Bulls Fall on a Wet Night At ECU

USF Athletics Communications

Joiner posts second-straight 100-yard game; Boyles leads Bulls with career-high 14 tackles

GREENVILLE, N.C., OCT. 28, 2021– The USF football team (2-6; 1-3 American) led at the half but couldn’t hold on in a 29-14 loss to East Carolina (5-3; 2-2 American) in a downpour at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in Greenville, N.C.

With the teams facing periodic heavy rain and slick footballs all night, USF forced four fumbles and recovered three while ECU collected four turnovers, getting a fumble and a pick-six among its three interceptions on the night.

Freshman Katravis Marsh started his second career game at quarterback, stepping in for Timmy McClain, who suffered an ankle injury in the win vs. Temple. Marsh led the Bulls to a 14-6 halftime lead, but had three second half interceptions as the Bulls were outscored 23-0 in the second half.

The Bulls won the toss and chose to receive the opening kickoff. Marsh moved the Bulls down the field 71 yards on 14 plays to the ECU 4, but USF was denied on a 4th and 1 play as Kelley Joiner Jr. was stopped short of the first down and the Bulls turned the ball over on downs.

USF would force a turnover on ECU’s opening possession as Antonio Grier knocked the ball free from Pirate receiver Shane Calhoun and Dwayne Boyles recovered it at the ECU 40. Boyles would go on to lead USF with a career-best 14 tackles on the night and Grier would post 12.

USF again drove into the red zone but came up empty. Marsh hit Xavier Weaver over the middle at the ECU 13, but when Weaver tried to spin a Pirate defender put his helmet on the ball and ECU recovered the fumble on their 17. Weaver, who missed the Temple game with a hamstring injury, would lead the Bulls with five catches for 91 yards and touchdown.

The Pirates then drove the ball 83 yards on 14 plays to take a 7-0 lead on Rahjai Harris’ 13-yard touchdown run. Harris ran for 100 yards on 22 carries on the night.

After the teams traded punts, USF drove to the Pirate 24 and again faced a 4th and 1. After a timeout, Scott elected to be aggressive and go for it again. This time Jaren Mangham burst through a hole on the left side, brushed aside a couple of Pirate arms and raced 24-yards for his 13th touchdown of the season. Spencer Shrader’s extra point gave USF a 7-6 lead. Mangham would finish with 67 yards on 12 carries as he extended his touchdown streak to seven games.

On the ensuing kickoff, Jayden Curry forced a Pirate fumble and Timarcus Simpson fell on it at the ECU 25. Marsh hit Yusuf Terry for a 12-yard gain on first down and two plays later ripped a 13-yard dart to Weaver in the endzone for his first career touchdown pass and a 14-6 lead as the Bulls put a pair of touchdowns on the board within 30 seconds on the game clock.

The USF defense came up huge to close the half as ECU drove to the Bulls 1. On fourth and goal, ECU quarterback Holton Ahler’s attempted a quarterback sneak but the Bulls’ defensive line drove the Pirates offensive line backward into Ahlers, forcing a fumble that Demaurez Bellamy recovered after seven players got their hands on the slick ball.

Trailing 14-6 at the half, ECU took the second half kickoff and marched 57 yards for a touchdown to close within one, 14-13.

USF was forced to punt at midfield on its opening possession of the half and Andrew Stokes downed a beauty on the half-yard line. The Bulls appeared to get a safety on ECU’s first down play, tackling the running back in the endzone, but officials ruled Keaton Mitchell got the ball out of the end zone after a replay review. Ahlers hit C.J. Johnson on a 42-yard fade route on the next play. ECU drove to the USF 21 where the Bulls defense held and Owen Daffer missed wide on a 39-yard field goal attempt in the downpour.

On the Bulls next possession, Marsh tried to hit Demarcus Gregory on an out route, but Malik Flemming undercut the throw and returned the interception 31 yards for a touchdown. ECU held a 19-14 lead after its two-point conversion attempt failed.

USF had to punt on its next possession and ECU drove the ball 80 yards in 10 plays, capping the drive with a 25-yard touchdown run from Keaton Mitchell for a 26-14 lead.

The Bulls had a last chance to possibly steal the win late in the fourth quarter, but a pair of holding calls thwarted what was developing into a good drive and Marsh was intercepted with 7:43 to play when he avoided pressure and tried to make a play downfield. 

ECU would add a field goal for the final margin.

Key Stats
0-7 – USF was 0-7 on third down conversions and 2-of-4 on fourth down while ECU went 6-of-17 on third down and 5-of-6 on fourth down.

4-3 – Both teams committed several turnovers in the game, with the Bulls committing four and ECU three, but ECU got 16 points off theirs while USF turned theirs into 7.

38:28 to 21:32 – In a reversal of last week’s numbers vs. Temple, Thursday ECU dominated the time of possession 38:28 to 21:32 and ran 86 plays to USF’s 60-.


• RB Jaren Mangham scored a touchdown in his seventh straight game, tying Darius Tice (2016) for the second-longest streak in program history. He now has 13 on the year.

• Dwayne Boyles led the Bulls with a career-best 14 tackles and added a recovered fumble

• Kelley Joiner Jr. recorded his second straight 100-yard rushing game and the fourth of his career logging 100 yards on 12 carries with an 8.6 yards per carry average.

Up Next
USF returns to Tampa for a two-game homestand that starts Saturday, Nov. 6 with a homecoming clash with Houston. That game is set for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff on ESPNU.

Tickets for USF home games can be purchased by calling or texting 1-800-GoBulls or visiting USFBullstix.comor Ticketmaster.

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