Wednesday, November 22, 2017


Joey Knight, Times staff writer

Joey Knight, Times staff writer

A fourth-generation Floridian, Joey Knight was born in Tampa and raised in Zephyrhills, where he still resides. He moved to the Times in July 2006 after 15 years at the Tampa Tribune, which included a seven-year stint (1997-2004) as University of Florida beat writer. He began covering the University of South Florida athletic department for the Times in 2013. A married father of three, he enjoys running, classic television and classic heavy-metal music.

FILE - In this Nov. 11, 2017, file photo, Central Florida linebacker Shaquem Griffin defends against Connecticut during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Orlando, Fla. The American Athletic Conference defensive player of the year in 2016, Griffin has not made quite as many impact plays this season, but he is still among the best players in the conference. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File) NY155

Strong’s slip about UCF’s Griffin seen as motivation for Knights

TAMPA — While saying nothing to purposely fan the flames of the USF-UCF rivalry during his weekly news conference Tuesday, Bulls coach Charlie Strong provided fuel for the Knights’ best player.He used the H-word when discussing Knights senior...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Central Florida quarterback McKenzie Milton (10) attempts a pass against Temple during the first quarter in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Philadelphia. UCF defeated Temple 45-19. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)

How did UCF go from 0-12 to unbeaten? Coaching and chemistry

ORLANDO — The marvel of Space Mountain dissipated decades ago. Doctor Doom’s Fearfall at Universal, while a nifty defiance of gravity, has its ups and downs. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad? Please. To many locals, Orlando’s most dizzying...
Published: 11/20/17
OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times 
South Florida Bulls defensive end Mike Love (98) celebrates the sack on Tulsa Golden Hurricane quarterback Chad President (10) during the fourth quarter at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, November 16, 2017.

No. 23 USF shaky in 27-20 victory over Tulsa

TAMPA — The senior night festivities and Tulsa formality didn’t go according to script for USF on a crisp Thursday evening.Hardly romp-and-circumstance stuff. To the contrary, the effort was barely sufficient against a two-win foe.USF’s...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17
OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times 
South Florida Bulls running back Darius Tice (6) runs the ball past Tulsa Golden Hurricane safety McKinley Whitfield (5) for a touchdown in the first quarter at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, November 16, 2017.

Joey Knight’s takeaways from USF-Tulsa

1. Senior RB D’Ernest Johnson, woefully underutilized as a pass receiver this season, had two receptions for 38 yards in the game. The team’s second-leading receiver in 2016 (28 catches, 293 yards), Johnson had only seven receptions in the first nine...
Published: 11/16/17
USF defensive end Mike Love (98) runs a drill during practice at the practice football field at USF in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Jul 29, 2017.

USF Senior Night and the families that lifted Mike Love

TAMPA -- The sibling argument had escalated by the time Lisa Martinez returned home from the movies with her daughter. Mike Love, the witty but wayward kid who recently had moved into the Martinez family’s Safety Harbor house, was gone by the...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/15/17
Central Florida quarterback McKenzie Milton (10) looks for a receiver as he is pressured by Connecticut defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi (93) during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. Central Florida won 49-24. (AP Photo/John Raoux) FLJR112

No. 14 UCF routs UConn, faces one more test before USF showdown

ORLANDO — Less than four days after USF unveiled plans for a $40 million football-exclusive facility, UCF officials and donors were brandishing gold-painted shovels Saturday morning in a ceremonial groundbreaking for a football operations...
Published: 11/11/17

USF men, women open with basketball wins

TAMPA —A couple of hours after dawn broke on the Brian Gregory era, mild bedlam broke out.Graduate transfer Stephan Jiggetts’ jump shot just inside the free-throw line with 12 seconds to play lifted USF to a 60-59 victory Friday against Florida...
Published: 11/10/17
Updated: 11/11/17
USF head coach Brian Gregory during practice at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida on Monday, November 6, 2017. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times

USF’s new basketball coach has a tough job. Here’s how tough

TAMPA — The USF Sun Dome, domicile of Bulls basketball, still bears the sparkle of a $36 million facelift, which concluded in 2012 and made it a sleeker, shinier mausoleum.It has become the place where men’s coaching careers go to die and...
Published: 11/08/17
Updated: 11/09/17
USF guard Laia Flores (22) looks to dribble past Memphis Tigers guard Breigha Wilder-Cochran (1) in the first half during the game between the South Florida Bulls and the Memphis Tigers at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa on Jan. 17, 2017. (Times)

USF women’s basketball team leaving painful memories behind

TAMPA — Long before her team’s season ended on a buzzer beater in the NCAA Tournament’s opening round against Missouri, Laia Flores had become an authority on excruciation.Technically, she was the only healthy point guard on USF’s roster, which...
Published: 11/07/17
South Florida quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) throws a pass against Connecticut at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn., on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. The visiting Bulls won, 37-20. (Brad Horrigan/Hartford Courant/TNS)

USF offense back on track in 37-20 win over UConn

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — Fresh off its first loss in more than a calendar year, USF regained a few shots of swagger and mojo — maybe even a ranking — with Saturday’s 37-20 victory against struggling Connecticut.The next couple of days will...
Updated one month ago