Jacksonville Sports Day

USF Bulls Fall at SMU, 41-17, To Open AAC Play

DALLAS, TEXAS – The USF football team (1-4; 0-1 AAC) fell to unbeaten SMU (5-0; 1-0 AAC) Saturday as the Bulls opened American Athletic Conference play at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas.

Starting his third game, freshman quarterback Timmy McClain posted a career high 223 yards passing and ran for 25 yards, but missed on a couple of scoring opportunities.

His former Seminole High School teammate Jimmy Horn Jr. posted career highs with five catches for 102 yards, including 55 yards after the catch. Dwayne Boyles recorded 10 tackles, and interception and -1.5 tackles for loss and Matthew Hill led the Bulls with a career high 11 tackles.

SMU built a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter after scoring on their first three drives, going 75, 65 and 97 yards, respectively. SMU quarterback Tanner Mordecai, who entered the game leading the nation in touchdown passes, added four more to his resume on the day (bringing his season total to 24) as he threw for 301 yards.

The Bulls’ first two offensive possessions resulted in punts before USF got on the board with a 14-play, 63-yard drive that ended with a 29-yard field goal from Spencer Shrader.

Late in the first half, the Bulls got an interception from Dwayne Boyles following a hit on Mordecai from Tramel Logan, but USF was unable to convert the possession, which started at the 50, into points.

The Bulls defense held SMU again late in the first half and USF drove 37 yards to the SMU 20. But, after snapping the ball with nine seconds remaining on the clock, the Bulls were unable to get into the endzone and time ran out on USF’s scoring attempt.

Trailing 17-3 at the half, the Bulls received the kickoff and promptly marched 75 yards in seven plays for their first touchdown of the game on a one-yard Jaren Mangham plunge. The drive, fueled by an 18-yard McClain scramble and a 17-yard completion to Xavier Weaver, cut the lead to 17-10.

SMU answered with a 63-yard drive for a field goal, as the Bulls’ defense bent but didn’t break and began to put consistent pressure on the quarterback.

USF failed to score on its next drive and SMU extended its lead, 27-10, with a 58-yard touchdown march capped by a 13-yard Tre Siggers touchdown run.

The Bulls responded by going 75 yards in 10 plays and cut the lead back to 10, 27-17, when Mangham again plunged in from a yard out. McClain hit Horn for a big 34-yard gain on the drive that moved the ball to the SMU 20.

USF forced an SMU punt on the next mustang possession, but the Bulls couldn’t get a first down near midfield and had to punt the ball back. A short punt gave SMU the ball at the 50 and Mordecai hit Jordan Kerley for a 42-yard completion to the USF 5. Mordecai hit Danny Gray for a touchdown two plays later and SMU effectively iced the game with a 34-17 lead and 9:32 to play.

The Mustangs tacked on another short touchdown drive late following a USF fumble at its own 30.

USF has a bye next week before returning to action on Sat., Oct.16 vs. Tulsa at Raymond James Stadium.

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