Bulls Bounce Back With Big Plays To Defeat Rice

By on September 24, 2023

After a slow start to the game between the USF Bulls and the Rice Owls on Saturday afternoon, the game turned into an airshow and score fest with the Bulls taking the win by the score of 42-29. It was a good start for the Bulls as they won their opening game of the American Athletic Conference.

QB Byrum Brown struggled a bit in the first half with his accuracy, but exploded in the third quarter and forth quarter with five huge throws to wide receiver Naiem Simmons. Brown finished the day going 22-29 for 435 yards, his career high.

He also had 82 yards on the ground. Simmons was dominant finishing with 8 catches for 272 yards and a score. USF posted a season-best 12 explosive plays, including five plays of 42 yards or better between Brown and Simmons.

USF #17 Byrum Brown QB:
“It was a lot of fun being up and being able to go out there and execute and get the victory in the end. It was a lot of fun.”

On the deep ball working:
“It was really what they showed us on film. Naeim and all the other receivers did a great job of attacking, making good decisions, and being decisive. I just let them go make plays, get the ball to them in space.”

But let’s not forget the job the offensive line did along with Sean Atkins who also had a huge game catching the ball as he had 8 catches for 73 yards. Alot of these were clutch grabs for first downs and drive starters.

Defensively, 10 players recorded a tackle for loss, as the Bulls posted their second game of the year with double-digit tackles for loss and held Rice to 1 yard rushing, the lowest total for a USF opponent since 2017. But Rice QB JT Daniels would not be denied as he was stellar also through the air as he was finding the open spots all afternoon.

Daniels was 27-40 for 432 and 3 scores before he went out with an injury in the third and that changed the tide of the game when backup AJ Padgett came in and just couldn’t get the Owl offense going.

USF #10 Jonathan Ross DE:
“Honestly, I’m just excited, for stopping the run. That was one of our main goals was to stop the run. We held them to only one rushing yard. We just have to stack on the good and fix the bad.

I feel like we’re making the turn. As Naiem Hines said, we need to perfect our process. I feel like we will be able to do what we want to do in this league and this conference.”

Another standout for the Owls was Luke McCaffrey. The younger brother of the 49ers running back, Christian, was targeted 15 times with 9 catches for 199 yards with 78 after the catch with a long of 51.

USF #8 DJ Gordan IV LB
On holding Rice to one-yard rushing.“Oh, my feeling great. Our biggest motto this week was stopping the run and stopping McCaffrey.

I feel like we did for the most part. We did what we were supposed to, what we practiced. That’s a big thing without coaching, be who say you are. That’s what we were going to do, and what we did.

The fans in the stands weren’t as prevalent as they were last week against Alabama but were treated to beautiful weather and a standout game by their team. Coach Alex Golesh said after the game:

“In the second half we took advantage of our opportunities. We changed some things up and made a decision to attack vertically. Byrum (Brown) settled in nicely. The second half was really a different ballgame, we didn’t do any of those things in the first half.

We got off the field the field on defense on third downs and we were able to create chunk plays offensively against what I think is a really good Rice team, as is evident by what they’ve done up to this point.

“At the end of the day, we’re 1-0 in the league which is right where we want to be. Now we have to go on the road and face another test. I’m really proud of our kids and our coaches, all the students and fans that were here for this game tonight. We need to keep packing this place and make it a really cool college environment to play in.”

Up next: The Bulls head to Annapolis, Md. to take on Navy next Saturday in a 3:30 p.m. kickoff

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