AMHERST, MASS., OCT. 6, 2018 – Explosive Jordan Cronkrite shattered the USF and American Athletic Conference single-game rushing records with 302 yards, including 183 yards on three long touchdown runs, in the 5-0 Bulls’ 58-42 victory at UMass on Saturday.
Cronkrite averaged 13.1 yards on 23 carries with touchdown runs of 77, 76 and 30 yards out in his third straight game rushing for at least 100 yards. Cronkrite broke the previous USF game rushing record of 275 yards, a feat accomplished by Marlon Mack (2014) and Andre Hall (2004), and set a new American Athletic Conference mark. Cronkrite’s 302 rushing yards rank the junior from Miami fourth on the all-time game chart for rushers from state of Florida FBS schools.
USF improved to 5-0 for the second straight season after setting a season high with 365 rushing yards (ninth-best in program history) and matching the school scoring record with 28 points in the third quarter. The Bulls also matched the program’s record of 34 wins over a four-year period. USF reached the mark in just 43 games (79.0% winning percentage), bettering the 52 (65.0% winning percentage) it took to reach the mark between 2006-09 by nine games.
Freshman Johnny Ford (Miami) added to USF’s productive outing with nine rushes for a career-high 77 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Blake Barnett (Corona, Calif.) completed 17 of 24 passes for 209 yards and started the scoring with a 72-yard touchdown pass to Tyre McCants (Niceville, Fla.).
USF racked up a season-high five takeaways (4 fumble recoveries, 1 INT) and freshman Vincent Davis (Jacksonville, Fla.) was stellar on special teams with two forced fumbles on kickoffs and a 12-yard touchdown return on the second.
Senior defensive end Josh Black (Tampa) set a new career with two sacks to lead USF’s five-sack effort. Redshirt freshman defensive back Nick Roberts (Jacksonville, Fla.) posted a career-high 10 tackles while sophomore cornerback Mike Hampton (Tampa) intercepted a pass and made six tackles. Senior Juwuan Brown (Tampa) recovered two fumbles.
Despite two turnovers, USF took a 20-14 lead into halftime after putting up 10 points in the final two minutes on scores just 12 seconds apart.
USF started the game in stride with Barnett finding McCants for a 72-yard touchdown on the second play of the opening drive. The explosive play out of the gates marked Barnett’s fifth pass of 40-plus yards this season and his fourth 40-plus yard scoring toss on the year.
Trailing 14-10, USF regained the lead before halftime after the Bulls rattled off 10 straight points in the final two minutes.
USF took a 10-7 lead into the second quarter and cut its deficit to 14-13 with 1:43 remaining in the half thanks to Coby Weiss’ second field goal of the game. The score was set up by a 66-yard run by Cronkrite, who closed in on his third straight 100-yard rushing game with 97 yards in the opening half.
Antonio Grier Jr. (Atlanta) recovered a fumble forced by Davis at the UMass 19 on the ensuing kickoff. One play later, freshman back Johnny Ford (Miami) scored his first touchdown as a Bull with a 19-yard run just 12 seconds after Weiss’ second field goal.
The Bulls kept the foot on the gas pedal during a 28-point third quarter, matching the program record for points in a period.
USF increased its lead to 27-14 less than three minutes into the second half on a 77-yard touchdown run by Cronkrite. Following Hampton’s second interception of the season, Cronkrite took a fourth-and-1 handoff 30 yards for a touchdown to help USF build a 34-14 lead with 7:47 left in the third quarter.
Right after Cronkrite’s second score of the quarter, Davis struck again on special teams, forcing a fumble on the kickoff and running 12 yards to the end zone near the end of USF’s 31-0 run. Cronkite broke Mack’s record with his 76-yard touchdown run that brought him up to 278 yards on the day.
USF ended up posting the 10th 500-yard game in less than two seasons under the guidance of offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert.
Head coach Charlie Strong on the Bulls’ victory over UMass:
“We’ve got to play better than how we played. Cronkrite, big day for him, and we ended up with five turnovers with the defense. But we’re a better football team than what we’re showing right now. We’ve got to put it together.”
Jordan Cronkrite on what led to his record-breaking rushing performance:
“It was a great job by the offensive line. I was just using my God-given skills and just doing what I could to help my team win.”
574 – USF racked up 574 yards and a season high 365 rushing yards in the 10th 500-yard game under offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert.
302 – Jordan Cronkrite set USF, AAC records with 302 rushing yards, which rank the junior fourth on the all-time game list for FBS rushers from Florida schools.
58 – The number of points scored by USF, increasing its nation-leading streak of 20-plus point games to 35 straight outings. USF has averaged 41.9 points in its past 14 games away from Tampa.
5 – The USF defense registered a season-high five takeaways (1 INT, 4 FR).
— USF completed its non-conference schedule with a perfect record (4-0) vs. non-conference opponents for the second straight season. The Bulls are 8-0 vs. non-conference opponents (including a bowl win) the last two years and 12-1 since 2016, with the lone loss coming to No. 13 Florida State in 2016. The Bulls have defeated six Power 6 non-conference opponents during that span.
— With its 34th victory (34-9) since the 2015 season, USF equaled a program record for wins across a four-season period, equaling the mark set from 2006-09 (34-18). The Bulls reached the mark in just 43 games (79.0% winning percentage), bettering the 52 (65.0% winning percentage) it took to reach the mark between 2006-09 by nine games.
— USF improved to 33-6 (84.6%) in its last 39 games, tied with Wisconsin for the fifth-best record in the nation over that span. The Bulls record is bettered by only Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma and Ohio State.
— USF opened a season 5-0 for the second straight season and the sixth time in program history. The Bulls best start to a season is 7-0 posted last year.
USF resumes conference play at Tulsa on Friday, Oct. 12. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN.
The Bulls return to Raymond James Stadium to host UConn in the program’s homecoming game on Saturday, Oct. 20 (time TBA). Reserve your seats at USFBullsTix.com.
via USF Athletics