Some nights you just don’t have it. It was evident early on that Friday night was one of those nights for USF, but the good teams win even when they aren’t on their A game. The offense was stagnant for the Bulls in the 1st half and they trailed 10-3 at the half. USF finally got a spark on offense with a huge run by Jordan Cronkrite on the 3rd play of the 2nd half. Shamari Brooks then answered with 2 of his own to give lowly Tulsa a 14-point lead on the undefeated Bulls heading to the final frame. The Bulls then showed why the 4th quarter has been their best all season. Barnett led the Bulls all the way back and Coby Weiss hit a 22-yard field goal with 2 seconds remaining to give USF a 25-24 win.
It took nearly 5 minutes before we had a first down in this game. USF got the first down, but Tulsa put together the 1st complete drive. After it looked like the Bulls had pinned the Golden Hurricane at their own 1-yard line, the play was reviewed and ruled a touchback. Tulsa marched down those 80 yards in 10 plays. The drive was capped by Seth Boomer finding Jarion Anderson for a 14-yard touchdown. USF answered that with a long drive of their own, but it stalled inside the Tulsa 10 and the Bulls had to settle for 3 points and trailed heading to the 2nd quarter.
The Bulls offense struggled again in the 2nd quarter. Blake Barnett was under constant pressure from Bill Young’s defense. The Bulls most promising drive to that point of the quarter got themselves into their opponent’s territory for just the 2nd time in the game, but it once again stalled out. Charlie Strong would leave his offense out there on 4th down near the 30-yard line, but Barnett was sacked for the 3rd time in the half to get the ball back to Tulsa. The defense looked like they had Tulsa where they wanted them after that turnover on downs, but Boomer was able to scramble and convert a 3rd down and 17 to put his team in scoring position. A dropped past probably prevented a touchdown for the Golden Hurricane, but they were able to convert on a field goal to extend their lead to 7. Barnett and the boys tried to answer in the final minutes, but he was intercepted as he attempted a bomb to the endzone with 30 seconds to go.
The Bulls got the ball to start the 2nd half and needed a big drive to kick start their offense. They got that spark from Jordan Cronkrite. He gashed the defense right up the middle for a 66-yard touchdown run that tied the game. Tulsa wouldn’t go away. 2 drives later they drove down the field in 11 plays and took the lead back on Shamari Brooks’ 10-yard touchdown run. Brooks wasn’t done there. On Tulsa’s next possession he had a touchdown run that was nearly identical to his 1st to give his team a 2 touchdown lead.
Things were looking bleak for the Bulls in the 1st half of the final quarter of regulation, but then they finally got a sustained drive going. Blake Barnett ran it in from 2-yards out to make it a 1-score game again. That one score was still 8 points though after a Tulsa defender got a paw on the extra point attempt. That one point was a big one. Barnett ran in another touchdown on the Bulls’ next drive, but the 2-point attempt was unsuccessful. Barnett and the boys got the ball back with a minute left and no timeouts. Tyre McCants would be the hero. His catch and run set up a chip shot field goal for Coby Weiss. Weiss would connect with 2 seconds remaining to complete the miracle comeback.
The Bulls will now return home for the 1st time in nearly a month. The streak of 7 straight conference games to close the season will continue when the UConn Huskies come to Raymond James Stadium. Kickoff for the homecoming game is scheduled for 7 pm.