Jacksonville Sports Day

RECAP: USF Delivers in Comeback Win Over BYU on Homecoming

TAMPA – – Senior Jordan Cronkrite rushed for 158 yards and two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score with 7:37 remaining, and the USF defense finished off a 27-23 homecoming victory over BYU Saturday in Raymond James Stadium.

Clinging to a four-point lead, USF (3-3, 1-1 in AAC) came up with consecutive fourth-down stops deep in its own territory to defeat BYU (2-4) in the first-ever meeting between the programs.

The Cougars’ final two drives ended at the USF 5 and 20, the last ending after Devin Studstill batted down a pass in the end zone to seal the Bulls’ fifth straight homecoming victory.

USF generated 243 of its 315 total yards on the ground and Cronkrite led the rushing attack with 158 yards on 26 carries (6.1 ypc) in his second-best performance as a Bull. The senior from Miami registered both his rushing touchdowns and racked up 123 yards in the second half.

Sophomore linebacker Antonio Grier set a career high with two sacks, his second coming in clutch fashion as BYU was in a third-and-10 situation from the USF 12 on the final drive.

Sophomore linebacker Dwayne Boyles totaled 2.5 of USF’s season high-tying13 tackles for loss and one of the Bulls’ season-high six sacks, the most since 2012.

USF has tallied at least 10 tackles for loss in four straight games and has 11 sacks in the past two outings.

On a tough day through the air, senior tight end Mitchell Wilcox led the way with two catches for 52 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown reception that put USF on the scoreboard in the second quarter after BYU jumped out to a 13-0 lead.

Junior Trent Schneider broke his own USF single-game record with a punting average of 52.8 yards, including a 61-yard boot from near that Bulls goal line that pinned BYU at its own 26 to start its final drive.

The wild, first clash between the programs started with BYU building a 16-7 halftime lead after the Bulls’ defense forced field goals in the red zone on the Cougars’ final two scoring drives.

BYU took an early 3-0 lead, but the USF defense did lots of damage in the opening quarter with 6.0 tackles for loss and four sacks by four different players – Grier, Boyles, Greg Reaves and Rashawn Yates. USF totaled 7.0 tackles for loss in the opening half.

After BYU extended its lead to 13-0, USF’s offense put together an eight-play, 86-yard scoring drive that was capped off by a 39-yard touchdown reception by Wilcox with 6:01 remaining in the half.

The senior tight end leads the team with four scoring catches this season and he’s tied for ninth on USF’s career list with 10.

Cronkrite punched in his first touchdown of the season from 1 yard out to help drop USF’s deficit to 16-14 on the first drive of the second half that covered 68 yards on 14 plays.

BYU responded with QB Jaren Hall’s 29-yard touchdown run on the next drive, but the Bulls stayed within striking distance thanks to a heads-up play on special teams late in the third quarter.

Vincent Davis recovered a fumble on a punt attempt at the BYU 23 and USF trailed, 23-21, after a 2-yard touchdown run by QB Jordan McCloud with 14:57 remaining.

USF continues conference play at Navy on Saturday, Oct. 19. Kickoff in Annapolis, Md., is set for 3:30 p.m. and the action will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

The Bulls will wrap up their two-game road trip at East Carolina on Saturday, Oct. 26 (game time TBA) before returning to Raymond James Stadium to host Temple on Thursday, Nov. 7 (8 p.m. kickoff, TV: ESPN).

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