(Tampa, FL) USF’s woes continued before a sparse crowd at Raymond James Stadium dropping a 17-7 decision to Temple. The Bulls gave up 9 sacks and committed some bad penalties in crucial moments to drop their record 4-5 and 2-3 in the American Athletic Conference.
USF kept Temple (6-3, 3-2) scoreless for most of the first half and totaled its 21st takeaway of the season with an interception by Bentlee Sanders on the opening drive of the third quarter with the Owls clinging to a 7-0 lead. Sanders added a sack on a night in which USF totaled eight tackles for loss, forced four punts and two turnovers on downs.
USF cut its deficit to 14-7 with a 14-yard touchdown reception by sophomore Bryce Miller late in the third quarter. Two turnovers and a key drop slowed the Bulls’ progress on offense after they put up 525 yards and 45 points the last time out at East Carolina on Oct. 26.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Jordan McCloud completed 23 of 38 passes for a career-high 225 yards and a touchdown in his seventh straight start. Senior tight end Mitchell Wilcox set up USF’s lone touchdown with a 25-yard catch and had a team-best 55 yards on a season-high five receptions.
USF’s defense dominated early in the sixth meeting between the schools before Temple used a late touchdown to take a 7-0 lead into the break. The Bulls’ defense gave up just 246 yards prior to Temple’s final drive and saw the Owls finish with 320 yards.
A big stop on Temple’s first drive set the tone for a shutout performance by the Bulls in the opening quarter. Sophomore Tyrone Barber made a clutch tackle for a loss of 2 yards with the Owls facing fourth-and-1 at the Bulls’ 7-yard line.
USF followed that up by forcing a pair of three-and-outs and sophomore linebacker Dwayne Boyles (Miami) ended the second sequence with a sack early in the second quarter. Senior end Darius Slade crashed through the line and posted his first sack as a Bull to halt Temple’s fourth drive that covered 20 yards on four plays.
Temple’s Jager Gardner made the biggest offensive play of the half with a 57-yard run on third-and-1 down to the USF 2. Gardner would finish with 133 yards on 25 carries on the night. Three plays later, Todd Centeio threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Yeboah with just 1:29 to go before the break.
USF’s defense kept it a one-score game on the opening drive of the second half thanks to Sanders’ first-career interception at the Bulls’ 10-yard line. Sanders’ second sack of the season stalled Temple’s very next drive.
Temple took a 14-0 lead on a 39-yard fumble recovery returned for a touchdown by Sam Franklin with 4:45 to play in the third quarter.
The Bulls bounced right back on their next drive with a 14-yard touchdown reception by Miller. Freshman Xavier Weaver (Orlando) sparked the seven-play, 90-yard sequence with a career high 40-yard reception. Wilcox set up the score with a leaping 25-yard catch that got the Bulls to the Temple 14. McCloud went 3-for-3 for 79 yards on the drive that kept the Bulls close with 1:01 remaining in the third quarter.
Down 17-7 in the fourth quarter, USF was at midfield and nearly got into scoring position on an accurate deep pass by McCloud that was dropped. The Bulls were set to get the ball back after a Temple three-and-out, but a roughing the kicker penalty extended the Owls’ drive that ended at the USF 9 with 2:06 remaining.
“This is a tough one, a hard one to swallow”, said USF Head Coach Charlie Strong. “We had opportunities and didn’t take advantage of them. You look at the first drive, we’re driving the football, then end up turning the ball over. We could’ve got a score there and the defense played well up until right before half, giving up the drive where they scored on us. When the opportunity’s there, you have to take advantage of it, and we didn’t take advantage of it. Playing against a good football team, you can’t go out there and make mistakes – every mistake cost us.”
The Bulls continue a three-game homestand Saturday, Nov. 16 against No. 17 Cincinnati before the program’s Senior Day game against No. 19 Memphis on Saturday, Nov. 23. Kickoff times for both games have yet to be announced.
(Tampa, FL) Shizz Alston scored 24 points and made the game-winning free throw to lift Temple to a 70-69 overtime win over USF Saturday evening at the Yuengling Center.
Laquincy Rideau tied it at 69 with 11.3 seconds left in overtime before Alston was fouled on the ensuing possession with 1.5 seconds remaining.
Temple (19-7, 9-4) was whistled for a foul on the final possession that sent USF to the free throw line with 0.8 seconds on the clock. David Collins missed both foul shots to give Temple its second overtime win over the Bulls this season, as the Owls defeated USF 82-80 on Jan. 12 in Philadelphia.
J.P. Moorman put Temple up 64-59 in overtime with a three-pointer after Alston opened the extra session with a layup on the Owls’ first possession. After USF used two free throws from David Collins and a layup by Rideau to tie the game at 64, Alston hit a three-pointer with the shot clock winding down to push the Temple lead to three.
After Alston made a free throw to extend the Temple advantage to four, Collins made two more free throws to cut the deficit in half and setup Rideau’s game-tying layup in the final seconds.
Nate Pierre-Louis added 14 points for Temple and made two free throws in the final seconds to send the game into overtime.
Rideau finished with a team-high 16 points and five assists and reached 1,000 career points. Collins added 15 points and Xavier Castaneda scored 11 points and had two steals. Alexis Yetna grabbed 13 rebounds and Michael Durr had 11 and two blocks.
USF (17-7, 7-5) overcame an eight-point deficit in the first half to lead 23-20 at halftime and hold Temple to a season low for first-half points.
T.J. Lang gave USF its largest lead with a three-pointer at the 9:39 mark of the second half that put the Bulls ahead 45-36. Temple responded with a 15-5 run over the next five minutes to take a 51-50 lead on a layup by Justyn Hamilton.
The Bulls step out of conference play to host Florida College Tuesday at 4 p.m. at the Yuengling Center. Admission and parking are free.
(Philadelphia, PA) Laquincy Rideau had 18 points, 10 assists and 10 steals and became only the sixth college basketball player in the last 20 years to have a points-assists-steals triple-double, but Temple held off a furious rally to defeat USF 82-80 in overtime on Saturday at the Liacouras Center.
It was also the first triple-double in Liacouras Center history and the first by a USF player since McHugh Mattis had 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocks on Dec. 7, 2006 against Winston-Salem State.
Alexis Yetna added a career-high 24 points to go along with nine rebounds and David Collins finished with 16 points, five rebounds and three steals.
Nate Pierre-Louis led Temple with 22 points and Shizz Alton Jr. scored 20 points and had nine assists. J.P. Moorman added 12 points and five rebounds off the bench.
Temple (13-3, 3-1) used a 13-1 run midway through the first half to build a 22-9 advantage and would go on to lead by as many as 17 points. The Bulls pulled within nine points with just over a minute remaining, but Temple got a basket and a three-pointer at the buzzer from Moorman on consecutive possessions to push the lead up to 14.
USF (12-4, 2-2) opened the second half on fire and made its first 12 shots and used a 27-5 run to go ahead 50-42 on a layup by Yetna. Temple responded by scoring the next nine points to pull even at 50-50 at the 9:25 mark.
The two schools went back-and-forth for the next eight minutes with neither team leading by more than four points. Temple pushed ahead 68-65 on two free throws from Alston Jr., but Rideau answered on the ensuing possession for USF with a three-pointer that forced overtime.
Temple scored the first six points of overtime on four free throws and a jumper by Pierre-Louis. USF cut the deficit to one on two free throws from Yetna with 36 seconds left, but Temple hit four straight free throws to go back up by five. Xavier Castaneda made a three-pointer with 1.4 seconds left to pull USF within two.
“Temple has three of the most dynamic guards out there, certainly that we will face this season”, said Bulls Head Coach Brian Gregory. “You have to play with great toughness and grit against Temple, and it going to be a rock fight at times, and today was exactly that. I thought we did some good things, but not enough good on the road to beat a high-quality team. We have to do some things better in order to win some games on the road, but it was a great game with tough kids out there playing every possession.”
The Bulls continue league play Tuesday at 7 p.m. when the Bulls travel to Cincinnati for a matchup on ESPNEWS.
(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.
(St. Petersburg, FL) The Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl has announced that FIU (8-4, 5-3) from Conference-USA and Temple (6-6, 4-4) from the American Athletic Conference have accepted invitations to play in this year’s game.
The tenth edition of the bowl game will be played at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Thursday, Dec. 21, at 8 p.m. ET and air on ESPN.
Tickets for the 2017 Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl are available for online purchase from Tickets.com.
FIU won its eighth game of the season on Saturday defeating UMass 63-45, tying the 2011 team for the most wins in an FIU season. Ironically that season also resulted in a bowl trip to St. Petersburg. The Panthers, then in the Sun Belt Conference and led by future NFL star T.Y. Hilton, was upended by Marshall 20-10.
“We’re very excited to be headed to the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl,” said FIU head coach Butch Davis. “Our guys have worked really hard this year, and I’m proud that we’ll end this season in a bowl.”
Temple, which won three of its final four games, including a season-ending 43-22 road win over Tulsa, is making its first bowl trip to St. Petersburg. First-year head coach Geoff Collins returns to familiar territory in Florida. Collins was the defensive coordinator at Florida in 2016. He served as FIU’s defensive coordinator in 2010 and was the linebackers coach for UCF when the Knights played Rutgers in the 2009 bowl game in St. Petersburg.
“We are very excited to participate in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl and we are certainly looking forward to spending time in St. Petersburg to see all it has to offer,” said Collins.
“It’s always great to have two teams coming to our game after closing the regular season with big, dominating wins,” said Brett Dulaney, Executive Director of the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. “We look forward to providing FIU and Temple with a terrific bowl experience that includes fun times and rewarding community involvement programs.
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 St. Petersburg on Sunday, Dec., 17, for the numerous bowl-related festivities leading up to kick-off. These events, which are free and open to the public, include the Battle at the Beach (Dec. 19) and the Fan Invasion (Dec. 21).