South Florida is going bowling and they will face Syracuse in the Boca Raton Bowl. What a turnaround by first year coach Alex Golesh

Simpson, Williams help No. 10 Alabama shrug off slow start and beat South Florida 17-3 AP/PHOTO

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, in the 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. USF’s bowl opponent will be Syracuse of the ACC who finished the season also at 6-6. It will be the first bowl game for the Orangemen since 2012-2013 season.

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.

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 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.

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.

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