On September 23rd, 2023, the South Florida Bulls hosted the Rice Owls for their first American Athletic Conference (AAC) matchup of the season. Following a tight game with the Alabama Crimson tide the week prior, the Bulls were looking to get back in the winning column. In front of 29,141 fans at Raymond James Stadium, USF had one goal in mind – defeat journeyman Quarterback, JT Daniels, and his Rice squad.
Though they got off to a slow start, the South Florida Offense totaled 597 yards on the day – an incredible feat.
Quarterback Byrum Brown completed 22-29 passes for 435 yards and two touchdowns. His 435 yards are his new career high for single game passing yards as well as the 2nd most in a single game in USF history.
On the ground, Brown also carried the ball 14 times for 82 yards (5.9 yards / carry) and one touchdown. His longest rush of the day was 29 yards. Running Back K’Wan Powell ran the ball nine times for 55 yards and one touchdown – his longest run of the day was 26 yards. Running Back Nay’Quan Wright also scored one time.
Through the air, Wide Receiver Naiem Simmons was a literal “Human Highlight Reel”.
He hauled in eight catches for a USF single game receiving yards record of 272 yards. He also found himself in the end zone once.
The previous record-holder was Wide Receiver Tyre McCants with 227 yards against UCF in 2017 – yes, the game where he dragged a UCF player down the field as they held onto the back of his jersey for dear life.
Wide Receiver Sean Atkins also caught eight balls for 73 yards and a touchdown.
Despite an early struggle, the Bulls’ Defense did not allow much at all on the ground. In fact, Rice ended the game with a single rushing yard – literally just 1.
When discussing his defense, here is what Head Coach Alex Golesh had to say, “I thought, defensively, we had to get off the field on 3rd down, and in the 1st Half we didn’t. But we certainly did in the 2nd Half.”
Linebackers Jhalyn Shuler and DJ Gordon lead the charge with six tackles each. Collectively, the defense totaled 11 tackles for loss, with Gordon having two of them.
The Bulls sacked the Quarterback four times. Gordon ended the game with 1.5.
Up next for the USF Bulls is a trip to Annapolis, Maryland on Saturday, September 30th to play the Navy Midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy.
Kicking off at 3:30 PM EST, South Florida will look to extend their winning streak to two games consecutively and move to 2-0 in the AAC.