If teams are smart, University of South Florida freshman wide receiver Terrence Horne should never touch the ball again as a kick returner. If they aren’t, Horne might be scoring a lot more touchdowns in his future.
The speedy wide receiver, a 100-meter champion as a high schooler in Florida, had both a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and a 97-yard touchdown return Saturday afternoon against Georgia Tech. It was the 25th time in Football Bowl Subdivision history a player has returned two kickoffs for a touchdown in the same game. No player has returned three kickoffs in a single game, so if the Yellow Jackets for some reason kick him the ball in the second half, there is a shot at history.
The last FBS player to return back-to-back kickoffs for a touchdown was California’s Trevor Davis against Washington State on Oct. 4, 2014.
Horne’s first return went 98 yards, setting a USF record for the third-longest in program history. Horne’s natural speed juked out defenders in USF’s own territory before he broke wide open crossing the 50-yard line, and with no Georgia Tech defenders in sight, he made his way into the end zone with ease.
On the next return opportunity, Horne went 97 yards and helped regained the lead for USF 14-10. Georgia Tech kicked in the direction of Horne (ill-advised), and the freshman collected the ball, avoided traffic in the middle of the field and bounced to his left, hitting the outside hole down the sideline, again with no one in sight after he crossed about the 50-yard line. With the score, Horne became the first player in the history of the American Athletic Conference to have two kickoff returns for touchdowns in the same game.
Horne tallied 229 kick return yards in the first quarter against Georgia Tech, which set a school record for the most in program history. Former USF defensive back Mike Jenkins held the previous mark of 192 yards which was set in 2007. USF held a 17-14 advantage over Georgia Tech at the end of the first quarter.