Ryeshene Bronson caught three passes in USF’s 35-23 loss to Cincinnati on Saturday, but none of them were as big as his first.
Not just because it was a 72-yard touchdown reception — though that certainly helped — but because Bronson caught it one-handed.
“Honestly, the ball was underthrown, so I was trying to swipe from under me,” Bronson said. “Like pass [the defender] up, so I could go under him and catch the ball. But, somehow, when I did it, my right arm got stuck in his arm … when the ball hit, I just snatched it off. I looked at him to get separation from him. As I get separation from him, I see that I’ve got the ball.”
Bronson’s catch even impressed his teammates.
“It was incredible,” guard William Atterbury said. “You see both the defenders stopped. Both of them had no idea where the ball was and he reached around the dude. I had a guy in my eyesight, so I didn’t actually see him at first, but then you just see him running down and you’re like, ‘Hey!’ It was an awesome feeling.”
Offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert said Bronson’s catch was a result of hard work in practice.
“Those are things that have continued to show up for us in practice with him,” Gilbert said. “He’s a guy that’s just worked his way back in since being banged up early on in the season, coming off last year’s injury as well.”
The touchdown reception was Bronson’s first since 2016 after being forced to sit out the 2017 season due to an injury he sustained toward the end of fall camp.
“The last time I caught a touchdown was 2016,” Bronson said. “I finally got one in 2018 and I’m trying to get more as the season goes.”
The senior wide receiver said he considers all of his touchdowns to be “a blessing from God,” but this most recent one is his favorite.
“It just gave me a spark to fight,” Bronson said. “It gave me more confidence in myself. I already had confidence, but it just built up even higher.”
Bronson’s effort Saturday was not his first explosive reception for a touchdown. In fact, all of his touchdown receptions at USF have been explosive plays — which USF considers to be a play of 20 or more yards. Bronson’s career touchdowns have gone for 75, 42, 73 and 72 yards respectively.
The catch even appeared on SportsCenter, sparking reaction from friends and family, but one in particular caught his attention.
“The one that made me really happy the most was my big brother,” Bronson said. “In the text message he said, ‘Every night, I pray that you’ll accomplish your goals in life.’ That kind of warmed me up. Me and my brother talk all the time. He’s a big factor in my life, I really look up to him.”