Forget Grabbing The Bulls By The Horns, Try Catching Terrence Horne

It was a typical, muggy Florida day at Raymond James Stadium today as the South Florida Bulls hosted Georgia Tech. The dreadful weather didn’t stop the two teams from putting on an exciting show though. South Florida took down the Yellow Jackets 49-38 improving to 6-1 in their last seven games against a Power Five team.

It’s not just the score that shocked many, but the pure talent multiple players showcased today. There was freshman WR Terrence Horne who showed off his speed when he took two back to back kickoffs to the house. And quarterback Blake Barnett showed he can not only throw the ball but run it as well. Then, of course, there’s the South Florida defense that missed countless tackles and stepped up right when the team needed them to step up the most. Where, oh where, should we start?

Terrence Horne Stole The Spotlight In The First Half

In front of a national audience, Horne reminded fans why the Bulls are an exciting team to watch. South Florida’s opening was off to a good start with a 14-yard run by Florida transfer RB Jordan Cronkrite before ultimately ending when Barnett’s pass was intercepted by Georgia Tech’s DB Tariq Carpenter. Now insert Horne.

South Florida wide receiver Terrence Horne, Jr. (80) returns a kickoff for a touchdown during the first quarter of an NCAA football game against the Georgia Tech, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

The Miramar native returned Georgia Tech’s Shawn Davis’ kick for 98 yards to get USF on the board with their first touchdown of the day. Of course, he didn’t stop there. Horne was waiting in the backfield again for a 97-yard return touchdown after the Yellow Jackets scored a touchdown to take a 10-7 lead. This brought another lead change, which was a frequent occurrence for this game.

The versatile freshman assisted the offense with two catches and two runs to have 283 all-purpose yards. According to USF, Horne is the 25th player in NCAA history to return two kicks for a touchdown in the same game.

Blake Barnett Led The Team In Passing And Rushing Yards

Well, he is no Quinton Flowers (USF’s former quarterback), but Barnett did show he has more to offer than just throwing the ball downfield. Head coach Charlie Strong mentioned that Barnett has asked to run the ball and today he had the chance to do that a lot.

The transfer junior ended with 91 rushing yards and 202 passing yards. After throwing an interception on the first drive of the game, Barnett sat on the sideline for close to 30 minutes while Horne took care of the scoreboard with his returns. There was some doubt whether Barnett would take the field as a posed, seasoned quarterback after that series of events, but he eased that doubt by leading the Bulls to a 21-17 lead into the half.

South Florida quarterback Blake Barnett (11) gets in for a touchdown during the fourth quarter of an NCAA football game against the Georgia Tech, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

Throughout all of the lead changes, the offense never looked flustered or out of place. In a nail-biting fourth quarter, Barnett finally sealed the deal with a zone-read, 19-yard touchdown run to give USF a 42-38 lead with 5:08 left in the game.

Putting the icing on the cake was Barnett’s additional 5-yard touchdown run to take USF to the final score of 49-38 with 2:13 left in the game.

Was The Defense Bad Or Was Georgia Tech’s Offense Good?

On paper, Georgia Tech’s offense looked better. On the scoreboard, South Florida’s offense looked better. On the field, both defenses struggled. But was the USF defense all that bad?

Well, the Yellow Jackets finished with 602 total yards, 419 of which came on the ground.

“It’s one of those offenses that are hard to defend,” said Strong. “It’s got to be communication and we didn’t do enough of it.”

Georgia Tech was powered by two effective quarterbacks who saw great success on the ground. QB TaQuon Marshall and backup QB Tobias Oliver’s groundwork slowed an already tired USF defense in the second half.

45 seconds into the fourth quarter Georgia Tech took a 38-28 lead over USF before being stopped for good. South Florida held Georgia Tech to that one, lone score in the fourth and allowed the Bulls’ offense time to take the field and score three touchdowns in the last 12 minutes.

Up Next

South Florida travels to Chicago to take on another Power Five school, Illinois. The game will be on the Big Ten Network at 3:30 PM.

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Allison Leslie is a University of South Florida graduate with a bachelors degree in Mass Communications. She joined Genesis in 2016. With a passion for sports, Allison has interned with 620 WDAE, Pewter Report, Trifecta Team: St. Petersburg Bowl, Bullscast, and many other publications. Being a native to the Bay Area, she has followed and supported Tampa Bay teams her whole life.