TAMPA, SEPT. 28, 2019 – The Bulls fell behind seemingly in a split second to SMU last Saturday at Raymond James Stadium. Quarterback Blake Barnett’s return ignited the USF offense, leading the Bulls to three touchdowns on three consecutive drives in the second half. Barnett closed out the contest, putting an end to unbeaten SMU’s (5-0, 1-0) eye-gouging 48-21 decimation of the Bulls at Raymond James Stadium.
Barnett finished 13 of 21 passing for 222 yards, notching his 10th career 200-yard passing game in an impressive relief effort. Redshirt freshman Jordan McCloud started his second straight game, but was sacked six times in the first half and exited with a sprained wrist before USF (1-3, 0-1) as the Mustang’s snapped USF’s three game conference opener winning streak come to a screeching halt.
As the Bulls trailed the Mustangs 41-0 tight end Jacob Mathis kicked off a USF scoring run with a 24 yard touchdown reception in the third quarter. The Bay Made Bull finished with 54 receiving yards, including a career long 30 yards catch. Mitchell Wilcox led the Bulls with 77 yards on four receptions, including 43 and 7 yard touchdown catches late in the fourth quarter. Wide receiver Bryce Miller provided a spark as well, via a 13 yard touchdown grab.
“Going into the game, we knew what type of quarterback it was. We knew it was going to be the long-balls and they came down with the balls. We were there. We had good coverage, but they were able to make the catch. 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. No one is good enough to get caught back up, especially at halftime.”
~ Charlie Strong
Anchored by Patrick Macon, Dwayne Boyles, Devin Studstill, Kevin Kegler, Kirk Livingstone, Jason Vaughn, Tyrone Barber, Trey Laing, and several others the USF defense has thronged the opposition, amassing 39 tackles for loss in 2019. USF’s 9.8 TFL per game ranks No. 3 nationally, and No. 1 in the AAC. To boot, the Bulls have forced 13 total turnovers to date in 2019, good for No. 2 nationally and once again the AAC’s best. Furthermore, USF sniped two interceptions, this time by safety Devin Studstill and defensive lineman Stacy Kirby, pushing the Bulls 2019 total up to 6, which ranks No. 3 nationally, and No. 1 in the AAC.
Freshman linebackers Tae’Aviion Gray and Demaurez Bellamy made their first career starts against SMU. Bellamy finished with a career best seven tackles, all solo. Safety Nick Roberts and linebacker Patrick Macon led the defensive front, tallying nine tackles each. For Macon, his 9 tackles were the most since the lethal run-stopper posted a monstrous career best 15 against Wisconsin. It also marked the Oklahoma State transfer’s second 2019 contest as the leading tackler for the Bulls.
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This week the Bulls hit the road to face a fellow 1-3 (0-1) foe, the Connecticut Huskies, scheduled for a Noon kickoff live broadcast on the one and only CBS Sports Network…. unfortunate for some of you, we know.. but hey follow the game and interact with us on our Instagram and Twitter pages (always @SoFloBulls).
We believe our photo album accurately recaps the falloff from the Jordan McCloud high and the big return of the Blake Barnett era. We sincerely hope you enjoy flipping through the handpicked photos by David Gold. Let’s get this W!! #BeatUConn
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34 – Undefeated SMU seized the momentum by jumping out to a 34-0 lead by halftime. SMU scored touchdowns on five straight drives during the first and second quarters.
12 – USF’s progress was hampered by 12 penalties for 134 yards.
10 – The Mustangs totaled 10 sacks for a loss of 43 total yards.
3 – Senior quarterback Blake Barnett threw three touchdown passes on three straight drives in his solid second-half relief effort.
13 – USF headed into the game tied for the national lead with 11 takeaways and added two more forced turnovers to the season total thanks to interceptions by Devin Studstill and Stacy Kirby.