 12, 2020 and the Wildcats will return to Tampa on Sept. 26, 2026.

Both programs will travel their notable marching bands to perform at the contests in Raymond James Stadium.

The Bulls have scheduled 17 non-conference games vs. Power 6 opponents over the next 10 seasons, including three-game series with Alabama, Florida and Miami, as well as home-and-home series vs. Boise State (2025 & 2027) and BYU (2019 & 2021). The 17 contests vs. Power 6 opponents are tied for the most among American Athletic Conference teams. The Bulls have at least one Power 6 non-conference opponent scheduled in each of the next 10 seasons and two or more in seven of those seasons.

Six future non-conference opponents can claim a national championship and the Bulls will be facing programs during that span that claim a total of 34 national championships. Six future non-conference opponents in the next 10 seasons rank among the top 25 all-time in Associated Press Top 25 Poll appearances.

The Bulls will play nine games vs. ACC opponents and six vs. SEC foes in the coming years. Future ACC opponents include Georgia Tech (2019), Louisville (2022, 2024 & 2026), Miami (2025, 2027 & 2028) and NC State (2021 & 2024). Future SEC opponents include dates vs. Alabama (2023, 2024 & 2026) and Florida (2022, 2023 & 2025). The Bulls will also face Big 12 opponent Texas (2020) and Big Ten foe Wisconsin (2019).

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.





Iowa Defeats Mississippi State 27-22 in the Outback Bowl

(Tampa, FL) Safety Jake Gervase made an interception in the end zone to help preserve a late lead, and ball-hawking Iowa Hawkeyes beat No. 18 Mississippi State in the Outback Bowl 27-22 Tuesday.

Gervase also batted down an errant fourth-down pass to end the Bulldogs’ final drive at the Iowa 32 with 25 seconds left. Two earlier Mississippi State threats in the fourth quarter led to only three points.

The Hawkeyes totaled just 199 yards, with 75 coming on a touchdown pass from Nathan Stanley to Nick Easley, but they converted three takeaways into 17 points.

Stanley threw for 214 yards and three scores. The Hawkeyes won despite netting minus 15 yards rushing, and their three running backs totaled 4 yards in 15 carries.

Iowa (9-4) earned its biggest postseason victory since an Orange Bowl win over Georgia Tech to cap the 2009 season. Mississippi State (8-5) lost to a team outside the top 15 for the first time.

Trailing 24-19, the Bulldogs had a first down at the Iowa 1 early in the fourth quarter, but three quarterback draws lost 2 yards and they settled for a field goal.

They were again on the verge of taking the lead with nine minutes left, but receiver Stephen Guidry bobbled a pass in the end zone, and Gervase snatched it away. The Hawkeyes then drove 50 yards for a field goal to go up 27-22.

The Hawkeyes scored two touchdowns in 97 seconds for a 17-6 lead. The Bulldogs rallied with two touchdowns in 18 seconds to go up 19-17, with quarterback Nick Fitzgerald giving them the advantage on a nifty 33-yard touchdown run — his 100th career score rushing or passing.

But on their next possession, Fitzgerald’s tipped pass was intercepted by defensive lineman Chauncey Golston. Stanley then scrambled to convert a fourth and 1, and on the next play he hit Easley to put Iowa ahead to stay, 24-19.

The Hawkeyes won because they kept the game close early despite a slow start. They trailed only 6-0 after one quarter even though they had minus 8 yards and a 12-yard punt.

Mississippi State tried some trickery in the first quarter by throwing down the middle to quarterback Keytaon Thompson, but he dropped a potential touchdown pass and the Bulldogs settled for a field goal.

The Bulldogs had 90 yards in penalties while Iowa had none. Targeting and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on Mississippi State jump-started the Hawkeyes’ offense and led to a field goal for their first score. A 51-yard completion for the Bulldogs was negated by a holding penalty.

The Bulldogs, who allowed only 12 touchdowns in the regular season, gave up two in quick succession in the second quarter.

First Easley slipped several yards behind the secondary to catch Stanley’s long throw in stride. The touchdown pass was the 50th of Stanley’s career — and his longest. It was the longest play allowed by the Bulldogs this season.

Two snaps later, A.J. Epenesa’s strip sack of Fitzgerald gave the Hawkeyes the ball at the 13, and they scored on Ihmir Smith-Marsette’s touchdown catch for a 17-6 lead. The fumble lost was Fitzgerald’s first in 511 carries.

Iowa will likely finish in the Top 25 for only the second time in the past nine seasons. Coach Kirk Ferentz concluded his 20th season at Iowa and improved to 152-101, including 8-8 in bowl games.

The down-to-the-wire finish was a rarity for the Bulldogs, who had only one other game decided by fewer than 14 points.

Stanley will be a third-year starter returning to lead the 2019 Hawkeyes, who also will have their top three rushers back. They open the season Aug. 31 at home against Miami (Ohio).

With fifth-year senior Fitzgerald departing, the Bulldogs will have a new starting quarterback — possibly Thompson — when they open the 2019 season Aug. 31 in New Orleans against Louisiana.





USF-Florida Football Series Start Moved Up to 2021 in Tampa

(Tampa, FL) USF’s football series with the Florida Gators will begin one-year earlier than previously scheduled and now open in Tampa, USF Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly announced on Thursday. Kelly also announced the addition of a seventh home opponent to the Bulls’ 2019 slate.

“The University of Florida has been great working with us on this series and we appreciate being able to make adjustments that work best for both programs,” Kelly said. “We are excited to get the Gators in Tampa two years earlier than originally scheduled and to add to our 2021 non-conference schedule that also includes games at N.C. State and BYU.”

The Bulls’ three-game series vs. Florida, previously slated to begin in 2022 in Gainesville, will now get underway on Sept. 11, 2021 with a clash in Raymond James Stadium. The Gators first visit to face USF in Tampa had previously been scheduled for the 2023 season.

The Bulls will complete the series with the Gators with two previously announced games in Gainesville on Sept. 17, 2022 and Sept. 6, 2025.

Kelly also announced the addition of a game vs. South Carolina State to the Bulls’ 2019 home schedule, bringing the home slate to seven games. The Sept. 14 game vs. the Bulldogs in Raymond James Stadium completes USF’s 2019 non-conference schedule, which also includes home games in the season-opener on Aug. 31 vs. Wisconsin and on Oct. 12 vs. BYU as well as a Sept. 7 road date at Georgia Tech.

The Bulls also have future non-conference series vs. Power 6 opponents scheduled against Texas (2020, 2022, 2024), N.C. State (2021 & 2024) and Louisville (2022, 2024 & 2026), with all making visits to Raymond James Stadium.





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.





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 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