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COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Boca Raton Bowl: South Florida 45, Syracuse 0

Boca Raton Bowl

By CHUCK KING
Associated Press

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Byrum Brown threw three touchdown passes and became the second USF quarterback to throw for more than 4,000 yards in a season, leading the Bulls to a 45-0 rout of undermanned Syracuse in the RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl.

Brown, a redshirt freshman, closed out his outstanding season with 4,037 passing yards. Only Quinton Flowers has thrown for more yards in a season for the Bulls.

Syracuse (6-7) could only hope for such a QB performance. With starting quarterback Garrett Shrader missing the game following shoulder surgery, Syracuse interim coach Nunzio Campanile employed a hodgepodge approach at quarterback. The plan went about as well as it sounds.

Tight end Dan Villari, a former QB at Michigan, drew the start, with backup quarterback Braden Davis and running back LeQuint Allen Jr. also sharing snaps for Syracuse. The Orange offense managed 159 yards against a Bulls defense that surrendered more than 450 yards per game during the regular season.

But, help is on the way for Syracuse. After leading Ohio State to an 11-1 regular season, quarterback Kyle McCord entered the transfer portal and signed with Orange. Both McCord and incoming coach Fran Brown attended the Boca Bowl.

Syracuse nearly tied the score at 7-7, but officials flagged defensive back Alijah Clark’s touchdown return of a Brown lateral because of a blindside block penalty. The Orange still took possession in Bulls territory, but a botched field goal attempt resulted in Aamaris Brown’s 64-yard fumble return for a touchdown.

Tramel Evans provided USF (7-6) its second scoop-and-score by returning a fumble by Davis 61 yards in the closing seconds of the first half, giving the Bulls a 31-0 lead at the break.

Sean Atkins caught two of Brown’s touchdown passes. A former walk-on in his fifth year at USF, Atkins caught six passes for 93 yards in the game and became the first Bulls player to surpass 1,000 receiving yards in a season.

Brown finished 19 for 26 for 214 yards.

USF’s defense forced four turnovers and limited Syracuse to 1 of 17 on third downs.

The shutout is USF’s first since 2009 against Charleston Southern.

THE TAKEAWAY

Syracuse: Now the dust can settle a bit, after coach Fran Brown – who didn’t lead the Orange in the bowl game – landed the best recruiting class in Syracuse’s modern history. Expect the Orange to have quite a bit of buzz going into 2024.

South Florida: The Bulls put together one of the best turnarounds in the nation this season, after winning four of their last 37 games coming into 2023. USF has Alabama and Miami on next year’s schedule as part of its non-conference slate.

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

​December 21, 2023




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