TULSA, Okla. — No. 23 USF football dramatically held off Tulsa on Friday night, defeating the Golden Hurricane 25-24 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, thanks in large part to an unlikely hero.
Coby Weiss, who was not USF’s first-string kicker until Week 2 of the season, lined up for a 22-yard field goal with five seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and the Bulls down by two points.
Weiss made a 22-yard field goal in the first quarter and kicked an extra point following Jordan Cronkrite’s 66-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, but just seven minutes prior to the game-winning field goal attempt, Weiss had an extra point blocked.
Now he was the man asked to save the day and prevent USF (6-0, 2-0) from being upset by a one-win Tulsa (1-5, 0-3) team.
“I was just ready to go out there and kick it,” Weiss said. “I mentally do a thousand reps every night before I go to bed and I always kick a game-winner. So, I had kicked that kick a thousand times in my head, so I was just ready to do it.”
During the game, including the game-winning field goal, Weiss played with a cast on his arm after sustaining an injury against UMass on Oct. 6 on a hit that was ruled to be targeting.
“I had surgery this week, so I didn’t really practice as much this week,” Weiss said. “I had to ignore [the cast], just pretend it wasn’t there — just do what I normally do.”
Coach Charlie Strong praised Weiss for stepping up and winning the kicking job, especially after competing for it against Jake Stone and Jake Vivonetto during fall camp.
“At the beginning of the year, we didn’t even know who our kicker was going to be,” Strong said. “It was good just to see that Coby has taken over the kicking duties.
“Him stepping up there and making that, it was really big. I told our guys in [the locker room] … ‘We didn’t know who our kicker was.’ They said, ‘Well, we know who he is now.’”
Since taking over the kicking duties, Weiss is 6-of-8 on field goals and 19-of-21 on extra points, but none were as high pressure as a game-winner.
But it wasn’t the first time Weiss found himself in a situation where his team needed him to step up with the game on the line.
“In high school, four years ago, it was the same week, Oct. 10, we were playing the Hurricanes, the crosstown rivals — big game,” Weiss said. “The game came down to a field goal. [I] kicked it, won the city championship, it was awesome.
“I guess I have a thing for Hurricanes.”