TAMPA, Fla. – Sean Atkins stands alone. A 25-yard reception in the third quarter of a 27-23 win over Temple on Saturday afternoon at Raymond James Stadium was the 68th for the receiver this season, a new USF single-season mark. Atkins passed Rodney Adams, who caught 67 passes in 2016.
Atkins, who had a 40-yard reception on the game’s first play from scrimmage, had a career-high 169 yards on a career-tying nine receptions. His previous high for yards was 116 at Navy earlier this season. It was the second straight week he caught nine passes and third time in his career.
Atkins joined the program as a walk-on under Charlie Strong in 2019 and received his scholarship prior to the 2021 season. He is now in the record book, a feat he accomplished in front of his parents.
“It was definitely a special day for me,” he said. “Just doing what I can to help contribute to the team and get that (win). Breaking that record is just awesome and is a testament to who I am. Just continue to move forward and go back to work.”
Atkins’ final catch of the day was for 16 yards and a first down with 3:22 remaining to seal the win. Two plays later, quarterback Byrum Brown was in kneel-down mode to kill the clock.
“Of all the catches for the record today, that was definitely the most special one,” he said.
The Viera, Florida native has 808 receiving yards this season, good for fourth on the Bulls’ single-season chart. Marquez Valdes-Scantling holds the record with 879 yards in 2017. Adams had 822 yards in 2015 and 2016.
The Bulls (5-5/3-3 American) are within one win of being bowl-eligible for the first time since 2018. They travel to San Antonio to play UTSA next Friday (9 p.m. ET) and finish the regular season on November 25 at home (time TBD) against Charlotte.
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