USF football won a narrow game against UConn 24-21, almost losing its seven-game losing streak against the team.
After scoring at the 10 minute mark in the first quarter, USF failed to score again until the beginning of the fourth quarter.
The last time the Bulls lost against UConn was in 2011.
Despite the close game, USF relied on senior running back Nay’Quan Wright’s pivotal role in the victory.
Wright finished with 26 carries for 186 yards and two touchdowns. It’s his second consecutive 100-yard performance and third this season.
Bulls coach Alex Golesh said he challenged Wright over the last four weeks to work harder at developing his leadership abilities and elevating the rest of the roster.
In Golesh’s eyes, Wright answered the challenge.
“He’s been that physical tough presence we’ve needed and he’s earned the right to lead in a lot of ways. …he’s worked really hard to get his process right. And now he’s seen it pay off,” Golesh said.
With this win over the Huskies (1-6), the Bulls (4-4, 2-2 AAC) matched former coach Jeff Scott’s total from his three-year tenure from 2020-22.
The Bulls would strike first with a one-yard touchdown run by Wright — his fourth of the season.
UConn scored its first touchdown of the game in the second quarter when junior quarterback Ta’Quan Roberson ran 24 yards for the score.
Going scoreless in the third quarter, a nine-play, 75-yard drive in the fourth quarter brought the Bulls within striking distance at 21-17.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Byrum Brown scored USF’s first touchdown since the 10-minute mark in the first quarter.
The offense took the field again down by four late in the fourth quarter.
USF marched down the field in a 90-yard drive capped off by a four-yard rushing touchdown by Wright.
Up by three with just under four minutes to play, the defense forced a timely turnover as junior defensive back Daquan Evans recovered a Roberson fumble.
The Bulls defense rebounded after two historically poor performances, recording four turnovers. They allowed their fewest points in a win this season and limited UConn to 175 passing yards.
USF now heads into its bye week tied for its most wins since the 2019 season. The extra time off gives South Florida more time to prepare for its next opponent, Memphis, who currently has the second-best record in the American.
The Tigers (5-2, 2-1 AAC) are arguably the Bulls’ most difficult road test of the season.
“[Memphis] will be another step for us in our growth, being one of the better teams in our league… the bye week is coming at a good time, now the challenge is how we handle it,” Golesh said.
After completing its bye week, USF faced Memphis on Nov. 4 at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium. Kickoff time and broadcast information is TBD.