Game 9 Preview: The Bulls Face Memphis
The voice of USF Athletics routinely puts down his radio headset and picks up the pen to share his perspective on the history of USF Athletics.
Louk has been broadcasting games for 30 years and is the resident historian in the Athletics Department hallways.
Voice of the USF Bulls
TAMPA - After a bye week, the Bulls are back in action this weekend against the Memphis Tigers. It will be game two of the Mike White Era (most of us can only imagine what it would be like to be a college freshman and have an “era” named after us), and the Bulls will be looking for their third win of the season.
White did a remarkable job against Houston against a lot of tough factors. Now he and his coaches will have to make adjustments; there’s tape on him now, and every defensive coordinator the Bulls will see for the rest of the season is analyzing how to take him out of his comfort zone. From what we saw at Reliant Stadium, however, the kid will handle it and continue to improve as time goes on.
USF and Memphis is an interesting series. Here’s what’s happened when the Bulls and Tigers have gotten together.
Sept. 22, 2001: The first meeting is probably the oddest. This was USF’s first game back after 9-11. Two week earlier, USF had stunned Pittsburgh, then the Sept. 15 home game was postponed. This game was played at the Liberty Bowl, and I distinctly remember a crowd that was understandably still fairly somber and a little reluctant to get into the game. The Tigers scored all of their 17 points in the first quarter. USF’s points came from a Shurron Pierson fumble recovery for touchdown (with a missed extra point) and a field goal.
Nov. 9, 2002: The Bulls were 6-2 and Memphis was 2-7, and the game developed as you might expect. USF was up 28-7 at the half. It turned out to be a hard road to victory for the Bulls, however, as they held on 31-28, winning in the final seconds when a go-ahead score for Memphis was waived off on an offensive pass interference penalty. Really. That kind of finish happened once before the Bulls' last game at Reliant Stadium, but this time the call was on the other guys.
Nov. 29, 2003: The Bulls got their first win in Memphis on this day. J.R. Reed had seven tackles, three interceptions, returned a fumble for a score, and returned a kickoff for a score in what I consider to be the single greatest game by a USF player in program history. The Bulls were outgained by the incredible margin of 458 yards to 192. Memphis came in to the game 8-3, but USF found a way, winning 21-16 at the Liberty Bowl. This marked the last time to date that the Bulls have played in Memphis.
Nov. 27, 2004: Memphis beat the Bulls for the first and only time in Tampa on this date. This was the last C-USA game in this series. The Bulls were in the midst of a three game losing streak and finished 4-7 on the year.
Dec. 20, 2008: It was the MagicJack St. Petersburg Bowl then, and it was the first year for a bowl game in Tropicana Field. It was a fairly routine 41-14 win for USF as Matt Grothe threw touchdown passes to Taurus Johnson, Ben Busbee, and Dontavia Bogan. Bulls fans may remember this game as the first appearance of USF’s white helmets.
So there you have it. Today is the first time in Raymond James for the Tigers in 9 years, and this game is crucial for USF. The math is pretty easy now; to get to 6-6 and be bowl eligible the Bulls have to win out, starting with this game.
I hope you can make it to the stadium on Saturday. We will be honoring our veterans throughout the evening, so as you enjoy the game, please take a moment to reflect on their sacrifices and bravery.
Follow Jim Louk on twitter @usfjimlouk
The voice of the Bulls, Jim Louk, offers his perspective of USF Athletics, both past and present.
For 30 years, Jim Louk has been the voice of USF Athletics.
Louk came to USF in 1983 as the radio play-by-play announcer for the USF men's basketball team and served as the lead voice until the conclusion of the 1996-97 season. He then made the transition to football in USF's inaugural 1997 campaign, and still serves as the team's play-by-play announcer today. Louk will come into the 2013 football season having broadcast every Bulls football game in history - a span of 189 games.
He has handled USF TV play by play broadcasts on SportsChannel, Fox Sports Florida, and Brighthouse Sports Network. His career includes over 1,500 play by play broadcasts of USF events, including football, men's and women's basketball, baseball, softball, men's and women's soccer and volleyball.
This series of articles for GoUSFBulls.com began in 2010.
A native of Rochester, N.Y., Louk is a 1979 graduate of the University of Bridgeport where he earned a bachelor's degree in journalism. Louk and his wife Barbara reside in Lutz. Their son Ross is a senior in college.