USF’s 65-27 thumping of Cincinnati in 2015 was not only a monumental victory for the Bulls, but also one that gave running back D’Ernest Johnson a season’s worth of bragging rights.
D’Ernest's brother, Tshumbi Johnson is a slot receiver for Cincinnati who he talks with on a daily basis. Following last year’s win in which D’Ernest had 100 all-purpose yards, the junior running back was quick to give his brother a call.
“He said we came out and hit them in the mouth, and we got the best of them, but next year they’ll be ready,” D’Ernest said.
After trailing 51-3 entering halftime against the Bulls in 2015, the Bearcats are looking to even the score.
For the Johnson brothers, the stakes are even higher.
“It’s always personal,” D’Ernest said. “Every time we get ready to play each other like last year, we talk a lot of trash to each other. He’ll call me and say, ‘Oh, we’re gonna beat you all this week.’
“Last year he talked a lot of trash and we went out there and did our job. So, it’s very personal because he’ll probably call me tonight and talk a little trash because they’ll have probably watched film on us and they’re trying to get back on us because we won last year.”
But despite any extra motivation Cincinnati may have about playing the Bulls again, coach Willie Taggart said his team is also fired up coming off its loss to Florida State.
“We better come motivated,” Taggart said. “We’ve got another game, another opportunity. We can’t wait to play again after last week. We just wanna play and get that behind us. I think that’s the thing that sucks, when you lose you want to get back out and go.
“Our guys are going to be highly motivated, this is a conference game. We want to do something that’s never been done here before. If that’s the case, we better be motivated every single day from this point on.”
USF (3-1) travels to play Cincinnati (3-1) on Saturday at 7 p.m. to begin AAC play.
Coach Taggart ended Tuesday’s weekly press conference by announcing quarterback Asiantii Woulard is no longer with the team. Woulard, a former Elite 11 quarterback, transferred to USF after sitting out for two seasons at UCLA.
He fractured his foot in the final week of training camp just after falling behind redshirt freshman quarterback Brett Kean on the depth chart.
Also absent from practice on Tuesday was junior quarterback Quinton Flowers. Taggart said Flowers’ daughter was born yesterday and he was given the day off to meet her.