USF football’s best homecoming performances
Homecoming games haven’t been a fun affair for USF football over the last fews seasons, with its most recent win versus a homecoming opponent coming against BYU in 2019. The Bulls will look to get back in the win column for homecoming games Saturday night against Houston.
The Bulls haven’t had much success over the past couple of seasons, but they’ve had some memorable homecoming moments and victories over the course of the program’s history.
With the matchup against the Cougars rapidly approaching, here are USF’s five best homecoming game performances.
5. Homecoming 2018: USF 38, UConn 30
USF was enjoying one of the most prosperous periods for the program at the time of the game. The Bulls had won seven consecutive games dating back to the 2017 season and were ranked in the Top 25.
Following the game, USF would go on an eight-game losing streak that would last until Week 3 of the following season.
UConn, on the other hand, was one of the worst teams in the AAC averaging just 13.3 points per game and were seen as big underdogs going into Raymond James Stadium.
The Bulls rode a big rushing performance from freshman running back Johnny Ford and senior Jordan Cronkrite who rushed for over 100 yards. Ford finished with 164 yards and three touchdowns on just seven attempts averaging an eye-popping 23.4 yards per carry.
USF’s 611 yards of total offense still ranks in the top 10 all-time.
4. Homecoming 2019: USF 27, BYU 23
The most recent homecoming win was one of the more exciting games on this list as the Bulls came back from a double-digit deficit to earn the victory.
BYU jumped out to an early 13-0 and went into the half 16-7 but was held to just seven points in the second half and were shut out in the fourth quarter against a staunch Bulls defense that finished with 13 tackles for loss and six sacks.
Offensively, USF was once again led by a strong rushing attack headlined by Cronkrite who ran for 158 yards and two touchdowns, including the one that put the team ahead with 7:37 remaining. The Bulls had 243 of their 315 total yards on the ground.
The defense had to make one final defensive stand as BYU’s final drive of the game reached the USF 12-yard line. An Antonio Grier’s sack and Devin Studstill pass break up sealed the win.
3. Homecoming 2006: USF 22, Pittsburgh 12
The lone game from the Big East era to make the list, USF’s win over Pittsburgh was a dominant defensive performance.
Going into the matchup, the Panthers had the nation’s 29th ranked offense and one of its best quarterbacks — Tyler Palko. The Bulls held them to 214 yards.
Palko ended up leading the conference in pass completions, completion percentage, efficiency rating and passing touchdowns for the 2006 season, and was forced into three interceptions for just 159 yards.
While the defense dominated, USF’s offense, led by sophomore quarterback Matt Grothe, did just enough to come away with the win. Grothe completed 19 passes for 180 yards and touchdown in addition to rushing for 59 yards and another score.
2. Homecoming 2016: USF 38, ECU 22
A decade after that strong defensive outing against Pittsburgh, the evolution of USF’s program was on full display as the offense led the way in an up-and-down affair against ECU.
The Bulls totaled 556 yards behind a balanced offensive game plan led by junior quarterback Quinton Flowers, who accounted for 365 yards on his own.
Flowers wasn’t alone, however. Junior running and future NFL draft pick Marlon Mack had 152 rushing yards of his own to go along with two touchdowns. Rodney Adams also came up with seven receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown.
USF had 306 yards rushing and 250 through the air and five total touchdowns.
After holding a 24-6 lead in the third quarter, USF allowed the Pirates to get within two points of the lead but were able to separate themselves over the final six minutes of the game to lock up the win.
Additionally, the Bulls managed to extend multiple streaks at the time including 10 straight games of at least 35 points, 440 yards of total offense and the 11th consecutive game in which the team surpassed the 200-yard rushing mark.
1. Homecoming 2017: USF 33, Cincinnati 3
One of USF’s most complete performances in several years, the blowout win over Cincinnati is easily the most impressive homecoming performance in program history.
Flowers and company were dominant once again, putting up 402 yards of total offense, including 212 yards rushing with two touchdown passes. The senior quarterback led the team in both passing and rushing and surpassed the 3,000 career rushing yard mark.
The defense also showed out. In addition to not surrendering a touchdown to the Bearcats, senior linebacker Auggie Sanchez had a 65-yard interception return for the team’s 15th interception of the season.
With the win, USF tied the AP Poll-era record of consecutive 30-plus point games at 23, a mark they would eventually break in their next game against Tulane.