Bulls somehow pull out a close one against Tulsa

by Gary Shelton on October 13, 2018 · 0 comments

in College Sports in Florida, general, USF

McCants set up the winning field goal with a 32-yard catch./JEFFREY S. KING

Saturday, 3 a.m.

For their next trick, the USF Bulls will wear a straight jacket, and they'll be blindfolded, and they 'll be immersed upside down into a water tank.

Also, they will be behind by a couple of touchdowns.

And then we will see if they can pull out another win.

The escape artists known as the USF Bulls managed another final-reel victory Friday night, coming from two touchdowns behind to win 25-24 on a 22-yard field goal by Coby Weiss with two seconds to go. USF's winning score was set up with a frenetic last-minute drive without time outs that was highlighted by Tyre McCants' 32-yard catch of a Blake Barnett pass. USF is now 6-0, as wobbly as the journey has been.

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"The thing about him is that he is so strong and he is elusive," USF coach Charlie Strong said about the 5-foot-11, 240-pound McCants. "When you tackle him you'd better wrap up because he's going to break away."

For the Bulls, there have been different stars for different games. It was Blake Barnett. Then it was Terrance Horne. Then it was Jordan Cronkrite. This one will be remembered for McCants' catch.

Yeah, it was another narrow win for the Bulls, who left a lot to be desired. The Bulls sputtered for most of the night, and Tulsa held a two-touchdown lead going into the final period.

But college football is a bottom-line business, and the Bulls won. They kept alive their unbeaten season, and their hopes of rising in the top 25 (they are 23rd), and they remained one of three unbeaten teams in the AAC East.

“The thing about these guys is they just don’t quit," Strong said. "We were down 14 with less than 10 minutes to go in the game and we get in there and get us a drive put together. If there is a bigger player than Wilcox and McCants, I’d love to see them. Those guys came down with some big catches and Blake made the throws at the right time. I’m just so happy and so proud of this team and the way they battled.”

For the Bulls, the game kept alive their streak of last-quarter heroics. They were down 10 points to Georgia Tech and won, down by 12 to Illinois and won, tied with East Carolina and won and now down by 14 to Tulsa and won.

"I told our guys, we didn't know who our kicker was, but we know who he is now," Strong said.

Barnett in particular had a tough first three quarters. He was briefly benched late in the third period. For the night, he hit only 17 of 39 passes (for 237 yards). But he ran for two scores in the final period and picked up two key third-downs on scrambles. He also led the Bulls 52 yards downfield for the winning field goal after taking over the ball 57 yards away with no time outs.

Running back Jordan Cronkrite had 151 yards rushing for the Bulls including a 66-yard touchdown.

"It was great that we were able to pull this game out when we have a national audience when a lot of people were able to see us," Strong said.

The defense played better for the Bulls, but they were gashed in the third period. After Cronkrite's long run tied the game, the Bulls gave up two straight touchdown drives. Tulsa went 69 and 88 yards for its third-period touchdowns.

On those two drives, the Hurricane had eight runs of 10 yards or more and picked up a third-and-three, a third-and-seven and a third-and-12.

UF will be home next Saturday to play against UConn.  The game will begin at 7 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium.

 

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