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Bulls host Temple in key battle for post-season hopes

Florida Football Insiders

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Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
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A critical game for the USF Bulls potential postseason hopes will get underway Thursday night at Raymond James Stadium and on national TV.

That’s when USF will take on Temple in an American Conference East Division Showdown:

The Bulls come off of an easy 45 – 20 win at East Carolina for their third victory in the last four games and their run game is a big reason why.

Senor and former Gator transfer Jordan Cronkrite is once again putting together tremendous numbers, recently. This as, he has run for over 100 yards in all three of those wins. In fact, Cronkrite has tallied 75 or more yards and 4.5 yards or better average in all of the Bulls last four games.

This comes on the heels of their first four games of the year, when Cronkrite didn’t have more than 30 yards rushing in any of them and USF went 1 – 3. In fairness, Cronkite is healthier now than he was in the beginning of the season and is showing explosiveness between the tackles.

Offensive coordinator Kerwin Bell wants to utilize the run to help offset the shaky quarterback play that the Bulls have had for much of the year. Part of that is freshman, Jordan McCloud’s injuries that included: a wrist and shoulder problem earlier in the season. Then he had an ankle injury which took him out of the second half of the East Carolina game.

Meanwhile for Temple, they come in at 5 – 3 but off back-to-back blowout losses at SMU and at home to UCF. The Knights in particular torched them for 63 points in their last game. However, Owls quarterback Anthony Russo has been solid with 16 touchdowns and just six interceptions on the season.

Temple does have wins out of the conference against in Maryland and Georgia Tech in September and also upset Memphis back in October for the Tigers only loss of the season.

Back to the Bulls. They need a victory tonight to get to five wins before the gauntlet of playing Cincinnati Memphis and at UCF  to finish their season. A potential bowl game seemed far, far away when USF and coach Charlie Strong was blown out early by Wisconsin and SMU.

However, give the Bulls credit, they’ve played hard and won some games to make themselves relevant. Still, those are arguably the three best teams in the American Conference, right now, to end the season after tonight. And, they all will all be looking to win to get into the championship game.

Again, time for USF to take care of business.

USF Bulls

Cincinnati last second field goal capped rally over USF

Florida Football Insiders

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The USF Bulls did a lot of things right on Saturday night, but could not finish off 17th ranked Cincinnati. And, the Bearcats rallied for a clutch eighth consecutive win, 20 – 17.

Bearcats senior kicker Sam Crosa (above) booted a 37 yard game winning field goal with no time left, as Cincinnati rallied from a 10-point first-half deficit to improve to 6 – 0 on the American Conference season.

Crosa, who won the Bearcats games at East Carolina two weeks ago with no time left, capped an 11 play 60 yard drive in the final minute and a half of the game. That came on the heels of USF freshman kicker Spencer Shrader having missed from 32 yards out on a kick that would have allowed the Bulls to re-take the lead.

Shrader had three other costly misses in the game- all in the first half, including a 43-yarder as time ran out.

The Bulls had raced out to a 10 – 0 lead early, being led by freshman quarterback Jordan McCloud. USF went 71 yards in just eight plays on their opening drive. Trevon Sands scored on a four yard run to make it 7-0. Shrader made it 10-0 with a 28 yard field goal later in the second quarter.

USF’s defense only allowed a measly 78 yards passing and had five sacks. But, the Bearcats rally was led on the ground by Michael Warren II who tallied 134 yards and a TD. Cincy rushed for 200 yards as a team.

Cincinnati keeps its hopes alive for a potential “New Year’s Six bowl game, as they are the highest-ranked “Group of Five” conference team, currently at 17th in the College Football Playoff rankings. The Bearcats control their own destiny needing only to win their remaining two games, and they will host the American Championship game on December 7th.

With the loss, USF drops to 4 – 6 on the season and the debate about whether third-year coach Charlie Strong will keep his job continues. The Bulls have lost 12 of their last 16 games dating back to last season. They must win both of their remaining games with Memphis and UCF to go to a bowl game.

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USF Bulls

Bulls host #17 Cincinnati as part of our primer

Jamil King

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Week 12 of college football season has arrived, and it presents us with a few interesting games and story lines. Bowl game sand coaches will be in the spotlight this week from Tallahassee all the way to Tampa.

Florida State is coming off of an emotional win last week in Boston. Now, they are a win away from becoming bowl eligible. Under the guidance of Odell Haggins, the Noles have been able to play inspired football over the three games. With Alabama State coning into town, all signs point to an FSU win.

RB Cam Akers had an off game last week but should erupt here. James Blackman was back at QB and reestablished himself as QB1. Expect the Noles to put up a lot of yards and points here and give the fans something to be happy about.

The Florida Gators will head to Missouri, looking to keep hope alive. The Gators need to win out and hope Georgia drops their last two conference games to win the SEC East. The offense rolled last week against Vandy as the defense flexed their muscles. The Tigers come in with a top 10 passing defense and will look to give Kyle Trask problems.

The Gators have struggled on the ground this season but will need RB Lamical Perine to have a good game to leave Columbia with a win. Tigers QB Kelly Bryant is expected to return this week to an offense that desperately needs him.

The Gators haven’t faced a true dual-threat quarterback like Bryant this year. The chess match between he and the defense will be something to watch. Last season Mizzou came into the Swamp and took it to the Gators. Dan Mullen would love nothing more than to return the favor this season.

USF will play host to the 17th ranked Cincinnati Bearcats. The Bulls have struggled this season to do anything on offense. On defense, the Bulls have struggled to stop the run on defense as well. Cincinnati will look to run the ball and often having the 31st ranked rushing offense. USF will be playing for bowl eligibility, needing to win two of the last three games. They are also playing for Charlie Strongs job as well.

Strong is on the hot seat, and it seems to be getting warmer by the week. The Bulls come in as home underdogs with the Bearcat’s two-touchdown favorites. The Bulls will need to empty the playbook here in need of a significant win.

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