In his first career start, redshirt freshman quarterback Jordan McCloud and the USF offense were able to find their offensive fire power, and the defense forced a program-record eight turnovers as the Bulls easily dispatched the South Carolina State Bulldogs 55-16 for their first win in 329 days.
USF used a balanced offensive attack behind McCloud, who finished the night 16-for-27, for 217 yards and three touchdowns. He added an additional 56 yards on the ground, and two touchdowns. His five touchdowns accounted for are a program record for a freshmen in their first career start. The Bulls offense was able to gain 241 yards through the air, and 218 yards on the ground, true freshmen Kelley Joiner led the team with 68 rushing yards.
After an inauspicious start to the McCloud era with two consecutive three-and-outs, the quarterback settled in and found sophomore slot receiver Johnny Ford wide open for a 42-yard touchdown to give the Bulls a 7-3 lead.
“We got those two drives out of the way and we really just settled down after and just kept rolling and finally we started clicking and felt a lot better,” senior tight end Mitchell Wilcox said.
Wilcox set the record for most career touchdown receptions (8) by a tight end with his second quarter touchdown that gave the Bulls a 17-3 lead. Wilcox would add to his total with another score with two minutes left in the third quarter.
The Bulls forced a program record eight turnovers (five fumble recoveries). Walk-on Andrew Mims, starting in place of Patrick Macon who was serving a first half suspension due to his targeting call late in the game against Georgia tech, led the team in tackles with six and also forced a fumble.
The Bulls forced a fumble at their own one-yard line late in the second quarter and capped the first half off with an 11-play, 80-yard drive which resulted in McCloud’s first career rushing touchdown.
“We came out with the mentality that we were gonna play faster, because that’s what our offense is, so we played faster,” Ford said. “Now, we’re just getting it, so it’s starting to roll. It’s starting to click.”
- Johnny Ford hauled in four passes for 100 yards, including a fantastic 52-yard catch in the fourth quarter that he tipped to himself. He also added a 32-yard rushing touchdown.
- Greg Reaves had two fumble recoveries, Bentlee Sanders, Damaruez Bellamy, and Brian Norris all had one a piece.
- Coby Weiss and Spencer Shrader both went 1/1 with field goals tonight, Weiss from 20 yards, and Shrader from 34 yards.
- Blake Barnett went 2 for 6 for 24 yards and one touchdown.
- Jordan Cronkrite left the game in the 3rd quarter with an apparent knee injury and his status is currently unknown.
The Bulls will get a bye week to recover and recuperate before returning to Raymond James Stadium on September 28th to face SMU. The Mustangs are coming off of a 47-17 victory over Texas State, and are 3-0 this season.