For all the moxie and mobility Byrum Brown has shown in six college starts, most Bulls fans have remained reticent to lump him in the same discussion as the most prolific dual threat in program lore.
But on Saturday, Brown — through the force of his will, legs and robust right arm — entered the rarefied air previously reserved for predecessor Quinton Flowers. At least statistically.
Brown’s 517 total yards in Saturday’s 42-29 victory against Rice were the second-most accumulated by a Bulls player in a single game, behind only the 605 amassed by Flowers in the 2017 epic at UCF. Similarly, his 435 passing yards trail only Flowers’ 503 (in the same UCF contest) on the school’s single-game list.
On Monday, Brown was named American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week, becoming the first Bulls offensive player to win the league’s weekly honor since early October 2018, when tailback Jordan Cronkrite ran for 302 yards at UMass.
“Going into halftime, we were getting one-on-ones, and we were executing, but we weren’t executing to the clip that we knew we could,” said Brown, who had 291 of his passing yards in the second half, when USF scored 29 points. “So that was a big emphasis coming out of halftime. First drive, we hit them with a deep one (a 51-yarder to Naiem Simmons), and then it was all on after that.”
In a move hearkening to the moment that Willie Taggart unleashed Flowers, Bulls coach Alex Golesh acknowledged he turned Brown loose on the deep throws upon a halftime suggestion from Brown himself. Employing more max protection (two tight ends), Brown made five completions of 42 or more yards in the final two quarters.
“It was actually his idea, to be honest with you — whether I should say that or not — to go to some (bigger) personnels and let him kind of work the outside,” Golesh said.
“It was that 18-year-old kid in the locker room, it really was.”
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