Under a highly humid sky, the USF Bulls welcomed in the Rice Owls. This opened up conference play for both teams and the Owls came in with a 2-1 record. In their last game, they blew out Texas Southern 59-7. The Bulls came into the game with a 1-2 record after a tough loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide 17-3. The crowd was very sparse compared to last week’s game. The fans were all hoping to see a victory to even USF’s record at 2-2. Coach Golesh stated that he has looked at the film and hopes the Bulls have corrected the mistakes from last week. The Owls came in with an offense that can score but they also give up a lot of points as well. USF took the field first unlike in the past where the opposing team normally had taken the field first. The Bulls won the toss and deferred.
The first quarter went quickly. USF mixed up on offense with the run and pass. They took their opening drive down for a game-leading field goal. The Owls took their second possession and got the game’s first touchdown. At the end of the quarter, the Owls lead 7-3. Rice missed consecutive field goals and the Bulls took advantage on a K’Wan Powell 26-yard touchdown run. The Bulls lead 13-7. The Owls drove down near the end of the second quarter and took a 14-13 lead into the half. It was a mistake by both teams to keep the game so close. The Bulls once again had penalties kill drives and the good news was down by just one point. USF got the ball to start the second half.
The Bulls started the second half with a big play, a 51-yard pass play. Two plays after that they capitalized with a two-yard touchdown run to take a 20-14 lead. A mistake caused a 12-point swing when the Bulls fumbled the ball and Rice threw a 80-yard touchdown pass and took a 21-20 lead. USF answered right back on a pass play as the Owls played zero coverage, got burned, and the Bulls took the lead 27-21. By the end of the third, Brown set a career-high with 345 yards passing. USF continued to throw the ball deep got another touchdown and took a 34-21 lead. Then, the Owls lost starting quarterback JT Daniels to an ankle injury. USF was relentless scoring again on another rushing touchdown and got a two-point conversation to take a 42-21 lead.
The game was won by the USF Bulls offense. They were able to take advantage of the bad coverage the Rice Owls ran on defense. Byrum Brown threw for 427 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught a two-point conversion pass. USF had some fun for the first time this year. The crowd was excited to see their team get its second win in 2023. This is the first time in 700 days the Bulls have won a game against a FBS school. The final score was Bulls 42 the Owls 29. It was huge for first-year head coach Alex Golesh. The Bulls look to hit the road to play the Navy Midshipmen on the road.
QB Byrum Brown posted a career-best with 435 yards passing, which ranks as the second-best total in program history behind 503 yards posted by Quinton Flowers at UCF in 2017.
• Brown’s 517 total yards (435 passing, team-high 82 rushing) rank as the second-best total in program history and he joins Quinton Flowers as the only two players in program history to post 500+ yards in total offense. Flowers owns the record with 605 at UCF in 2017.
• WR Naiem Simmons posted a career-best with 272 receiving yards in the game, breaking Tyre McCants’ USF program record of 227 set at UCF in 2017. Simmons’ eight catches tied his career mark previously set in the FCS competition at Wagner.
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