Dec 21, 2023; Boca Raton, FL, USA; South Florida Bulls quarterback Byrum Brown (17) drops back to pass against the Syracuse Orange in the first quarter during the Boca Raton Bowl at FAU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

South Florida throttles Syracuse in Boca Raton Bowl

Byrum Brown threw three touchdown passes and two South Florida players scored on long fumble returns as the Bulls trounced Syracuse 45-0 on Thursday night in the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla.

Brown twice found Sean Atkins for a touchdown as part of a 19-of-26 passing performance in which he threw for 214 yards without an interception. Atkins finished with six catches for 93 yards, while Brown also registered a team-high 64 rushing yards for the Bulls (7-6).

The Orange (6-7) played without their top two quarterbacks due to injuries. Freshman Braden Davis made his first college start and finished 6 of 13 for 84 yards. The team also ran much of their offense out of a wildcat formation that featured running back LeQuint Allen (20 carries for 2 yards) and tight end Dan Villari (11 rushes for 37 yards and 4-of-11 passing for 55 yards).

Syracuse went 1 for 17 on third downs and had four turnovers in losing its bowl game for the second straight season.

After the teams exchanged punts to begin the contest, South Florida marched 64 yards on 10 plays, capped by Brown’s 13-yard touchdown pass to Atkins in the back of the end zone.

The Bulls doubled their lead late in the first quarter on Aamaris Brown’s 64-yard fumble return for a touchdown. The Orange were attempting a field goal, but they botched the hold, leading to the fumble.

Early in the second quarter, Byrum Brown found Khafre Brown deep over the middle for a 31-yard score, making it 21-0. John Cannon added a 40-yard field goal with 2:40 left in the period.

The cherry on top of the first-half uprising was Tramel Logan’s 61-yard fumble return with nine seconds left. Daquan Evans sacked Davis on the play, and Logan made the recovery.

Byrum Brown’s 35-yard pass to a wide-open Atkins made it 38-0 early in the third quarter. Nay’Quan Wright’s 2-yard touchdown run accounted for the only points of the fourth quarter as South Florida rolled to its first bowl win since 2017.

–Field Level Media

Nov 11, 2023; New York, New York, USA;  Syracuse Orange running back LeQuint Allen (1) runs with the ball against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the first half at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse runs into USF, Boca Raton Bowl thinking ground game

Without the coach and quarterback who helped the Orange reach the postseason, Syracuse stomps forward to face South Florida in the Boca Raton Bowl on Thursday.

The Orange (6-6) fired coach Dino Babers last month near the end of his eighth season at Syracuse. His temporary replacement was Nunzio Campanile, who defeated Wake Forest in the regular-season finale to make the Orange bowl-eligible, before the program hired Fran Brown as its next head coach earlier this month.

It’ll be Campanile who will be guiding Syracuse in Thursday’s clash in Boca Raton, Fla. He will have to defeat the Bulls without quarterback Garrett Shrader, who underwent shoulder surgery after passing for three touchdowns and running for another in the win over Wake Forest.

“It was important for me to get our team to a bowl game,” the senior quarterback said. “I would have (gotten surgery) earlier in the season, but I wanted to wait until we got bowl-eligible. This team has too much talent and works too hard not to play a 13th game.”

In Shrader’s absence, the Orange could opt for backup Carlos Del Rio-Wilson, who threw three touchdowns and six interceptions in limited action this season. Or the team could revisit its creative wildcat offense that it used while Shrader was injured late in the regular season.

In either event, the Orange are looking forward to playing in a bowl game for the second straight season. Previously, they had not played in back-to-back bowl games since 2012 and 2013.

“You have two teams that are trending in the right direction,” Campanile said, “and I just think it’s a really exciting opportunity. … It should be a really fun, entertaining game.”

The Bulls (6-6) showed drastic improvement this season under first-year coach Alex Golesh. The team had won a total of four games in the previous three seasons combined and now will play in their first bowl game since 2018.

“To get here in year one and to continue to lay a foundation for what we’re building in Tampa, it’s absolutely huge for us,” said Golesh, whose squad also became bowl-eligible by winning its regular-season finale. USF trounced Charlotte 48-14 in that contest behind four passing touchdowns and a rushing score from Byrum Brown.

The Bulls’ defense was among the worst in the nation in points allowed per game (34.9) and yards allowed per game (455.3). So, they’ll be banking on their dynamic offense and hope that their defense can contain Orange running back LeQuint Allen, who ran for 1,062 yards (including 100-plus yards in five of the last six games).

Also, USF will be relying on its expected home-field advantage.

“For us to be in our home state, playing against a really good football team, I would hope there’s a bunch of green and gold in the stands,” Golesh said. “It’ll feel like a home game in that regard.”

The teams have met 10 times previously, all between 2005 and 2016. South Florida won eight of those matchups with all eight of those victories coming by at least 14 points.

–Field Level Media

Sep 16, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA;  *Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Dallas Turner (15) forces a fumble by South Florida Bulls quarterback Byrum Brown (17) in the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

No. 10 Alabama escapes with win over South Florida

Roydell Williams rushed for 129 yards and scored the tiebreaking touchdown as No. 10 Alabama escaped with a lackluster 17-3 victory over South Florida on Saturday in nonconference play at Tampa, Fla.

Dallas Turner registered 2 1/2 sacks and Malachi Moore intercepted a pass in the end zone for the Crimson Tide (2-1), who overcame shaky play from the quarterback position to avoid what would have been a major upset.

Tyler Buchner started and completed 5 of 14 passes for 34 yards for Alabama before being removed late in the second quarter. Ty Simpson entered and was 5 of 9 for 73 yards and rushed for a score.

Jalen Milroe, who started Alabama’s first two games at quarterback, didn’t play.

Byrum Brown was 14-of-28 passing for 87 yards and one interception and rushed for 92 yards for the Bulls (1-2). Daquan Evans recorded three sacks for South Florida, which was outgained 310 to 264.

The loss was USF’s 18th in a row against FBS programs.

The contest was delayed for nearly an hour early in the second quarter due to heavy rain and lightning.

Simpson was the quarterback when the Crimson Tide navigated 84 yards on six plays to take a 10-3 lead in the third quarter.

Simpson connected with CJ Dippre for 45 yards and Williams broke loose for a 26-yard run. Williams eventually scored from the 1 with 4:35 left in the period.

South Florida moved into Alabama territory midway through the fourth quarter. But a short time later, Brown threw deep into double coverage and Moore easily made the interception with 6:29 left.

The Crimson Tide worked the clock and put the game away when Simpson scored on a quarterback sneak from the 1 with 33 seconds left.

USF received a break in the first quarter when Alabama’s Kool-Aid McKinstry was hit by a punt and the Bulls recovered at the Crimson Tide 29 yard-line.

South Florida cashed in with a 44-yard field goal by John Cannon with 7:08 left in the quarter.
Alabama’s Terrion Arnold returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown but a holding penalty on Jeremiah Alexander nullified the score.

After five straight punts under Buchner, Alabama turned to Simpson and he was the recipient of a short field after Turner sacked Brown and forced him to fumble. James Smith recovered at the USF 25.

Five plays later, Will Reichard kicked a 30-yard field with 2:30 left in the half to knot the score.

–Field Level Media

A pylon with a USF logo before the game between the Florida Gators and the South Florida Bulls at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL on Saturday, September 11, 2021.

Flgai 091121 Gatorsfb Usf 1252 Mattpendleton

South Florida board OKs plans for $340M stadium

The board of trustees at South Florida approved a plan Tuesday for a new on-campus stadium that will cost an estimated $340 million and be ready for use by fall of 2026.

The new stadium will hold 35,000.

The board approved debt spending of $200 million. The remaining $140 million will come from four other sources, including $81 million from future capital gifts ($50M) and the capital improvement trust fund ($31M), according to a news release.

Raymond James Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is the current home of the Bulls. USF opened a new $22 million indoor football facility in January.

The Bulls are coming off a 1-11 season and are 4-29 over the past three seasons.

–Field Level Media

Nov 19, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; UCF Knights head coach Gus Malzahn looks on during the second half against the Navy Midshipmen at FBC Mortgage Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

UCF still has clear path to AAC title game, visits South Florida

No. 22 UCF blew its chance to host the American Athletic Conference championship game with last weekend’s shocking loss to Navy but goes into its regular-season finale Saturday against South Florida at Tampa, Fla., still with an opportunity to play for the league championship.

While Tulane and Cincinnati will be playing this weekend for the right to host the title game on Dec. 3, the Knights (8-3, 5-2 AAC) could earn the visitor’s spot with a win over the Bulls (1-10, 0-7).

The Knights hold the tiebreaking edge over both Tulane and Cincinnati – and if Houston also wins Saturday, the resulting three-way tie could go all the way to a composite computer ranking. With UCF No. 22 in this week’s CFP rankings, the Knights would appear to hold an advantage over unranked Houston.

If Houston loses to Tulane, a UCF victory over USF would leave the Knights in the clear as the No. 2 team.

“We win the game (at South Florida) I like our chances,” UCF coach Gus Malzahn said. “That’s really about it.”

The tendency would be to take a win over the struggling Bulls for granted, but Malzahn knows all too well that a win last week over 3-7 Navy did not materialize. And he remembers last year’s 17-13 UCF squeaker of a victory over a two-win South Florida team.

“We’re not overlooking them, especially with what happened last year,” Malzahn said. “And they were in a similar situation.”

One difference is that Jeff Scott, who was coaching the Bulls that game, was fired earlier this month and special teams coordinator Daniel Da Prato is serving as South Florida’s interim coach.

Malzahn confirmed that John Rhys Plumlee will start at quarterback for UCF if he is healthy after missing the second half last week with a shoulder problem. Mikey Keene finished the loss to Navy.

“John Rhys is our starting quarterback,” Malzah said. “We’re fortunate enough to have a guy like Mikey right there ready to go. We’ll see how practice goes.”

USF, meanwhile, gave freshman Byrum Brown his first collegiate start last week and he responded with 240 yards and three touchdowns passing, and 76 and another score on the ground, in a 48-42 loss to Tulsa. His performance did not surprise Da Prato.

“Since the day he got here he has prepared for that opportunity,” Da Prato said. “And he’s prepared properly.”

This will be the last meeting between the rivals for a while. UCF is leaving the AAC to join the Big 12 in 2023.

–Field Level Media

Oct 8, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; South Florida Bulls running back Brian Battie (21) runs with the ball against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the first half at Nippert Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Underwhelming seasons collide when Tulsa faces USF

South Florida and host Tulsa will chase down a rare victory when the teams meet Friday night.

The two American Athletic Conference programs find themselves at the bottom of the standings, with the Bulls owning the cellar due to an eight-game skid. Tulsa is standing right outside the door after dropping three straight.

USF (1-9, 0-6) earned its only win when it defeated FCS Howard 42-20 on Sept. 10 in Week 2. The campaign’s low point occurred Nov. 6 when the Bulls fired head coach Jeff Scott after a 54-28 road loss to Temple.

Interim head coach Daniel Da Prato stepped in Saturday against SMU. The Bulls played better at times, forging a 17-17 tie at halftime before succumbing in a 41-23 setback on their home field.

“Obviously, a difficult week for our young men and for our department. We were able to fight through that for the week and we came out and I’m proud of our kids and their effort,” Da Prato said. “But at the end of the day you play this game to win.”

Quarterback Katravis Marsh was stretchered off the field in the fourth quarter but was “in good spirits, with movement in his extremities,” according to Da Prato.

Running back Brian Battie recorded his third straight 100-yard game, with 145 on the ground, and is within 127 yards of the school’s 10th 1,000-yard rushing season.

In its home finale Friday, ninth-place Tulsa (3-7, 1-5) will try to avoid slipping into last place by improving on offense. Behind quarterbacks Davis Brin and Braylon Braxton, the Golden Hurricane offense generated just 207 yards in Saturday’s 26-10 loss to Memphis. The pair combined to go 17 of 37 for 176 passing yards.

Through its first three games, Tulsa’s offense topped FBS schools with over 43 points per game and 413 passing yards per game, but it has regressed with Brin’s injuries and Braxton’s inconsistency.

“Early in the season, I thought we were hitting on all cylinders and things were coming together,” Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery said. “Where I thought this offense was going to be able to go is in a totally different end of the spectrum than where we are right now.”

USF holds a 3-2 edge in the all-time series, but Tulsa has won the past two meetings — 32-31 last season in Tampa and 42-13 in 2020 at Tulsa.

–Field Level Media

Sep 17, 2022; Gainesville, Florida, USA;South Florida Bulls head coach Jeff Scott prior to the game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

South Florida fires coach Jeff Scott

South Florida, in the midst of a 1-8 season, fired head football coach Jeff Scott on Sunday.

Special teams coordinator Daniel Da Prato was named interim head coach for the rest of the season.

“When Jeff came to Tampa in December of 2019, we had high expectations for where he could take our football program,” athletic director Michael Kelly said in a statement. “While he did so many things right, including rebuilding our culture, pushing forward our Indoor Performance Facility, and engaging our community, the on-the-field results fell well below our standards. He is a tremendous person and class individual and we wish him, Sara, Savannah and Hunter all the best in the future.”

The Bulls lost their seventh straight game Saturday when host Temple pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 54-28 win. South Florida is 0-5 against American Athletic Conference opponents and won its only game against Howard, an FCS opponent.

Scott was hired ahead of the 2020 season after serving as Clemson’s wide receivers coach, run game coordinator and co-offensive coordinator between 2008 and 2019. He originally signed a five-year deal and also inked a two-year extension following the 2021 season.

But South Florida went just 4-26 under Scott, including a paltry 1-19 in conference.

“I would like to thank our players, coaches and staff members for all their hard work during my time as the head coach at USF,” Scott said in a statement. “I especially want to thank USF President Rhea Law and Vice President/Director of Athletics Michael Kelly for giving me the incredible opportunity to lead the football program the last three years. I will miss this team and will do anything in my power to help them in the future. I am disappointed that our hard work didn’t translate to more success on the field, but I am confident that we have set a new foundation. I know the future of USF football is bright and my family and I will always remember our time at USF as a very special chapter in our lives.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 29, 2022; Annapolis, Maryland, USA; Temple Owls quarterback E.J. Warner (13) throws an interception in overtime against the Navy Midshipmen at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brent Skeen-USA TODAY Sports

Temple hosts USF as both teams search for first AAC win

Temple and South Florida are the only teams yet to win a game in American Athletic Conference play this season.

Off to 0-4 starts in league play, Temple and USF are hoping to emerge with the elusive AAC victory when the teams convene Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia.

Temple (2-6, 0-4 AAC) has dropped conference games to Memphis, Central Florida, Tulsa and Navy. The Owls absorbed a 70-13 loss to UCF on Oct. 13, took an early 10-point lead in a 27-16 loss at Tulsa and succumbed in overtime during last week’s 27-20 loss to Navy.

Amad Anderson Jr. caught a 20-yard touchdown for the Owls and finished with eight receptions for 114 yards. E.J. Warner, the son of Kurt Warner, completed 24 of 48 passes for 268 yards and was intercepted twice.

Perhaps the most encouraging sign came from the defense’s showing against Navy’s triple-option. The Owls conceded 224 yards from scrimmage — well below Navy’s 370 yards per game entering last week.

“We prepared very well for the triple-option,” Temple linebacker Jordan Magee said. “We just didn’t get the outcome.”

USF (1-7, 0-4) enters Saturday allowing a league-worst 38.1 points per game and a league-worst 488.4 yards per contest. The Bulls are also on a six-game losing streak since getting their only win over Howard on Sept. 10.

Since entering league play, USF has losses to East Carolina, Cincinnati, Tulane and Houston. After allowing three touchdowns in a span of 6:30 in the second half in its 45-31 loss to Tulane, the Bulls allowed 490 yards in last week’s 42-27 loss at Houston.

Katravis Marsh started at quarterback for the first time for the Bulls and completed 24 of 34 passes for a touchdown and 275 yards. He is expected to start again at Temple after starter Gerry Bohannon suffered a season-ending shoulder injury Oct. 15.

“Most improvement in the quarterback position is typically from the first game as a starter to that second game so I expect to see him build off of this performance and continue to improve next week and as we move forward,” USF coach Jeff Scott said.

Temple has won five of eight all-time meetings, though USF recorded a 34-14 home win last season.

–Field Level Media

Sep 24, 2022; Louisville, Kentucky, USA;  South Florida Bulls quarterback Gerry Bohanon (11) looks to pass against the Louisville Cardinals during the second quarter at Cardinal Stadium. Louisville defeated South Florida 41-3. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

South Florida QB Gerry Bohanon (shoulder) done for season

South Florida quarterback Gerry Bohanon will undergo season-ending surgery on his passing shoulder, coach Jeff Scott said Tuesday.

Bohanon injured the right shoulder during the second quarter of South Florida’s 45-31 loss to Tulane last Saturday.

Bohanon was hurt during a running play.

Bohanon passed for 1,070 yards, six touchdowns and six interceptions in seven games this season. He also rushed for 386 yards and three scores.

Katravis Marsh will move into the starting role. Marsh completed 7 of 15 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns after replacing Bohanon against Tulane.

Marsh has passed for 521 yards, three touchdowns and six interceptions in 11 appearances over the past three seasons. He has started two games.

Bohanon was in his first season with the Bulls after transferring from Baylor. He has one season of eligibility remaining.

The Bulls (1-6, 0-3 AAC) have a bye this week before visiting Houston on Oct. 29.

–Field Level Media

Sep 30, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA;  Tulane Green Wave quarterback Kai Horton (12) looks to pass the ball during the first quarter against the Tulane Green Wave at TDECU Stadium in Houston, Texas. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Tulane takes elite defense to South Florida

Tulane is one victory away from becoming bowl eligible.

South Florida isn’t likely to go bowling, but it is coming off one of its best performances of the season as it prepares to host the Green Wave in an American Athletic Conference game Saturday in Tampa.

Tulane (5-1, 2-0) had a school-record streak of three straight bowl appearances snapped when it plummeted to a 2-10 record last season. But it has bounced back strong.

The Green Wave defense is ranked No. 4 nationally against the pass (151.0 yards per game), No. 7 in scoring (13.3 points per game) and No. 15 in total yards (286.2).

“We’re doing a good job of keeping things in front of us,” head coach Willie Fritz said. “We’re doing a good job tackling and playing with leverage.”

Tulane opened eyes last month with a 14-10 road victory against Kansas State, which is now ranked No. 17. Now the Green Wave are receiving votes in the Associated Press poll.

“I think we’re the last team that should be looking ahead,” Fritz said. “I remember last year.”

The Bulls (1-5, 0-2) already have played three ranked teams. Last week they led then-No. 24 Cincinnati in the fourth quarter before falling 28-24 on the road.

It was similar to a 31-28 loss at then No. 18 Florida on Sept. 17, which started USF’s current four-game losing streak.

“We’ve shown that we can play at a very high level against two good teams on the road,” Bulls coach Jeff Scott said. “We’ve had to play at a high level each and every week.”

USF did not respond well to the loss to Florida, losing 41-3 at Louisville the next week.

“We’ve got to respond a lot better,” Scott said. “We’ve got to learn from what happened between Florida and Louisville and make sure that doesn’t happen between Cincinnati and Tulane.”

The Bulls are playing at home for the first time since Sept. 10, when they defeated Howard 42-20. Their Oct. 1 game against East Carolina was moved to Boca Raton because of Hurricane Ian.

–Field Level Media