HOUSTON — Bulls senior MLB Khalid McGee apologized Sunday morning via Twitter for appearing to shove defensive backs coach Blue Adams on the sideline in the first half of Saturday's loss at Houston.
ABC's cameras captured the incident, quickly de-fused by defensive coordinator Brian Jean-Mary, who stepped between the two.
"It was unacceptable and totally out of character for myself and our program," McGee wrote. "Coach (Charlie) Strong teaches us discipline and self control and I have great respect for all of our coaches."
Strong had little to say about the incident when asked about it immediately after the 57-36 defeat.
"I really didn't see it," Strong said. "I think that … in the heat of the moment when emotions are involved, you can see frustrations get involved and guys yelling at one another."
One of the team's most respected veterans, McGee re-entered the game and finished with 10 tackles, second only to Greg Reaves' 12.
Doomed by the deep ball
Of all the areas eliciting frustration Saturday (red-zone inefficiency, poor tackling, etc.), Strong seemed most perturbed by how the Bulls consistently surrendered the deep pass.
Four of Cougars QB D'Eriq King's five touchdown passes went for 30 or more yards. For the game, King had nine completions of 20 or more yards.
"When you play against good receivers, you've got to learn to play with your alignment. You've got to give 'em the press, you've got to back off," Strong said.
"And then if anything, get the ball thrown in front of you and you run up and make the tackle. But when you get the ball thrown up over your head and you lose the ball, it's a 50-50 ball. And a lot of times on 50-50 balls, the offense is gonna win it 'cause they're gonna find the ball."
Ford tough … again
While RB Jordan Cronkrite has emerged as the Bulls' most durable runner, his 5-foot-5 peer arguably has evolved into their most dangerous.
For the second game in a row, 168-pound freshman TB Johnny Ford eclipsed the 100-yard mark, finishing with 106 on 16 carries with touchdowns of 32 and 17 yards.
Ford has scored five TDs in the past two games, during which he's averaging 11.7 yards per carry (23 carries, 270 yards). On Saturday, he heavily credited Cronkrite, who played for the same prep coach (Sedrick Irvin) as Ford, albeit at different south Florida schools.
"He's experienced a lot of stuff, so I just tell him, 'Just lead the way and I'll follow,' " Ford said. "And he's a great role model, someone any kid would want to look up to."
Odds and ends
Saturday's defeat was USF's first road loss to an American Athletic Conference West Division foe since a 29-17 loss at Navy on Oct. 31, 2015. … Cronkrite's 73 yards (on 20 carries) ended his streak of five consecutive 100-yard rushing efforts, which is tied for the school record. Cronkrite is now 67 yards from posting the ninth 1,000-yard season in program history. … Redshirt freshman Bentlee Sanders, a Tampa Catholic alumnus, had a career-best 182 all-purpose yards, including 141 on kick returns. … WR Stanley Clerveaux had a career-best five receptions for 42 yards.