TAMPA, SEPT. 10, 2022– The USF football team posted its first win of the 2022 campaign using a dominating rushing performance alongside three turnovers from the defense to post a 42-20 victory over Howard at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday Night.
The Bulls improved their record to 1-1 giving them momentum going into next week’s contest at No. 12 Florida.
USF logged six rushing touchdowns, its most in a game since posting six at Charleston Southern in 2003, and 205 yards on the ground in a strong performance from the offensive line and several running backs, four of whom scored touchdowns.
Sophomore Brian Battie led the offense with 105 rushing yards, logging his third career 100-yd rushing game on just seven carries (15 ypc) and a career long 60-yard touchdown scamper. Senior Jaren Mangham logged 28 rushing yards with two touchdowns, posting his 17tth and 18th USF career rushing touchdown to tie him for eighth all-time at USF. Junior Clemson transfer Michel Dukes posted 34 rushing yards while logging his first USF career touchdowns, one in the second quarter and another on a 28-yard run in the third.
Meanwhile, the defense handled things on their end by forcing three turnovers, equaling their most posted in a game in the 2021 season. Sophomore safety Jayden Curry, making his first career start for an injured Matthew Hill, posted an interception and a fumble recovery.
Howard started off strong and kept the game close in the opening half, getting an interception on the Bulls’ opening possession. The Bison then marched 80 yards on their second possession for the game’s opening score on an 18-yard touchdown run from Kasey Hawthorne.
The lead was short lived as the USF defense made a statement in the second quarter. The Bulls forced fumbles on the Bison’s next two possessions. Defensive end Jatorian Hansford forced his first career fumble, recovered by Curry on the USF40. The Bulls took advantage going 63-yards and scoring on a Mangham two-yard plunge to tie the game, 7-7.
On the next Bison possession, safety T-Mac Simpson forced his first career fumble, which was recovered by Rashawn Yates for his career first recovery at the USF 41. Quarterback Gerry Bohanon drove the Bulls 59 yards, sealing the deal with a handoff to Dukes for a 7-yard touchdown to push the USF lead to 14-7 at the half.
USF continued to build momentum in the second half, steamrolling Howard for 150 of the Bulls 205 rushing yards on the night. Curry posted his first career interception midway into the third quarter and the Bulls capitalized, driving 25 yards to stretch the lead to 21-7 with a rushing touchdown by Mangham.
Howard was able to create a touchdown drive at the end of the third quarter to make the score 21-14, but the spark was short lived as the Bulls scored three unanswered touchdowns to make the final score 42-20 after drives of 61, 69 and 54 yards. The Bulls scored touchdowns on six of seven possessions around halftime to seal the win.
The defense was led by linebacker DJ Gordon, starting in place of an injured Antonio Grier, with career highs of seven tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.
• The Bulls rushed for 205 yards, 150 of which came in the second half
• The USF defense collected three turnovers in the game, equaling the team’s most posted in the 2021 season (done three times)
• USF logged 6 rushing touchdowns, which is the most in a game since posting 6 vs. Charleston Southern in 2003.
• RB Jaren Mangham rushed for his 17th & 18th USF career rushing touchdown which ties him for 8th all- time on the USF charts.
• RB Brian Battie posted a career high for his longest run with a 60-yard touchdown scamper in the 4th quarter. Battie posted his third career 100-yd rushing game, leading the Bulls with seven carries for 105 yards, one touchdown and 15 yards per carry.
• DT Rashad Cheney posted a career high in tackles with six.
“What stands out the most about this game is the way our guys responded in the second half. Obviously, I don’t know what it is, just this time of year, there’s a lot of upsets out there today, and all of a sudden find yourself in a seven-point game at the half. You know, it was going to be a big challenge and an opportunity for us to learn a lot about this year’s team and how they were going to respond. If they were going to point fingers and be separate, or whether they’re going to come together and really go play at a higher level in the second half.
“I really challenged them at halftime and at the end of the game, so ultimately, we decided about how we play up front on both sides, defensive line and offensive line. I know we had 11 tackles for loss and three sacks, the majority of them were probably in the second half. Offensively, we were really able to run the ball in the second half. So, just really proud of how our guys responded there in the second half. It was really a tale of two halves, honestly. Offensively, really pleased. Six rushing touchdowns, like it’s the first time in a long time there, but really by four different runners.”
Head Coach Jeff Scott
USF will travel for their first away game of the 2022 season next Saturday when they head to Gainsville to face the No. 12-ranked Gators in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff on the SEC Network.
ABOUT USF FOOTBALL The USF football program first took the field in 1997 and celebrated its 25th season in 2021 while breaking ground on a $22 million Indoor Performance Facility. The Bulls have posted 15 winning seasons, earned 16 All-America selections, including 2021 consensus All-American Brian Battie, and 31 first-team all-conference selections. USF has had 30 players selected in the NFL Draft and has made 10 bowl games appearances (going 6-4 in those games), posting a program-record six straight appearances from 2005-2010 and most recently making four straight bowl appearances from 2015-18. The Bulls posted back-to-back 10-win seasons in 2016 and 2017, logging a program-record 11-2 mark in 2016 while finishing both seasons ranked in the Top 25. USF spent a program-record 20 straight weeks ranked in the Top 25 during the 2016 and 2017 seasons and reached as high as No. 2 in the national rankings during the 2007 season.
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– #GoBulls –
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