Only days remain before USF (9-1) travels to Orlando to face No. 15 UCF (10-0) in the War on I-4, which kicks off at 3:30 p.m. on Friday at Spectrum Stadium.
Contrary to years past, the winner of the matchup will play in the AAC Championship on Dec. 2.
Just making it to the AAC Championship would be a first in USF program history, as the Bulls have never played in — let alone won — a conference championship.
“Our guys know and understand what’s at stake,” USF coach Charlie Strong said. “We need to continue to play well, and we just need to put together a complete game, which we haven’t done yet.”
The meeting between the Bulls and Knights will be the first ever with both teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. Though neither No. 22 USF nor No. 15 UCF’s seasons will be over with a loss as both teams are eligible for a bowl game, the loser will have to sit out of the conference championship game and miss out on any chance of making a New Year’s Six bowl.
“I don’t think ruining their season is our goal,” linebacker Auggie Sanchez said. “I think an American Athletic Championship is our goal. They’re the next one up and they’re a very good team.
The Bulls control their own destiny. USF will be playing as the underdogs in this game, as UCF is undefeated and have beat its opponents by an average of 27 points per game.
With a battle tested 23-man senior class that has been working toward a conference championship for years leading the way, the Bulls will be focused on one thing Friday.
“The key thing for us next week is that we just have to be ourselves,” Strong said. “It’s going to be a wild atmosphere, it’s going to be unbelievable but the thing about it is, when all that settles down, you have to play the game. With all the build up, you just can’t get caught up in it.”
Freshman wide receiver arrested on a felony sexual battery charge
USF freshman wide receiver Kevaughn Dingle was arrested by University Police (UP) late Friday morning on a felony sexual battery charge.
Dingle, 18, was released on a $7,500 bond Saturday, according to Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office records. A UP release indicated that around 1 a.m. Friday, UP received a call of a possible sexual battery occurring at the Holly C Residence Hall.
According to the release, the incident reportedly occurred at noon Thursday. Based on the information gathered, officers “developed sufficient cause” to charge Dingle with sexual battery, according to the release.
No statement has been made by USF.
Sanchez sets new tackle record against Tulsa
Sanchez set the new record for career tackles as a USF Bull after recording 14 tackles in the Bulls 27-20 victory over Tulsa at Raymond James Stadium on Thursday.
The two-time second-team all-conference selection has now recorded 367 tackles as a Bull with at least two more games to increase his total.
“It meant a lot,” Sanchez said. “I’ve been coming after that record since I got here and it was something I wanted to accomplish. To do it on senior night, in front of my family, in front of all our fans, it was something special. It’s a moment that will last forever in my life.”
Sanchez, a redshirt senior, started his career as a fullback his freshman year. Sanchez was moved to linebacker in his second year on the team and has been a staple in the USF defense ever since, recording 63 tackles as a redshirt freshman, then 112 and 116 tackles in his last two seasons.