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USF Bulls journal: Linebacker Auggie Sanchez breaks school's career tackles record

OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times  South Florida Bulls linebacker Auggie Sanchez (43) stands with his family on senior night before the start of the game against the Tulane Green Wave at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, November 16, 2017.
OCTAVIO JONES | Times South Florida Bulls linebacker Auggie Sanchez (43) stands with his family on senior night before the start of the game against the Tulane Green Wave at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, November 16, 2017.
Published Nov. 16, 2017

TAMPA — After a redshirt season spent at fullback in 2013, USF's Auggie Sanchez asked then-coach Willie Taggart if he could be moved to linebacker.

Sanchez, who played on the defensive line at St. Petersburg's Northeast High, got his wish the next season, starting all 12 games at middle linebacker and kicking off a defensive career that would serve the Bulls well over the next four seasons.

On Thursday against Tulsa, that service earned him another accolade.

On one of the final plays of the first quarter, Sanchez recorded his fourth tackle of the game, making him the Bulls' all-time leading tackler with 368.

Two days before the Tulsa matchup, Sanchez reminisced about his USF career and changing positions. The benefits first came to light shortly after the shift, he recalled, when in a practice drill, Sanchez said he shot the gap and made two tackles.

"At that time … I believed in myself, but I finally got the coaches and people saying, 'Hey, this kid wants to play. This kid wants to be a part of this program. This kid is driven,'?" Sanchez said.

"When it started, I said I wanted that record, and I kind of set my mind to it."

Sanchez, whose tackle broke Kawika Mitchell's 15-year-old mark, wasn't the only one to make history against the Golden Hurricane.

With a 41-yard field goal in the second quarter, senior Emilio Nadelman tied the USF season record (19) shared by Maikon Bonani and Delbert Alvarado. Nadelman, though, would soon be alone at the top, kicking a 48-yarder in the third quarter to bring his total to 20.

Off to the races

USF had spurts of offensive greatness Thursday. The Bulls had nine gains of at least 11 yards in the first quarter alone, including 25- and 35-yard touchdown passes from Quinton Flowers to Tyre McCants and Darnell Salomon, respectively, and a 54-yard rushing touchdown from RB Darius Tice.

In the second quarter, the Bulls had three more big plays, two of which — a 34-yard completion to D'Ernest Johnson and a 27-yard run from Flowers — set up Nadelman's record-tying field goal.

USF had less success with chunk plays in the second half, tallying just two on rushes of 13 and 19 yards, both courtesy of Flowers.

"It's a tale of two halves," coach Charlie Strong said. "The first half offensively, we moved the ball up and down the field. They couldn't stop us."

More records

USF players weren't the only ones to make history. In the first half, Golden Hurricane RB D'Angelo Brewer became the AAC's all-time leading rusher, unseating former Bull Marlon Mack. Early in the fourth quarter, Brewer broke another record, becoming Tulsa's all-time leading rusher, surpassing Tarrion Adams' mark of 3,651 yards. Brewer finished with 163 yards rushing on 34 carries. "He's a great running back, but they also have a great O-line," DT Deadrin Senat said. "He did his job tonight, but we came up and stopped him when we needed to … as a unit."