Bulls vs. Knights

 Sun Dome Watch Party | Vote Grothe & Selvie for Heisman | USF, Rutgers & BIG EAST Game NotesGameday Policies & Procedures


Setting The Scene
 

 George Selvie's 2007 Highlights (ESPN) 

   Selvie's Highlights vs. UCF (ESPNU)
   Matt Grothe Highlights vs. UCF (ESPNU)
   Taurus Johnson's Two TDs vs. Knights (ESPNU)
   Defensive Highlight Reel vs. UCF (ESPNU)
   USF QBs Air It Out vs. UCF (ESPNU)
   Leavitt Press Lunch Audio
   Leavitt Presser After UCF Game
   Relive USF First BIG EAST Win (ESPN2)

Date: Thursday, Oct. 18, 2007
Location: Piscataway, N.J.
Kickoff: 7:30 PM Eastern
TV: ESPN
TV Replay: Sunday at 7 p.m. Eastern on Catch47
Radio: WFLA 970 AM (Tampa)
Stadium: Rutgers Stadium
Stadium Capacity - Surface: 42,000 - Field Turf
Tickets: Sold OUt

The Game
In the midst of the nation’s longest winning streak and ranked No. 2 in the BCS standings, the
No. 2/2/3 University of South Florida football team (6-0, 1-0 BIG EAST) takes its first BIG EAST
road trip to Rutgers (4-2, 1-1 BIG EAST) for Thursday night’s national TV game on ESPN & ESPN HD at 7:30 p.m. USF is coming off a 64-12 win over a UCF in Tampa, while Rutgers defeated Syracuse 38-14.

The Series
USF and Rutgers have split two meetings with the visitor successful in both instances.  USF won 45-31 in Piscataway in 2005, while Rutgers won 22-20 at Raymond James in 2006.

The Broadcasts
The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN & ESPNHD with Chris Fowler (play-by-play), Craig James (color), Doug Flutie (color) and Erin Andrews (sideline).  USF’s radio broadcast  with Jim Louk, Mark Robinson & Mike Pepper can be heard on WFLA 970 AM, WFLL 1400 AM, WORL 660 AM, WTSU 1590 AM, WPSL 1590 and the Press Pass on GoUSFBulls.com

The Coaches
USF: Jim Leavitt (Missouri ‘78) has a career record of 76-43 (.639) and is in his 11th season at USF.  He has coached every game in the program’s history.  He is 4-0 when ranked, 14-9 vs. BIG EAST, 54-29 in night games, 21-29 on the road, 45-37 on television and 0-3 on ESPN.
Rutgers:  Greg Schiano entered 2007 with a 32-43 record in six years at Rutgers

The Program
The USF program has an all-time record of 49-26 at the NCAA FBS level and a 76-43 overall record. The wining percentage of 63.9 is good enough to rank USF No. 14 among FBS schools in all-time winning percentage.  USF became the fastest team in the modern era of college football to go from upstart NCAA FBS school to a top-10 ranking on Sunday, Sept. 30.  The Bulls have won eight straight, which is tied for the longest active streak at the NCAA FBS level along with Boston College and Hawaii.

Player to Watch
Thorpe Award Candidate Trae Williams will play a huge role for the Bulls as they attempt to slow down the balanced Rutgers attack.  Williams has nine interceptions in the last two seasons, which is 2nd best total by NCAA FBS players in the last two years.  He also has 17 pass breakups, including 8 this year during that time.  Expect Williams to match up with either Tiquan Underwood or Kenny Britt, both of who have 600-plus yards this season.

Recapping UCF
Behind the best passing day in USF history and the best defensive outing in two seasons, No. 5 USF rolled past Central Florida 64-12 ... The win improved USF to 6-0, which is the best start in program history ... The previous record was a 5-0 start in 1998 ... USF has won eight straight games, which is another program record and tied for the longest active streak in NCAA FBS ... Hawaii and Boston College also have eight game streaks ... Three USF quarterbacks combined for a school record 365 passing yards ... The previous record was 364 by Matt Grothe, alone, last season against Syracuse ... Grothe had 312 yards of total offense and 4 TDs - two rushing and two passing ... He only played until the second to last series of the third quarter ... He ran for 100 yards, marking his second consecutive 100-yard rushing game ... He is only the second USF QB to have back-to-back 100 yard games ... Grothe also passed for 212 yards and could have easily had a much bigger day ... He had three receivers drop TD passes in the first half ... Taurus Johnson had two TD receptions for the first time in his career and doubled his career TD total to 4 ... Redshirt freshman Carlton Mitchell eclipsed 100 yards receiving on just two receptions, including a 75 catch and score from Grant Gregory ... Cedric Hill and Jessie Hester also had TD catches ... Backup QB Grant Gregory was 4-6 for 125 yards and two TDs ... Third string QB Anthony Severino was 1-2 for 28 yards and a TD pass ... True freshman Mike Ford ran for 39 yards on eight carries and added another TD ... Ford has five rushing TD and one TD reception this season ... The defense held UCF to 145 yards of total offense, which the lowest total since held FAMU to 85 yards in 2005 ... USF stymied Knight’s RB Kevin Smith, who had just 55 yards rushing ... He came into the game leading the country in yards per game at 172 ... George Selvie set the USF single season record for tackles for loss with four against the Knights ... He now has 21.5 TFL ... The previous record was 19 by Craig Kobel (2003) and Kawika Mitchell (2002) ... He added to his USF season sack record with one against UCF .... He now has 11.5 sacks to lead the country ...  Fellow sophomore DE Aaron Harris had a three sacks against UCF ... Senior CB and Thorpe Award candidate Mike Jenkins picked off his second pass of the season ... The Bulls had 16 tackles for loss ... Richard Clebert and Jarriett Buie each had two TFLs apiece ... USF’s defense has forced three or more turnovers four times this season ... They have averaged more forced turnovers (4.5) against major conference teams - West Virginia, UNC, Auburn & UCF - than against FCS team (1.5) Elon and Sun Belt member FAU ... USF racked up 143 yards on its eight TDs, UCF had just 145 yards in the game.

By the Numbers - 23
During USF’s current eight-game win streak no team has scored more than 23 points against the stout Bulls defense.   In fact, only Auburn & FAU - both with 23 points - have scored more than 19 against the Bulls.  The eight  game win streak is tied for the longest active stretch among NCAA FBS members with Boston College & Hawaii.

Moffitt Among Final 10 for Butkus
Chalk another accomplishment on the seemingly endless list of 'firsts' for the University of South Florida football program this year. 

Ben Moffitt was named as one of 10 semifinalists for the Butkus Award on Thursday morning.

The Butkus award is presented by the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando, Inc. (DACO) and is presented annually to the nation's best collegiate linebacker.
Moffitt was a preseason Butkus candidate and has lived up to that billing on the field.
 
As a captain on one of the  best defenses in college football, the senior LB has racked up a team high 49 tackles, 27 solo, and nine tackles for loss.  He also leads the team with three interceptions, including two against then-No. 5 West Virginia.

Moffitt was a consensus national player of the week after his performance against West Virginia, which included an interception and touchdown.  He earned the weekly honors from Walter Camp, Nagurski and the BIG EAST.

USF in the BCS
USF debuted at No. 2 in the initial Bowl Championship Series standings released on Sunday afternoon.

It is the first ever BCS ranking in a season of firsts for the Bulls, but more importantly it places USF as a major player in the national championship picture. The No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the BCS standings at the end of the regular season will play in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 7, 2008 in New Orleans, La.

If the Bulls hold ground, they would be heading to the Superdome for the title game in just their 11th year of playing college football.

The BCS standings use the Coaches Poll, Harris Poll and computer polls to determine the most worthy teams.  USF is third in the Coaches and Harris polls and No. 1 in the computer polls. The Bulls are the consensus No. 1 team in the computers, earning the top spot in five of the six ratings systems.

USF trails No. 1 Ohio State by .022 percentage points and leads No. 3 Boston college by .029 percentage points.

USF also moved up to No. 2 in the Associated Press Poll and to No. 3 in the Coaches Poll.

Notes
• (Courtesy Greg Auman, St. Pete Times) No current member of the Big East has ever been ranked as high as No. 2 while a member of the Big East. The next-highest ranking before Sunday was No. 3, attained by West Virginia and Louisville last season and by West Virginia in 1993. Pittsburgh and Syracuse held the No. 1 ranking before the Big East started playing football in 1991, but neither team has done so since 1982.

Among former Big East schools, Miami is the only school to ever be ranked higher while a member of the Big East conference. The Hurricanes held the top ranking in four seasons, 1991, 1992, 2001 and 2002.

This and That for Rutgers
USF is bowl eligible for the third consecutive season ... Thursday will mark the sixth week of six consecutive that USF has played on the ESPN body of networks ... The Bulls matchup with a one loss UConn team next week, also appears headed for the worldwide leader in sports ...  USF is a popular commodity around Bristol ... Raymond James Stadium was one of the final two options for ESPN College Gameday on the weekend of Oct. 13 ... Lee, Kirk and the gang ended up going to Norman for Missouri vs. Oklahoma ... The Sept. 28 game with West Virginia was the second highest rated ESPN2 College Football regular season broadcast in the station’s history ... The game was viewed by 2.7 million households.

Stopping Ray’s Run
USF has not allowed a player to rush for over 100 yards since Rutgers’ Ray Rice went for 202 at Raymond James last season ...  That is a span of  14 games ... Only six players have rushed for over 100 yards against the Bulls defense since the start of 2005 .... The USF defense, in addition to creating 21 turnovers this season, has had some success shutting down the top offensive weapons on opposing teams this season.  USF’s defense held West Virginia Heisman candidates Steve Slaton (54 yards), Pat White (36 yards) and UCF’s Kevin Smith (55 yards), who led the country in rushing yards per game - to a combined 145 yards rushing this season.  That is less than Smith averaged – 172 yards - entering the game against USF.  Below are the numbers for what the players average coming in and what they produced during the matchup against USF:

 

 

 

 

Rushing
Slaton
White
Devine
Team
WVU 125 72.5 66 357
Vs. USF 54 36 36 188
         
  QB - Tyler Yates      
UNC 300 YPG 9TD 3 INT  
         
  RB - Kevin Smith      
UCF 172 YPG      
Vs. USF 54 yards

Individual NCAA Stats
George Selvie leads the country in sacks (11.5) ... His closest competition is Indiana’s Greg Middleton, who has 9.5 ... Selvie also leads the country in tackles for loss (21.5) ...  His closest competition is Michigan’s Shawn Crable,  who has 18.5 in seven games ...Trae Williams & Mike Jenkins are both eighth nationally in pass breakups with 8 ... Ben Moffitt and Nate Allen are both tied for 26th with 3 INTs ... Delbert Alvarado is 24th nationally in puntingaverage (43.3) ... Jerome Murphy is 24th in kick return average at 27.0 .

By George!
Sophomore DE George Selvie began the 2007 season with a record breaking evening against Elon ... He hasn’t slowed down since ...  Selvie is on the latest lists for the Lombardi and Bednarik and should be favorite for the Hendricks award, which is given to the best defensive end in college football ... He has broken the USF single season record with 11.5 sacks and is three shy of the career record of 20 ... Below is where Selvie ranks in the USF,  BIG EAST and NCAA record books:

Sacks
Season
Career
George Selvie 11.5 17
USF 11.5, Selvie (2007) 20.5, Stephen Nicholas (02-06)
BIG EAST 20, Elvis Dumerville, Louisville (2005) 36, Cornell Brown, Virginia Tech (1993-96)
NCAA 24, Terrell Suggs, Arizona State (2002) 44, Terrell Suggs, Arizona State (00-02)

TFL
Season
Career
George Selvie 21.5 36.5
USF 21.5, Selvie (2007) 53.5, Stephen Nicholas (02-06)
BIG EAST 26, Bryan Knight (2000) NA
NCAA 32, Jason Babin, Western Mich. (2003) 75, Jason Babin, Western Michigan (00-03)

Below are the game-by-game numbers for Selvie:

George Selvie
Tackles
TFL
Sacks
FF
QBH
Elon 10 6.0 4.0 1 2
Auburn 4 3.5 1.5 0 3
UNC 6 5.0 3.0 0 0
West Virginia 8 2.0 1.0 0 1
FAU 3 1.0 1.0 0 1
UCF 5 4.0 1.0 1 1
Total 36 21.5 11.5 2 8

Selvie broke his own single game record for tackles for loss with six against Elon ... Below is the new single game record chart for TFL:

1. George Selvie -  6, Elon, 9/1/07
2. George Selvie - 5, North Carolina, 9/22/07
George Selvie - 5, Florida International, 9/9/06

Kawika Mitchell - 5, at Oklahoma, 9/28/02
Tim Jones - 5, at Army, 9/27/03George Selvie
Craig Kobel - 5, Pittsburgh, 12/4/04

Selvie also tied the USF single game record for sacks with four against Elon ... Below is who he shares the honor with :

1. George Selvie - 4, Elon, 9/1/07
Shurron Pierson - 4, Southern Miss, 10/12/02

Selvie leads all NCAA players with 11.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss this season .... Terrence Royal (2005) and Shurron Pierson (2001) previously held the USF sack record at 10 ... The career record for sacks is 20 by Stephen Nicholas ... Selvie is No. 4 in the USF history book with 17 career sacks.

He broke the TFL record of 19 that was previously held by Craig Kobel (2003) and Kawika Mitchell (2002)... Selvie had 5.5 sacks adn 15 TFL as a freshman last season ... He was named a freshman All-American by The Sporting News.

Moffitt Anchors Defense
Ben Moffitt is the lone returnee out of USF’s stellar trio of linebackers from last season ... He lead the team with 52 tackles, plus 8 tackles for loss ... He is ranked as the fifth best senior inside linebacker prospect for the NFL Draft ... Moffitt is a candidate for the Butkus award ... The senior was named Camp & Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Year and BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week after picking off two passes, including one for a TD, against West Virginia ... Moffitt also nine tackles, including two for a loss and a pass breakup vs. WVU ... He followed that effort with 11 tackles, seven solo, three TFL, two pass breakups, one third-down stop and one fourth-down stop in the Bulls win over Florida Atlantic  (Oct. 6) ... The senior currently has 43 tackles, eight tackles for loss, three interceptions and four pass breakups for one of the best defenses in the land ... He had He collected a TFL and his first career interception, followed by a 41 yard return against UNC ... He began the 2007 campaign with 10 tackles, eight assisted, one tackle for loss and one pass breakup against Elon ... During the 2006 campaign, Moffitt teamed up with Stephen Nicholas – now with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons – and Patrick St. Louis, who is one of the Bulls’ strength and conditioning coaches ... Last year Moffitt led the team in tackles with 112 and was third in tackles for a loss with 11 including four sacks ... During the summer Moffitt was named to the Bronko Nagurski Award and Butkus watch lists.

Monitoring  Matt
Matt Grothe made quite a name for himself last year en route to BIG EAST Conference Freshman of the Year honors Grothe rushed for 100 yards in back-to-back games against UCF & FAU ... He had 100 yards against UCF, needing less than three quarters to accumulate the yardage ...  Grothe accounted for 4 touchdowns against UCF ... He rushed for two and passed for another two - both to WR Taurus Johnson. ... He had 312 yards of total offense before leaving midway through the third quarter ... Grothe is just the second USF quarterback to have back-to-back 100 yard rushing days ... No USF QB has done it in three straight games ... He set a career high with 122 rushing yards against FAU ... It was just third time a USF quarterback has rushed for 100 yards ... Threw for 135 yards, including a 55-yard TD connection with Carlton Mitchell against West Virginia ... He had a streak of 136 passes without an interception snapped against the Mountaineers ... Grothe racked up 216 yards passing, the second highest single half total of his career, against UNC ... He built upon his legacy as a gamer by leading USF to a come-from-behind overtime win over Auburn ... After being sacked three times in the third quarter, Grothe went 6-8 for 75 passing yards, plus 25 rushing yards, and a TD pass in leading USF to the overtime win ... He began the 2007 season with 239 yards, two TDs and no picks against Elon ... The gun slinger attempted 39 passes, a career high, and completed 23 ... The Lakeland native threw for 2,576 yards on 202-317 passing while connecting on 15 touchdowns ... He also ran for 622 yards on 178 carries and rumbled for nine TD’s ... For his efforts last year Grothe has been named to the Manning and Maxwell Award watch lists.

Trae & J
Seniors Trae Williams and Mike Jenkins are one of the most experienced CB combos in college football, the two have combined for 70 career starts ... Combined they have 16 pass breakups and fourINT this season ... Their lock-down cover abilities allow USF to funnel all of the offensive action to the middle of the field ... Both posted impressive numbers in the season opener ... Williams had five tackles, one for a loss and a pass breakup ... While Mike Jenkins had two pass breakups ... Jenkins followed that performance up with an interception late in the fourth quarter against Auburn that he nearly took in for a TD before stepping out of bounds at the three ... Trae Williams has two picks this season and nine over the last two years ... Recently, Mel Kiper of ESPN.com listed Mike Jenkins as the best senior CB prospect for the 2008 NFL Draft and the 10th best senior prospect on his “Big Board” ... Kiper has predicted that Trae Williams would be a second round selection ... Last season the two also teamed up for eight interceptions, seven of which belonged to Williams, tying a single season school record (with J.R. Reed) ... Williams’ seven picks also led the BIG EAST ... The duo has been sited as the best in the BIG EAST and the state of Florida by several outlets, including ESPN.com expert Mark Schlabach.

Team NCAA Stats - Rank (per game)
Tackles For Loss - 1 (11.2)
3rd Down Conversion % Defense - 2 (24.0)
Turnovers Gained - 4 (21)
Pass Efficiency Defense - 5 (88.84)
Interceptions - 9 (12)
Sacks - 10 (3.3)
Turnover Margin - 10 (+1.3)
Scoring Defense - 11 (15.7)
Total Defense - 11 (284.33)
Fumbles Recovered - 14 (9)
Pass Defense - 15 (178)
Rush Defense - 26 (106)
Scoring Offense - 27 (35.17)

Fast Starts

USF has scored first in all six games this season. The Bulls have received the ball first three times and scored 44 points in the first quarter of the last five games (14 vs. UNC & Auburn, 7 vs. WVU, 7 vs. FAU, 12 v.s UCF).

Making Plays
USF’s defense is led by a bunch of playmakers, which are producing turnovers at a record pace ... The USF record for forced turnovers is 35 set in 2002 .... USF has already forced 21 in six games and is on pace for 42 this season ...  The Bull “D” ranks fourth  nationally in turnovers gained, 14th in fumbles recovered (9) and ninth in interceptions (12) ... Nate Allen and Ben Moffitt both already have three interceptions, CB Trae Williams has a pair of picks, as does Mike Jenkins ... Moffitt, a four-year starter, did not have any picks prior to this season ... Allen also has two fumble recoveries and has a pick in three of four games ... The defensive line has accounted for 19 of the team’s 20 sacks and 41.5 of the 71 tackles for loss ... USF is  No. 1 nationally in TFL with an average of 11.3 per game.

USF’s defense has forced three or more turnovers four times this season.  They have averaged more forced turnovers (4.5) against major conference teams - West Virginia, UNC, Auburn & UCF - than against FCS teams (1.5) Elon and Sun Belt member FAU.

Secondary to None
USF’s secondary has proven early that it may be one of the best in America ... Currently, the Bulls are No. 5 in pass efficiency defense (88. 84) ... USF is also ranked No. 15 in pass defense at 178 yards per game, but that does not tell the whole story ... The secondary has eight interceptions, five fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles ... Prior to West Virginia, the Bulls had only allowed 250 passing yards combined to Auburn and North Carolina ... Carolina was averaging 300-plus yards passing before USF held them to 85 and intercepted four passes on Sept. 22 ... USF has held two teams below 100 yards passing ... UNC had 85 yards and UCF had 84 yards ... Sophomore FS Nate Allen has three INT, while Trae Williams and Mike Jenkins both have two ...  SS Carlton Williams has 3.5 TFL, one sack and 33 tackles this season ... The secondary as a whole already has 25 pass breakups, led by T. Williams and Jenkins with eight apiece.

20,000 Season Tickets Sold
A national ranking, two wins (at the time) and now another plateau in season tickets. The USF ticket office announced on Tuesday, Sept. 18 that it had surpassed 20,000 season tickets. At the end of the business day on Tuesday, USF’s season ticket total was up to 20,043. The record season ticket number of 20,619 was set in the inaugural season of 1997. 

Ticket UPDATE
USF has sold out its last home games, the first two sellouts in program history ... USF had a capacity and record crowd of 67,012 for West Virginia and 65,948 for Central Florida ... The Bulls are averaging 51,088 this season, which is second in the BIG EAST ... The crowd of 67,012 is the largest in the league this season ... Cincinnati returned 1,200 lower bowl tickets for the game on Nov. 3 ... The ticket office is prepping for sellouts in final two remaining games ... USF sold its entire allotment (1,500) of tickets for the Rutgers game ... All ticket requests for away games should be made by the Friday prior to the game ... Away game tickets can be purchased over the phone by calling 1-800-GoBulls.

Sophomores Starring
USF returned 16 starters this season and has quickly risen to national recognition despite being essentially a young team.  The Bulls are receiving award worthy play from their sophomore class.  At the top of that list are second year stars Matt Grothe, George Selvie and Nate Allen.

Selvie’s leading the country in sacks (11.5) and tackles for loss (21.5) in six games this season. He was named Walter Camp National Player of the Week (9/23) for his 3 sacks and 5 TFLs against North Carolina.  He is a Lombardi and Bednarik candidate.

Grothe’s numbers and recognition as the BIG EAST Rookie of the Year set the ground work for acclaim.   Grothe is leading the team in rushing 346, while also passing for 1,121 yards and seven TD to 3 INT.

Nate Allen is putting himself all over the stat sheet with 3 INT, 35 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries and 1 tackle for loss.  Allen was named BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week (9/10) and Nagurski National Player of the Week (9/11) after playing a part in three turnovers against Auburn.

USF has 15 underclassmen among its current projected starters on offense and defense.

Poll Position
In just its seventh season as a full-time member of the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, the University of South Florida football team made its first appearance in the USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll and the AP Top 25 Poll on Sept. 16.  In four weeks since they have risen to No. 2 in the BCS & AP and No. 3 in the Coaches Poll.
 
USF in the Rankings
AP
Coaches
Harris
BCS
Pre RV RV -- --
Week 1 RV RV -- --
Week 2 RV RV -- --
Week 3 23 24 -- --
Week 4 18 18 20 --
Week 5 6 9 10 --
Week 6 5 5T 6 --
Week 7 2 3 3 2

Notes:
• USF was ranked for the first time exactly 10 years and 10 days (Sept. 6, 2007) after its inaugural game against Kentucky Weslyan in 1997.
• USF earned an AP ranking 104 polls after becoming  a full-time bowl eligible FBS member in 2001.  The pace is one of the fastest in NCAA history.
• USF became the fastest team in the modern era of college football to go from upstart NCAA FBS school to a top-10 ranking.  There was106 AP polls and 112 Coaches Polls since USF became a full-time FBS member in 2001.
• The same can be said about the top-5 ranking, which took USF 107 weeks to achieve.

Built Ford Tough
True-freshman Mike Ford is third on the USF team in rushing yards with 251 (50.2 per game) ... He leads the team with five rushing TD and one TD reception ... Ford scored from 12 yards out against UCF and ran for 39 yards in limited action ... He did not play against FAU ... Ford ran for 42 yards, including 35 on his opening carry, against West Virginia ... Had just 13 yards rushing against UNC, but broke the scoring open with a five yard TD run in the first quarter ... The Sarasota native ran for 74 yards, including 59 in the first half, and 1 TD at Auburn ... He set USF freshman debut record with 3 TDs, two rushing and one receiving against Elon ...  The debut record, regardless of class, for TD in a USF debut was four by Jermaine Clemons in USF’s inaugural game (9-6-97) ... Ford had runs of 21 and 48 yards, which accounted for a large chunk of his 83 yards on six carries ...  After the game when Ford was asked about breaking two tackles on his 48-yard run, he just said that his style was, “Ford Tough” ... ESPN college basketball commentator Dick Vitale, who lives in Sarasota, put himself among the Ford backers after watching him as a high schooler and hearing about his production in the USF opener ... No USF freshman has ever run for 100 yards in their debut.

September Numbers
USF owns a 26-17 record in the month of September ...  This September was the first time in program history that USF has won four games in the opening month and the second time it has gone undefeated ... The Bulls were 3-0 in September of 1998 ... The Bulls have won three games in the opening month of the two prior seasons ... In 2005 USF went 3-1 with the lone loss coming to Penn State in the opener ... In 2006, the Bulls were 3-2 with wins in the first three games before narrow losses to Kansas and Rutgers.

Student Allotment Increases
After a turnout that exceeded the allotted number of seats for season opener against Elon, the University of South Florida athletics department has dramatically increased the number of tickets available to students for the remainder of the 2007 football season.
 
USF will now make 12,501 seats available to the student population.  The USF ticket office allotted 8,000 for the Elon game and a student attendance numbered of 8,600.
 
 “Our students support and interest is off the charts and that is why we made the decision to allocate 12,000 seats for students for the rest of the season,” said Senior Associate Athletics Director Bill McGillis. “We had 8,600 for the opener and there is no question those numbers will grow. Student attendance is critical because they bring a level of energy, spirit and tradition that is unrivaled.  Our intent is to have the largest student section in the BIG EAST and we will.”
 
USF is the largest school in terms of enrollment, which tops out at over 44,000, in the BIG EAST and has the largest student section.

Home Cooking
USF has only lost two home games over the last two seasons and just eight since the 2000 season.  The Bulls have recorded one home loss or gone undefeated in eight of 10 years.  USF plays six home games in 2007 and is 4 -0 at Raymond James Stadium so far.

Coaching 'Em Up
USF head coach Jim Leavitt is now the sole remaining member of the original USF coaching staff from 1996 (when the program simply practiced for one year before playing). But Leavitt wastes no time pondering where everyone went. Rather, he’s brought in  Dan McCarney – only the longest tenured head coach in the Big 12 (at Iowa State) – and well-respected offensive coach Mike Canales, who was actually on that original USF staff before stints at NC State and Arizona as well as a stop in the NFL with the New York Jets. Canales will function as pass game coordinator and coach the receivers.

Also new to the full-time USF staff in 2007 are offensive line coach Mike Simmonds and tight ends coach Larry Scott, both of whom were graduate assistants in 2006. Meanwhile, Greg Gregory returns for his third year on the staff, but his first in the role of offensive coordinator.

Denson Closes the Books
WR Courtney Denson has already earned a BA in communications from USF.  What makes his graduation even more impressive is that he transferred from Auburn, but didn’t allow the change of scenery to slow his academic pursuits.  He is currently pursuing a second major in Africana Studies.

USF honors Dorsey & Camon
The 2007 USF Bulls have two stickers, bearing the initials “JC” and “KD,” for former Bulls defensive back Javan Camon, who died after a collision in an indoor football game in February, and Keeley Dorsey, the freshman running back who collapsed and died during a team conditioning workout in January. 

USF also observed a moment of silence in honor of Dorsey, Camon and late Sun Dolls coach Caroline Wiren, who died in May due to complications from labor, prior to the Elon game.

Time to Stand Out
For redshirt-freshman Carlton Mitchell, it is time to make his own name in a circle of family and friends that is full of standouts. 

Mitchell’s mother, Angela, is the cut “man” for professional boxer Antonio Tarver.  The cut man position is a male dominated occupation and Angela is considered a pioneer in the sport of boxing.

Tarver and Carlton have been close friends since the Bull wide receiver was 12. He is also close friends with Tarver’s son, Antonio Jr..  Antonio Jr. is  a freshman point guard at Daytona Beach Community College.

Carlton’s father, Carl, is 6 feet 8 and played pro basketball in Europe for 12 years.  His half-brother, Carl Jr., is 6-10 and playing professionally in the Domincan Replublic.

In his first collegiate season, Mitchell has 11 receptions for 215 yards and two TDs.  He was the first receiver to go for 100 yards in 2007 when he had 107 yards against UCF, including a 75 yard catch and score. He made Sportscenter’s “Top-10 Plays” on the night of the West Virginia game (Sept. 28) after his 55-yard catch and score against the Mountaineers.  Mitchell tip-toed the sideline after catching the ball on a crossing route before easily scoring.  It was his first career TD.

Injury Update (10-14)
Nick Capogna - Knee - Questionable
Matt Huners - Knee - Doubtful

Starting Notes
Senior center Nick Capogna had his consecutive start streak of 14 snapped at Auburn due to a knee injury ... The fallout from that injury was Jack Griffin starting at center, while Ryan Schmidt moved up the depth chart and started at left guard ... Ben Busbee earned his first career start against Elon, as did right guard Zach Hermann ... Hermann has started ever since ... On defense Brouce Mompremier and Nate Allen started for the first time in their careers against Elon, both have started every game this year ... Mike Ford collected his first career start against West Virginia ... Courtney Denson and Jessie Hester both recorded their first career starts at WR against FAU when USF opened in a five receiver set ... Denson has one career start at QB ... Jamar Taylor earned his first career start against UCF.

T-Mac & D-Mac
Junior LB Tyrone McKenzie led Iowa State in tackles last season and transferred to USF after the 2006 season.  He was able to play immediately thanks to a NCAA hardship waiver.  

McKenzie was on the USF campus to start the spring semester in January.
And in early February his former head coach at Iowa State, Dan McCarney, arrived in Tampa and took the position as the Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Line Coach. 

The two have teamed up on defense and produced immediate results.  USF held Elon to 13 points and just 33 yards rushing.  McKenzie, who had 129 tackles for Iowa State in 2006 and was 10th nationally, is second on the USF team with 52 tackles this season.

McCarney’s defensive line has accounted for 15 of USF’s 16  sacks this season. USF is 15th nationally with an average of 3.2 sacks per game.