Written by Austin Fackler
The University of South Florida is looking to open up their 2018 campaign in a big way as they take on Elon Phoenix who finished 3rd in the Colonial Athletic Association in 2017 but start this season being rank 13th (FCS Coaches Poll).
The Bulls are coming off of one of best years in school history finishing their season 10-2 capping it off with a narrow 38-34 victory in the Birmingham Bowl, against Texas Tech. The biggest question for this Bulls offense comes from the offensive side of the ball and the Quarterback position. Replacing a second team all-conference QB in Quinton Flowers is not going to very easy, but the Bulls are ready for the challenge.
Head coach Charlie Strong finally released who would be starting under center for the Bulls this Saturday; he is going with graduate transfer Blake Barnett. Two years ago things were a little different for Barnett as he was starting for the Alabama Crimson Tide with hopes of leading the Tide to a national championship.
While things may not have worked out the way Barnett wanted then, he is getting his second chance now. “You look at him, he has a really strong arm, and he runs a lot better than we thought” Strong stated at a press conference Tuesday. And, after questioning all the offensive and defensive assistants Strong decided to go with the experienced veteran.
As for Elon, they are going to be relying on quarterback Davis Cheek who after starting all 12 games as a freshman was named CAA offensive rookie of the year for 2017. During the season, he completed 190 of his 323 passes for 2,431 yards and 15 touchdowns; Cheek, also ran for 85 yards and two touchdowns. He will be looked upon heavily this season to help Elon break past third place in the division.
The matchup begins at 6:00 pm EST on September 1st from Raymond James Stadium the home of the Bulls.