TAMPA — For USF junior wide receiver Andre Davis, the first seven weeks of the season seemed like a never-ending struggle.
The former Jefferson High standout had found the end zone only once, against Division I-AA McNeese State in the opener, and had three or fewer catches in four games, including a season-low one for 7 yards in a 34-3 drubbing against Louisville.
But in the past two games, Davis has begun to prove why he's regarded as the Bulls' No. 1 receiver.
After hauling in a season-high nine passes for 134 yards Oct. 31 at Houston, Davis continued his tear Saturday night, with seven catches for 110 yards and USF's lone touchdown — a 31-yarder from freshman Mike White with 46 seconds left in the fourth quarter — in a 23-10 loss to Memphis.
Before this year, Davis had one 100-yard performance in college. He has doubled that the past two games and is only the third Bull with back-to-back 100-yard receiving games.
"I've just been more focused as an all-around football player," he said. "I'm a leader on this team just by the things that I do. And I just changed myself personally, going out and practicing day in and day out just to pump the offense up and do what I can for the team."
The highlight of Davis' night came midway through the third quarter when he passed the century mark in career catches on a 15-yard pass from White. That reception gave the Bulls a first down on third and 1 and led to a 28-yard field goal from Marvin Kloss.
Coach Willie Taggart chalked Davis' recent success up to his improving knowledge of the playbook.
"I just think Andre is really starting to understand it a lot better now," Taggart said. "He's found himself in the right place where he's supposed to be a lot more than he was earlier in the year. It's just because he knows it better and feels comfortable with it."
Despite USF being eliminated from bowl contention with the loss, Davis said he's going to keep playing hard to finish the season strong for himself and his teammates.
"I'm not going to hold my head," he said. "I'm just going to do what I can the next game and the next game after that and just fight for my team as much as I can."