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Joey Knight’s takeaways from USF-Connecticut

The Bulls played a penalty-free first half Saturday.
Connecticut running back Kevin Mensah (34) carries the ball against USF linebacker Antonio "Yo-Yo" Grier (44) and Greg Reaves (4) during the second half Saturday. Grier had a sack, forced fumble and 2.5 total tackles for loss. [MICHAEL DWYER | AP]
Published Oct. 5

Though it’s tough gauging USF’s offensive progress against such a feeble opponent, there’s no question the Bulls played a cleaner game than normal Saturday. The American Athletic Conference’s third-most penalized team entering the weekend, USF had an infraction-free first half and was flagged a season-low five times for 59 yards.

RELATED: USF delivers best effort of season, tramples UConn

Though he had no catches Saturday, fifth-year senior tight end Mitch Wilcox remained a critical cog up front, helping the run game collect 313 yards. “Mitch blocked very well today,” quarterback Jordan McCloud said. “We were actually talking at the end of the game, how he said he felt like a ping-pong ball in there, he was just getting hit around with the O-line being real physical today.”

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To offset UConn’s speed packages, USF went heavy with a nickel alignment, meaning less of sturdy middle linebacker Patrick Macon and more of outside 'backers Dwayne Boyles and Antonio “Yo-Yo” Grier. The two combined for 15 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss, including a sack apiece.


  1. USF senior tight end Mitch Wilcox has 97 career receptions and 11 touchdown catches. MIKE CARLSON  |  AP
    The Tarpon Springs High alumnus is a prominent 2020 NFL draft prospect.
  2. USF placekicker Spencer Shrader (32) watches his missed field goal against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the fourth quarter at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    The Bulls have expressed support for the Newsome High alumnus since his four missed field goals Saturday.
  3. USF Bulls guard Elisa Pinzan (4) drive to the basket past Jacksonville Dolphins guard Mariah Batz (13) during the first half at the Yuengling Center in Tampa. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    The contest in Waco highlights yet another daunting non-conference Bulls schedule.
  4. Cincinnati running back Michael Warren II (3) barrels through USF's defense for a first down during the fourth quarter of the Bearcats' 20-17 win Saturday at Raymond James Stadium. The Bulls and Bearcats will continue meeting on a home-and-home basis through at least 2021. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times] OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    For now, USF retains home-and-home matchups with four East Division foes
  5. USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) leaps to avoid UCF defensive back Mike Hughes (19) and during the second half of the Knights' 49-42 triumph in Orlando in 2017. This year's game, also at Orlando's Spectrum Stadium, kicks off at 8 p.m. on Nov. 29. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
    The game hasn’t kicked off in the evening since 2015
  6. USF Bulls place kicker Spencer Shrader (32) misses the field goal to take the lead over the Cincinnati Bearcats during the fourth quarter at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    The Bulls miss four field goals of their own in a 20-17 loss.
  7. USF running back Jordan Cronkrite, center, is tackled by Cincinnati linebacker Joel Dublanko during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Saturday night. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Journal: The University of Florida transfer now is among USF’s top 10 rushers of all time.
  8. Connecticut's Evina Westbrook, left, sits with her new teammates, unable to play as a transfer student because the NCAA denied her immediate eligibility. STEPHEN DUNN  |  AP
    Geno Auriemma hints that Evina Westbrook’s situation with the Vols was unhealthy.
  9. USF senior Evelyne Viens, seen here during a match against Florida in August, had a hat trick in Friday's rematch, a 4-2 Bulls triumph in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. [USF Athletics] TRAVIS PENDERGRASS  |  UF_TP
    The senior from Canada sets an AAC single-season goals record in the Bulls’ 4-2 triumph
  10. USF players celebrate with students after their 27-23 victory against BYU at Raymond James Stadium on Oct. 12. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Students now can earn points for each Bulls sporting event they attend.