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USF journal: Mitch Wilcox has record night in defeat

The Tarpon Springs High alumnus had seven catches for 90 yards and a touchdown

CINCINNATI — Bulls fourth-year junior TE Mitch Wilcox, who missed last week's game against Tulane with an ankle injury, returned with a bang.

Not to mention a record or two. Or three.

The Tarpon Springs alumnus had seven catches for 90 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown. That yardage gives him 904 for his career, breaking the USF all-time mark for a tight end held by Sean Price (897).

Additionally, Wilcox has 468 yards for the season, eclipsing USF's single-season mark for a tight end (390) set by Trevor Hypolite in 1997.

Hypolite also owned the single-season mark for receptions by a tight end with 34. Wilcox now is the leader, with 35 for the year.

"It killed me not being able to help my team last week," said Wilcox, named to the watch list for Mackey Award (presented to the nation's top tight end) in the preseason. "I just tried to do as much as I can and make plays when my number's called this week."

Cold, hard fact

In clear defiance of nature and conventional prudence, more than a dozen USF players trotted onto the field at Nippert Stadium shirtless for pregame warmups.

Unbeknownst to them at the time, they were running bare-chested into school history.

The kickoff temperature was 28 degrees, the coldest in USF's 21-plus seasons of existence. The previous record was 29, established in a 13-7 loss at West Virginia on Dec. 6, 2008.

"You talk about the weather all week, and we knew how cold it was gonna be, and mentally that wasn't a block for us at all," QB Chris Oladokun said.

"Coach (Charlie Strong) said that on Sunday, I believe. He told us we're coming out with the shirts off, we're setting the tone."

USF is now 1-6 in cold-weather games (40 degrees or below at kickoff). Its only win in such conditions: 48-37 at Pittsburgh on Nov. 24, 2007.

Odds and ends

Senior WR Ryeshene Bronson's 72-yard first-quarter touchdown reception was his first since 2016. He missed all of last season with a broken collarbone sustained in the preseason. His four career scoring catches have covered 75, 73, 72 and 42 yards. … Referee Charles Lamertina committed the cardinal sin (at least by bay area standards) of twice referring to the Bulls as "UCF" during the pregame coin toss. … Former USF three-year starting QB Quinton Flowers, who owns at least 42 school records, attended the game and spent roughly three hours with the Bulls at their team hotel Friday night. Flowers is a member of the Bengals' practice squad. … USF now is 11-24 all-time against ranked opponents and 4-12 on the road. Its last win against a ranked foe was its 23-20 victory at No. 16 Notre Dame on Sept. 3, 2011. … Senior DB Ronnie Hoggins had a career-best 13 tackles. … DE Juwuan Brown, a Jefferson High alumnus, registered his fourth sack of the season.