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Bulls Rally Past BYU on Homecoming

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Bulls Rally Past BYU on Homecoming

TAMPA, OCT. 12, 2019 – Senior Jordan Cronkrite rushed for 158 yards and two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score with 7:37 remaining, and the USF defense finished off a thrilling 27-23 homecoming victory over BYU Saturday in Raymond James Stadium.

Clinging to a four-point lead, USF (3-3, 1-1 in AAC) came up with consecutive fourth-down stops deep in its own territory to defeat BYU (2-4) in the first-ever meeting between the programs. The Cougars' final two drives ended at the USF 5 and 20, the last ending after Devin Studstill (Rivera Beach, Fla.) batted down a pass in the end zone to seal the Bulls' fifth straight homecoming victory.

USF generated 243 of its 315 total yards on the ground and Cronkrite led the rushing attack with 158 yards on 26 carries (6.1 ypc) in his second-best performance as a Bull. The senior from Miami registered both his rushing touchdowns and racked up 123 yards in the second half.

Sophomore linebacker Antonio Grier (Atlanta) set a career high with two sacks, his second coming in clutch fashion as BYU was in a third-and-10 situation from the USF 12 on the final drive. Sophomore linebacker Dwayne Boyles (Miami) totaled 2.5 of USF's season high-tying13 tackles for loss and one of the Bulls' season-high six sacks, their most since 2012. USF has tallied at least 10 tackles for loss in four straight games and has 11 sacks in the past two outings.

On a tough day through the air, senior tight end Mitchell Wilcox (Tarpon Springs, Fla.) led the way with two catches for 52 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown reception that put USF on the scoreboard in the second quarter after BYU jumped out to a 13-0 lead.

Junior Trent Schneider (Sydney, Australia) broke his own USF single-game record with a punting average of 52.8 yards, including a 61-yard boot from near that Bulls goal line that pinned BYU at its own 26 to start its final drive.

The wild, first clash between the programs started with BYU building a 16-7 halftime lead after the Bulls' defense forced field goals in the red zone on the Cougars' final two scoring drives.

BYU took an early 3-0 lead, but the USF defense did lots of damage in the opening quarter with 6.0 tackles for loss and four sacks by four different players – Grier, Boyles, Greg Reaves (Bradenton, Fla.) and Rashawn Yates (Port St. Lucie, Fla.). USF totaled 7.0 tackles for loss in the opening half.

After BYU extended its lead to 13-0, USF's offense put together an eight-play, 86-yard scoring drive that was capped off by a 39-yard touchdown reception by Wilcox with 6:01 remaining in the half.
The senior tight end leads the team with four scoring catches this season and he's tied for ninth on USF's career list with 10.

Cronkrite punched in his first touchdown of the season from 1 yard out to help drop USF's deficit to 16-14 on the first drive of the second half that covered 68 yards on 14 plays.

BYU responded with quarterback Jaren Hall's 29-yard touchdown run on the next drive, but the Bulls stayed within striking distance thanks to a heads-up play on special teams late in the third quarter. Vincent Davis (Jacksonville, Fla.) recovered a fumble on a punt attempt at the BYU 23 and USF trailed, 23-21, after a 2-yard touchdown run by quarterback Jordan McCloud (Tampa) with 14:57 remaining.

BYU missed a field goal after McCloud's score and the Bulls turned the opportunity into a 27-23 advantage thanks to Cronkrite's 3-yard touchdown run with 7:37 to go. Cronkrite secured his second straight 100-yard rushing game on the nine-play, 78-yard drive that was powered by his 41-yard run down to the BYU 15.

BYU marched all the way down to the USF 8 on the next drive before the Bulls came up with a huge stop on fourth-and-7 from the 10. USF took over with 1:36 to play and, following three running plays, Schneider's 61-yard punt moved the Cougars back to their own 26 with 1:09 remaining.

BYU got as far as the USF 12 on the final drive of the game that featured Grier's sack on the crucial third-and-10 play before Studstill's game-sealing pass breakup.

Key Stats
243 – USF's rushing yards total, which accounted for 77 percent of the Bulls' 315 total yards of offense.
158 – The rushing yardage total for Jordan Cronkrite, who posted 100-yard performances in consecutive games.
52.8  Trent Schneider's program record punting average after his 61-yard boot down to the BYU 26 prior to the final drive of the game.
13 – USF's defense totaled 13 tackles for loss, which marked the fourth straight game the Bulls have finished with at least 10.
6 – USF registered a season-high six sacks, which marked the Bulls' most since totaling six against Chattanooga on Sept. 1, 2012.
 
Notables

  • Saturday marked the first-ever meeting between USF and BYU. The next game in the home-and-home series will see USF travel to Provo, Utah on Sept. 25, 2021.
  • Vincent Davis' fumble recovery late in the third quarter marked USF's 15th takeaway and ninth fumble recovery of the season. The Bulls headed into the week ranking third nationally in turnovers forced and second in fumbles recovered.
  • USF rushed for 243 yards, marking its second straight game with at least 200 rushing yards and the third time accomplishing the feat this season. USF is 17-1 under head coach Charlie Strong when rushing for 200 yards in a game.
  • Senior Jordan Cronkrite posted his second straight 100-yard rushing game, finishing with 158 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries. Cronkrite now has seven career 100-yard rushing games with the Bulls and Saturday was his second-best career rushing performance. The Miami native rushed for 302 yards at UMass on Oct. 6, 2018.
  • USF finished with 13 tackles for loss, marking the fourth straight game with at least 10 for the Bulls. USF totaled a season-high six sacks Saturday and has 11 in the past two games.
  • Junior Trent Schneider broke his own USF game record for punting average (52.8).

Quotable
Head coach Charlie Strong's thoughts on USF's comeback win over BYU:
"That's a great win for us… You look at a team that beat USC and came back and beat Tennessee. Just the way our guys battled, we got down 13-0 and Jordan (McCloud) makes a big throw down there to (Mitchell) Wilcox, who makes an unbelievable catch. Then our guys just started feeling it and confidence started coming back to them. What we were able to do on defense was just hold them to field goals in the first half and not let the game get away from us… The battle there at the end, you look at (Jordan) Cronkrite rushing for over 150 yards and just the whole offensive line… This team just continues to grow and develop. As they continue to grow and develop, this could be something special. I know we're young but sometimes when you're young, you don't know any better and you just play."

Strong on Jordan Cronkrite's second straight 100-yard rushing performance:
"He's an outstanding player. I think the first three games he had like 25 total yards. The last two, he's really had breakout games… He said tonight, 'Just give me the ball, coach.' I was just so happy for Jordan because he was able to put together two games back-to-back now."

Up Next
USF continues conference play at Navy on Saturday, Oct. 19. Kickoff in Annapolis, Md., is set for 3:30 p.m. and the action will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

The Bulls will wrap up their two-game road trip at East Carolina on Saturday, Oct. 26 (game time TBA) before returning to Raymond James Stadium to host Temple on Thursday, Nov. 7 (8 p.m. kickoff, TV: ESPN). Reserve your seats at USFBullsTix.com.

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I'll admit up front I was half watching the game today because I was frustrated by previous weeks. However, rushing the field like we beat a top 10 team after the game? That was super cringey.

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1 hour ago, USFBULL_08 said:

I'll admit up front I was half watching the game today because I was frustrated by previous weeks. However, rushing the field like we beat a top 10 team after the game? That was super cringey.

You win a close one like that, on the final play of game, you're more often than not going to see the winning team react like that regardless of who it's against ......... unless you're talking about fans rushing the field which I didn't notice. That would be cringe worthy.

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I enjoyed the excitement after the final pass breakup.  Kept it streaming as long as they would show it.  Part of building something - whether CCS knows it or not.  

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Uhhh...looking at the end of the game again...NO FANS RAN ONTO TGE FIELD...the players did though. 

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Just now, NewEnglandBull said:

Uhhh...looking at the end of the game again...NO FANS RAN ONTO TGE FIELD...the players did though. 

Players deserved to ...... fans would have definitely been cringe worthy.

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Just now, Triple B said:

Players deserved to ...... fans would have definitely been cringe worthy.

Correct! 

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I think we’re all talking about the players’ reactions to the win.  

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1 minute ago, Brad said:

I think we’re all talking about the players’ reactions to the win.  

Ahhh ok...well yes they deserve to raise hell and jump around. They work hard and have had a tough year. Let them do their thing. 

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The team just upset a major independent, I’d burn a couch to that.

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