USF homecoming game vs. Cincinnati to kick off at 7:30
The American Athletic Conference and television have teamed to minimize the excuses for the Bulls not to draw a season-high crowd for homecoming.
The league announced late Monday morning that USF's Oct. 14 contest against Cincinnati will kick off at 7:30 p.m., and will be televised live on ESPNU.
The Bearcats, of course, replace Massachusetts as the Bulls' homecoming foe after Hurricane Irma forced the AAC to revise the league schedule. The game will mark USF's fourth night kickoff in six games.
Two of those evening starts (Illinois, Temple) were weeknight home games. As a result, USF's average announced home attendance to this point (28,730) ranks seventh in the AAC. Actual average attendance for those three home contests (per the Tampa Sports Authority) is 20,906.
"I actually had a conversation with our mayor here (Bob Buckhorn) and I had a conversation with our chamber of commerce board (last week)," Coach Charlie Strong said Monday on the AAC's weekly coaches telconference.
"I just said to them, 'You have a really good football team and we just need your support and we need everybody on board, and we just need people to just come out to the games.'
"We play in a really nice arena and there's so many positives, and we've just got to continue to talk about it, get our student body behind us, get our administration here at the university behind us, and we'll get those seats filled."
TWO BULLS HONORED: MLB Auggie Sanchez and WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling both made the AAC honor roll after monstrous games Saturday at East Carolina.
Valdes-Scantling had six catches for 94 yards and a touchdown, and scored another TD on a 75-yard jet sweep. Sanchez had a game-high 10 tackles and notched his first career pick-six on a 43-yard interception return.
Sanchez now has 335 career tackles, 32 shy of Kawika Mitchell's career school record.
ODDS AND ENDS: After amassing a season-best 390 rushing yards at East Carolina, the Bulls now rank fifth nationally in rushing offense (309.2 ypg), up five spots from the previous week. ... PK Emilio Nadelman, who has hit all seven of his field-goal tries over the last two games, leads the AAC and ranks 11th nationally in scoring (11.2 ppg). ... USF's 21 first-quarter points Saturday were two more than they had totaled in the first quarter of their four previous contests.
AUDIBLE: "I had someone tell me (announced crowd) was 35,000, which was really great. You're right, the fans came out. It's more about supporting. It don't matter who you play, and that's the way they look at it now. They were playing a good football team with us, but you come out and support your school. At the end of the day you're cheering for the players on the field and you're cheering for your university." -- Strong, when asked on the teleconference about his thoughts on East Carolina's crowd (announced 34,883) on Saturday