USF smothers The Citadel in season opener
The Jeff Scott era at the University of South Florida began on a positive note as the host Bulls defeated The Citadel 27-6 in their regular season opener on Saturday night at Raymond James Stadium.
Scott, the former Clemson University offensive coordinator, saw his rebuilt defense keep the Bulldogs (0-1) out of the end zone despite yielding 200 yards to their triple option offense.
South Florida’s running game outgained The Citadel as 10 different rushers amassed 302 yards on 39 carries (7.7 yards per carry).
A special teams miscue, however, allowed South Florida (1-0) to seize control late in the first half.
Bulldogs’ punter Matt Campbell mishandled a snap in his end zone and shanked the kick off his foot. The ball did not travel past the goal line and was caught by South Florida receiver Omarion Dollison for a touchdown to give USF a 13-6 lead.
Kelly Joiner paced South Florida’s offense with 87 yards on eight carries, and effectively ended any comeback hopes The Citadel had with a 3-yard touchdown run with 6:55 left in the fourth.
Noah Johnson, a grad transfer from Alcorn State who grew up in the Tampa area and is one of three quarterbacks the Bulls plan to incorporate in their offense this season, extended South Florida’s lead to 20-6 on a 9-yard touchdown run with 2:41 left in the second quarter.
Jordan McCloud started the game at quarterback for South Florida and threw for 68 yards and a touchdown on 11 of 16 passes.
South Florida’s defense held The Citadel to two field goals on three red zone opportunities. Quarterback Brandon Rainey led the Bulldogs with 65 yards on 20 carries, but completed only 4 of 18 passes for 84 yards and one interception.
The Bulldogs, who will play only four games this season and had scored upsets over FBS schools in 2015 (South Carolina) and last season (Georgia Tech), squandered a chance to score on its first drive when running back Logan Braucht was stripped by South Florida defensive lineman Rashawn Yates allowing cornerback Mike Hampton to recover at the Bulls’ 39-yard line.
–Field Level Media