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USF Senior Writer

TAMPA, OCT. 12, 2016 – Bowl eligibility is already within reach for USF, but Willie Taggart’s Bulls have their eyes set on a much grander goal.

USF (5-1, 2-0) can accomplish the feat four weeks ahead of last season with a victory over UConn on Saturday night. After being picked to win The American’s East Division, USF is in first place and continues to build momentum in the chase for the program’s first-ever conference crown.


“You want bowl eligible to be a norm,” Taggart said. “We want that to be a norm around here, but we want much more than that.”

USF’s ability to conquer all but one opponent so far has the team one win away from equaling the program’s best start to a season. USF’s 2007 and 2008 teams went 6-1 through seven games.

“Our guys want much more than that, so we can’t get excited because it doesn’t get us what we ultimately want,” Taggart said. “We have to go out and take care of business, and stay on track like we’ve been doing.”

USF knows Saturday won’t be a stroll to victory at Raymond James Stadium. Looking back, the last nine games in the USF-UConn series have been decided by an average of 4.8 points.

“We know it’s going to be a physical ballgame,” Taggart said. “It’s always a tough ballgame, always a close ballgame.”

Flowers Flourishing Beyond the Field

Quinton Flowers landed a spot on The American’s weekly honor roll for his outstanding outing in USF’s 38-22 win over East Carolina last Saturday.


USF’s dual-threat quarterback racked up 365 yards of total offense (250 passing, 115 rushing) with three touchdown passes and no picks. Flowers’ performance helped the Bulls set a new program record with their sixth consecutive conference win.

What has impressed Taggart the most is Flowers’ ability to lead the team. The junior from Miami continues to get more vocal with his teammates, encouraging them to shake off bad plays and work even harder to keep USF on the winning track.

“It’s things he feels like he’s obligated to do and he’s taking pride in doing that,” Taggart said. “It’s making a big difference with our football team.”

Weist to Face Off Against Familiar Foe

UConn is an opponent co-offensive coordinator T.J. Weistknows a lot about.


Flip the calendar back to 2013 and you’d find Weist in charge of UConn as the Huskies’ interim head coach. Weist took over the program in Week 4 and guided the Huskies to three consecutive wins to finish the season.

“Once we beat Temple, we knew we were going to keep winning because we had that character on our team,” Weist said.

Weist looks forward to reuniting with some of his former players Saturday before he puts on the headset and resumes the mission of making USF’s Gulf Coast Offense go.

“It’s exciting to take that challenge on because I’m familiar with the program, familiar with the players and some of the coaches and things like that,” Weist said. “It gives me a little extra motivation because I want to coach our football team to the best of my ability against this team, which I know well.”

USF’s Offense on Pace to Rank Top 10 All-Time in Florida History

USF’s prolific Gulf Coast Offense is on pace to rank among the top 10 all-time for FBS teams in the state of Florida in five categories. (See page 9 in this week’s game notes, link at top).


USF is projected to score 578 points, good for third on the list behind Florida’s 1996 and 2008 national championship teams. USF is on pace to average 44.5 points per game, which would rank fourth in the category.

USF’s projected total of 78 touchdowns would rank third. Total yards (6,535) would rank eighth and average yards per game (502.7) also would have the Bulls eighth in the category.

Taggart said USF’s focus is putting up the most points possible on the way to winning the conference.

“We talk about it often like we have to be fiending for touchdowns. We  need it, we gotta have it,” he said. “That’s the approach we want to take. We want to be in attack mode all the time. Go fast and just be enamored about scoring touchdowns.”

Bulls Bits


- USF will be sporting pink accents on their Under Armour uniforms for Saturday’s Breast Cancer Awareness Game. Taggart said supporting the cause is something the Bulls take very seriously. “A lot of people are affected by it and you just never know,” he said. “Whenever you can go out and do something in a positive manner to help, I think it’s always great.”

- The first 5,000 fans through the gates at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday night will receive a free USF window cling. The first 500 USF students in the stadium get a free Bulls T-shirt.

- USF’s eight-point win over UConn last season was the largest margin of victory in the series since the Bulls’ 38-16 win at Raymond James Stadium in 2006.


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