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Mess with the Bulls, you get the Horne

Terrence Horne Jr. celebrates as he runs into the end zone on his second consecutive kickoff return for a touchdown Saturday. 

All of his teammates know he’s fast.

Terrence Horne Jr. won the Florida 4A 100-meter state championship for Miramar High School this spring with a 10.48 second time, but that wasn’t even his personal best, which is 10.29 seconds.

Against Georgia Tech, however, Horne was not running against other track stars, nor was he running against a clock. This time, he was running a kickoff back for USF’s football team.

He made history in USF’s 49-38 win over Georgia Tech.

Horne became just the 25th player in FBS history to return two kickoffs for a touchdown in one game. The last time that happened was Oct., 4, 2014 when Trevor Davis returned two kickoffs for California against Washington State.

According to his teammates, Horne should have had a third return, but he was tripped up by a shoestring tackle on his first return.

“He was supposed to have three, but he only had two (returns),” senior cornerback Ronnie Hoggins said.

Horne’s first return was 34 yards. After he got up from the tackle, he clapped his hands together loudly — he also knew he could outrun the field on that return.

“I was running too fast (on the first one),” Horne said. “So when (the Georgia Tech player) hit me, it threw my whole equilibrium off.”

Horne received some advice and words of encouragement from team veterans after his first return.

Junior wide receiver-turned-defensive back DeAngelo Antoine told Horne to be patient on his next return. Antoine stood back as a second return man Saturday.

“(Antoine) told me to slow down and follow him,” Horne said. “So I followed him and I just broke through and scored.”

On Horne’s first touchdown, Antoine led his teammate the whole way down the field. The veteran kept looking back at Horne, then picked up a key block, opening up a hole for the freshman to run through.

Antoine ran alongside Horne, pumping his fist in the air as his teammate scored.

On the second return, however, Antoine had one block near the 20-yard line. Horne bumped off a pile of players, then took the corner and blazed past each of Georgia Tech’s defenders.

Hoggins also helped motivate Horne.

“I told him ‘meet me’,” Hoggins said. “And he said ‘zoom’. He’s the fastest guy in this ball club — he can fly.”

Horne also got a chance to play wide receiver where he scored another touchdown on a three-yard pass from Blake Barnett.

Horne scored three of the Bulls’ seven touchdowns against Georgia Tech.

“It felt great knowing I could contribute to this team on the return game and as a wide receiver,” Horne said. “It feels great knowing the coaches trust me as a true freshman to go out and help the team get victories.”

Hoggins, the senior leader on defense, complimented his whole team on their effort against the Yellow Jackets, but highlighted Horne’s performance.

“It was a big boy game. It’s a man’s game and men showed up today,” Hoggins said. “I told (Horne), ‘big time players make big time plays in big time games…when you’re going to be fast, you’ve got to be fast all the time.”

The freshman’s weekend performance went viral. ESPN posted a video that currently had about 175,000 views in about 24 hours.

“My phone has been ringing non-stop,” Horne said.

On USF’s official website, Horne is listed at 5 feet 7 inches tall, but was quick to inform reporters he is now an inch taller, putting him at 5 feet 8 inches.

Horne said there were two ways he could tell he was going to score touchdowns when the Bulls were behind. The first, he said, was the roar of the crowd. When that happened, he knew he would run alone into the end zone.

“I also looked up at the big screen on top,” Horne said. “We were down at the time and we needed it big. When my number was called, I showed up.”