By Carlos Rosaly

November 16, 2017

TAMPA—– The #23 ranked University of South Florida Bulls were favored by three touchdowns against the unranked Tulsa Golden Hurricane, but the Bulls managed to make it an interesting contest, allowing Tulsa to stay in the game until the final seconds. The Bulls were able to come out on top as expected, 27-20, but were not as dominant as predicted. The win sets up an AAC East showdown with UCF next Friday, with the winner of that game representing the East Division in the AAC Championship on December 2nd.

In their typical slow start fashion, the Bulls went three and out on their first possession. On Tulsa’s first possession, Bulls Senior DTs Deadrin Senat and Bruce Hector sacked Golden Hurricane Red Shirt Freshman QB Luke Skipper for a loss of seven yards setting up third down and 21 yards to go. But the Bulls defense has shown all season it can be both hot and cold, and, on the next play, allowed Skipper to complete a 59 yard pass to Senior WR Nigel Carter. Five plays later, Skipper rushed for a 12 yard TD to open the scoring at 7-0.

The Bulls offense, more hot than cold this season, scored on their next possession, capped by a 25 yard TD pass from Senior QB Quinton Flowers to Junior WR Tyre McCants, making the score 7-7.

The Bulls defense held the Golden Hurricane to 29 yards on the subsequent possession. Then the Bulls offense did what they do best: explode.

Senior RB Darius Tice scored on a 54 yard TD run along the Bulls sideline to give the Bulls the lead 14-7.

“We look forward to playing, because we get the national attention,” said Tice. “Like today, being on ESPN. So, it’s national attention. Big players make big time plays in the spotlight, so we look forward to those situations.”

On their next Bulls possession, Flowers connected with Sophomore WR Darnell Salomon for a 35 yard TD pass. The first quarter ended with the score USF 21 Tulsa 7.

Early in the second quarter, Tulsa made the score 21-10 on a 30 yard FG by Senior K Redford Jones. Later in the quarter, Bulls Senior K Emilio Nadelman added a 41 yard FG of his own. Towards the end of the first half, Skipper scored on a 10 yard run to cap a 74 yard drive and bring the Golden Hurricane within a TD at the half, 24-17.

In the third quarter, the Bulls special teams made their presence known as Senior LB Devin Jones-Stewart blocked a punt by Tulsa Sophomore P Thomas Bennett, giving the Bulls excellent field position at the Tulsa 31 yard line. The Bulls had to settle for a 48 yard FG but it was an historic one, as Nadelman broke the Bulls record for most FGs in a season.

For all the best efforts of the defense, it was the offense who struggled in the second half. Flowers threw his fifth interception of the season, floating a pass that was easily picked off by Sophomore LB Diamon Cannon in the end zone. However, Tulsa could not capitalize on the turnover, and the score at the end of the third quarter remained 27-17.

With the Bulls offense idling their engine, the Golden Hurricane were able to make it a one score contest late in the game with another FG by Jones, this time from 38 yards, but the Bulls defense was able to hold Tulsa from getting any more points. The final score was USF 27 Tulsa 20.

“It’s great to get the victory and when you look at it, it’s a tale of two halves,” said USF Head Coach Charlie Strong. “In the first half, offensively we moved the ball up and down the field and they couldn’t stop us. Then, we come back the second half and didn’t move it well at all. We talked about it before the game that it’s all about converting on third downs. Defensively, we struggled there in the first half, and then the second half we made a bunch of plays.”

How does Coach Strong view the next game vs UCF? “I think the guys know what is at stake. We just need to go out there and play well”


GAME NOTES – Announced attendance was 26,195… With the win over Tulsa, Strong earned his 100th career win as a head coach… USF leads the all-time series against Tulsa 2-0… Tulsa RB D’Angelo Brewer became the AAC all-time leading rusher, surpassing USF’s Marlon Mack (2014-16). Brewer needed 110 yards to tie Mack going into tonight’s game and ended up with 163. Brewer also set the all-time rushing record for Tulsa held by Tarrion Adams (2005-08). “D’Angelo has been the workhorse for us all year long,” said Tulsa Head Coach Philip Montgomery. “Nobody knows, but he got injured last week and had not practiced a day, and he was able to come out and put on this performance tonight. He is a warrior, he is a workhorse and he is a guy who has been great for us not just this year, but in previous years.” “It’s very important for me, my family and the team,” said Brewer. “Being the conference [career rushing] leader, it’s important, but we didn’t get that win today, man, and that hurt me a lot”… Nadelman went 2-for-2 kicking and set a season-high record for FGs with 20, leap-frogging Maikon Bonani (2011) and Delbert Alvarado (2007) each with 19… Senior LB Auggie Sanchez set a new USF record for career tackles with 378, eclipsing the mark established by Kawika Mitchell (1999-2002) of 367. “Some amazing plays by Auggie, and he goes out and breaks the school record and I think he had ten tackles in the first half,” said Strong. “He had a big day”.… USF honored 23 seniors before the game. This group of seniors has totaled 32 wins over the last four seasons. Among the group are players that hold, or are on track to hold, numerous school records, including Flowers (career total yards, rushing yards, rushing TDs, passing TDs, total TDs), D’Ernest Johnson (career all-purpose yards), Auggie Sanchez (career tackles, career starts), Nadelman (season FGs and points), and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (season receiving yards). Other seniors recognized before tonight’s game: Senat, Jones-Stewart, Nadelman, Hector, Sanchez, CB Deatrick Nichols, RB Darius Tice, WR Temi Alaka, S Tajee Fullwood, S Devin Abraham, P Jonathan Hernandez, TE Spencer Adkinson, TE KJ Miles, OL Glen Bethel, LG Jeremi Hall, C Cameron Ruff, TE Ryan Hintze, WR Trevor Steinke, WR Ryeshene Bronson and DE Mike Love.… The next game for the Bulls is “The War On I-4” at 3:30pm next Friday, November 24, 2017 at UCF. The game will be broadcast nationally by ABC. The winner will be the AAC East Champion and advance to the AAC Championship Game… If they beat UCF, the Bulls may get to host the AAC Championship on December 2, 2017 but will need an SMU win over Memphis for that to occur. Stay tuned…