Bulls fans are excited that South Florida is headed to the Boca Raton Bowl to face Syracuse.

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USF FOOTBALL AP/PHOTO

Bulls to face Orange in FAU Stadium on Dec. 21 in first bowl since 2018

TAMPA, DEC. 3, 2023 – First-year head coach Alex Golesh and the Bulls will continue one of the top turnarounds in college football when South Florida (6-6; 4-4 American) makes the program’s 11th bowl appearance, and first since 2018, when USF takes on Syracuse (6-6; 2-6 ACC) in the Roofclaim.com Boca Raton Bowl on Thur., Dec. 21 at FAU Stadium (30,000) in Boca Raton, Fla.

The game kicks off at 8 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN.

Fans can reserve tickets for the Bulls 11th bowl game HERE.

The USF Women’s basketball team will be playing in the West Palm Classic – approximately 30 minutes from the bowl site – on Dec. 20-21, with the Bulls taking on national power Baylor at 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 21 prior to the bowl game.

USF football’s five-win improvement over 2022 ranks as the greatest turnaround in program history and is tied with Liberty (13-0) for the second-best in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in 2023 behind only Northwestern’s six-win improvement.

USF is 6-4 all-time in bowl games, with notable victories over Clemson, South Carolina and Texas Tech. This will mark the Bulls’ fourth bowl game appearance in the state of Florida, having previously played in the St. Petersburg Bowl (2008), Miami Beach Bowl (2015) and Gasparilla Bowl (2018).

USF will be making the program’s first-ever appearance in the Boca Raton Bowl, which will be played for the 10th time in 2023. Toledo defeated Liberty, 21-19, in the 2022 game. Fans can take part in the Dual Team Pep Rally on Dec. 20 (6 p.m.) at the Mizner Park Amphitheater and the Fan Fest (4-7 p.m.) on Dec. 21.

USF and Syracuse, former BIG EAST Conference members, have met 10 times with the Bulls holding an 8-2 series lead, including most recent victories in Tampa in 2015 (45-24) and at Syracuse in 2016 (45-20). This will be the first meeting in a bowl game and marks the Bulls’ 11th different bowl opponent.

For further Boca Raton Bowl information and schedules click HERE.

NOTING USF: South Florida (6-6; 4-4 American)

• USF is making its 11th bowl appearance and made six straight bowl appearances from 2005-10 and four straight from 2015-18. The Bulls are 6-4 in bowl games.

• USF’s last bowl win came with a 38-34 victory over Texas Tech in the 2017 Birmingham Bowl to complete a 10-2 season and finish ranked No. 21 in the Associated Press Poll. The Bulls have bowl games wins over Tech, South Carolina (2016 Birmingham Bowl), Clemson (2010 Meineke Car Care Bowl), Northern Illinois (2009 International Bowl), Memphis (2008 St. Petersburg Bowl) and East Carolina (2006 Papajohns.com Bowl).

• The Bulls’ five-win improvement over 2022 ranks as the greatest turnaround in program history and tied with Liberty for the second-best in FBS football in 2023 behind only Northwestern’s six-win improvement.

• Five Bulls were named to AAC All-Conference teams: wide receiver Sean Atkins’ (Viera) was a Second Team selection, while offensive guard Zane Herring (Madison), cornerback Aamaris Brown-Bunkley (Tampa), defensive tackle Rashad Cheney (Atlanta) and linebacker Jhalyn Shuler (Abbeville, S.C.) earned honorable-mention.

• Head coach Alex Golesh was named one of 15 finalists for College Football News’ Coach of the Year. The former Tennessee offensive coordinator has installed an explosive offense that has registered just the sixth 5,000-yard season in program history and is on pace for a top-three program mark while producing the program’s first 3,000-yard passer and potentially first 1,000-yard receiver.

• QB Byrum Brown (Raleigh, N.C.) leads the AAC and ranks No. 7 nationally in total offense (318.6 ypg) and set the USF season passing record with 3,078 yards. He is one of two players nationally with 3,000+ yards passing and 700+ rushing, joining Heisman favorite Jayden Daniels of LSU. His 34 touchdowns accounted for are tied for the third-best mark in program history and he ranks No. 12 nationally in points responsible for per game (17.3 ppg). His 23 passing touchdowns on the year are just two short of the USF season record.

• WR Sean Atkins has set program season records for receptions (86) and receiving yards (961), as the former walk-on is on track to become the first 1,000-yard receiver in a season in program history.

• The USF offense ranks No. 17 nationally producing 455 yards per game and is the fastest offense in the nation averaging 82 plays a game, the only team to post over 80 in the nation. The Bulls have produced 114 explosive plays on the season.

NOTING THE OPPONENT: Syracuse (6-6; 2-6 ACC)

• Syracuse is coming off a 35-31 victory over Wake Forest in their final regular season game. The Orange posted 468 yards of offense – 224 passing and 244 rushing – as LeQuint Allen Jr. ran for a career-best 145 yards. Garrett Shrader threw for 173 yards and three touchdowns, alongside one rushing touchdown and Damien Alford had four catches for 126 yards and a career-best two touchdowns.

• The Orange won two of their last three games, also beating Pittsburgh (28-13), to earn bowl eligibility.

• Syracuse fired head coach Dino Babers with one regular season game remaining and recently hired Georgia defensive backs coach Fran Brown to lead the program.

• Syracuse will be making its 28th bowl appearance (16-10-1). The Orange began playing football in 1889 and have a 743-575-449 record in 135 seasons. Running back Ernie Davis won the 1961 Heisman Trophy for Syracuse.

• Syracuse will be making its second-straight bowl appearance – falling to Minnesota (28-20) in the 2022 Pinstripe Bowl – and third in the last 10 years.

• Syracuse also has victories over Colgate (65-0), Western Michigan (48-7), Purdue (35-20) and Army (29-16) on the year and started 4-0 on the season.

• Syracuse ranks 85th nationally posting 358.7 yards per game and 79th averaging 25.5 points per game. The Orange defense stands 65th giving up 378.3 yards per game and 49th giving up 23.8 points.

• Veteran quarterback Garrett Shrader passed for 1,686 yards and 13 touchdowns while completing 63 percent of his passes and running for 469 yards and eight touchdowns.

• Second Team All-ACC running back LeQuint Allen Jr. has run for 1,062 yards and nine touchdowns and ranks third in the ACC in rushing. He has a team-best 36 receptions and a team-best 10 total touchdowns.

• Wide receiver Damien Alford has 29 catches for 527 yards and three touchdowns.

• Linebacker Marlowe Wax earned Second Team All-ACC and leads the team with 101 tackles and has forced four fumbles. His 35.5 career tackles for loss are seventh all-time at Syracuse.

ABOUT USF FOOTBALL
The USF football program first took the field in 1997 and completed its 27th regular season in 2023 by earning the program’s 11th bowl bid, entering a new $22 million Indoor Performance Facility and receiving Board of Trustees approval for construction of a $340-million on-campus stadium. The Bulls have posted 15 winning seasons, earned 16 All-America selections, including a 2021 consensus All-American kick returner, and had 32 first-team all-conference selections. USF has had 30 players selected in the NFL Draft and has made 10 bowl game appearances (going 6-4 in those games), posting a program-record six straight appearances from 2005-2010 and most recently making four straight bowl appearances from 2015-18. The Bulls posted back-to-back 10-win seasons in 2016 and 2017, logging a program-record 11-2 mark in 2016 while finishing both seasons ranked in the Top 25. USF spent a program-record 20 straight weeks ranked in the Top 25 during the 2016 and 2017 seasons and reached as high as No. 2 in the national rankings during the 2007 season.

Follow @USFFootball on Twitter for all the latest information concerning the USF Football program.