Another week, another slow first half against a lesser opponent, but another win for the the South Florida Bulls. This time, Jordan Cronkrite set a school record with 302 rushing yards to lead the Bulls to a 58-42 win over the UMass Minutement at McGuirk Alumni Stadium in Amherst.
Cronkrite’s effort, the first 300-yard rushing day in USF history, broke Marlon Mack and Andre Hall’s previous school record of 275 yards. Cronkrite also set an American Athletic Conference rushing record, and he scored three times in the third quarter as the Bulls scored 28 points to break open an uncomfortably close game.
USF got off to a fast start when quarterback Blake Barnett found wide receiver Tyre McCants behind the Minutemen secondary for a 72-yard touchdown on the Bulls’ first official play from scrimmage.
UMass responded just as quickly when quarterback Andrew Ford found wide receiver Brennon Dingle for a 31-yard score. Missed tackles plagued USF on this play, this drive, and really throughout the game.
The Bulls offense was disjointed throughout the first half, and the offensive line continued to have trouble protecting Barnett. True freshman Donovan Jennings earned his first career start in place of a benched Eric Mayes at left tackle, but he also had some major struggles during the game.
Once again the USF defense made big plays to help avoid a catastrophe. This week the special teams chipped in as well. The Bulls forced five turnovers and scored a touchdown when Vincent Davis laid a scary hit on Minutemen kick returner Marquis Young, then recovered Young’s fumble and ran it into the end zone.
The Bulls eventually got in gear on offense, led by Cronkrite. His touchdown runs of 77, 30, and 72 yards helped USF to build a 48-21 lead. From there UMass took advantage of soft Bulls defense to make the final score somewhat respectable.
USF (5-0) will now travel to Tulsa for a Friday night matchup. The game starts at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
- The 100 combined points were the second-most in a USF football game. The Bulls’ 68-37 win over Liberty in 2001 (105 total points) remains the record.
- WR Darnell Salomon (ankle) did not travel with the team. USF believe it’s a short-term injury.
- RB Trevon Sands will miss the first half of Friday night’s game at Tulsa game due to a targeting call early in the first quarter.
- There were several vicious hits doled out by both teams. Along with Sands’ targeting penalty and Davis’s savage hit on Dixon, UMass CB and Tampa native Isaiah Rodgers laid a horrible cheap shot on USF kicker Coby Weiss during an extra point shortly before hal. Rodgers was ejected. Weiss was OK and somehow made the kick anyway.
- RB Johnny Ford rushed for 77 yards and two touchdowns.
- Barnett finished the day 17 for 24 for 209 yards, with the TD to McCants and one INT.
- UMass used three different quarterbacks. Andrew Ford was 19 for 27 for 199 yards and two TDs. Backup Ross Comis threw for 172 and ended up leading UMass with 50 rushing yards. Comis left the game injured on the Minutemen’s final drive, and third-stringer Michael Curtis finished their last garbage-time effort with a TD.