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Notebook: USF receiving unit back to full strength

The Bulls’ offense got two of its biggest playmakers back in time for Saturday’s homecoming game against Cincinnati.

In his first game back after a three-week foot injury, wide receiver DeAngelo Antoine caught 3 passes for a team high 50-yards and tacked on a 12-yard rush. 

“Deangelo has a big impact on this offense,” quarterback Quinton Flowers said. “He’s quick, he’s fast. You just give him a chance to make a catch, and that’s what I was doing today. He’s a guy that’s going to come to you and tell you how he feels and to get him the ball. That’s the type of receiver you want to have on your team.”

Against Illinois, Antoine caught 6 passes for 93 yards, but had been absent from the games against Temple and East Carolina. Along with the four touches in his return, however, four penalties were called against him in the first quarter — two holding, one unsportsmanlike conduct and one false start.

Also returning from injury was wide receiver Darnell Salomon. Like Antoine, Salomon missed the East Carolina and Temple games. In his return, he caught four passes for 40 yards.

 

Shaky red zone offense, consistent red zone kicker

 

The Bulls’ red zone struggles were prevalent once again Saturday night. The offense failed to reach the end zone in its first three trips inside the Bearcats 20-yard line, but converted on its last two.

While the Bulls settled for field goals, kicker Emilio Nadelman was perfect on his kicks once again. 

Scoring 15 points against Cincinnati, the senior kicker was 4-for-4 on his field goals and made each of his point after touchdown (PAT)  attempts. Nadelman has now gone three games without missing a field-goal and has converted on his last 11-attempts. He has made 14 of 15 field goals this season. 

“I try to stay calm,” Nadelman said. “I try to go out there when my team needs me. I go out there and make kicks.”

His teammates tell him before each kick, “Just make it.”

 

Sanchez’s interception, Bulls’ defense leads

 

The old saying “A great defense is the best offense,” was in full effect Saturday for USF. The Bulls, on an untimed down for Cincinnati, scored a defensive touchdown to end the first half.

On the play, linebacker Auggie Sanchez intercepted a pass from Cincinnati quarterback Hayden Moore, then zigzagged up the field 65 yards for a touchdown, increasing the Bulls’ lead to 20 points. 

The Bulls took the momentum from the turnover into the second half and shutout the Bearcats for the remainder of the game. 

The Bulls’ defense forced a fumble later in the game and held the Cincinnati offense to 95 yards rushing. 

With ranked teams losing earlier in the week, USF has the potential to jump in the rankings after posting another victory. After San Diego State’s loss Saturday night, the Bulls control their own destiny and can make it to a New-Year’s-Six Bowl if they win out.