Letters from Louk: Football’s Top 10 Wins

November 04, 2010

The voice of USF Athletics, Jim Louk, will routinely put down his radio headset and pick up the pen to share his perspective on the history of USF Athletics.

Louk has been broadcasting games for 27 years and is the resident historian in the Athletics Department hallways so this week he talks about The First Bowl game

100 wins!  What a “far-in-the-future” number that seemed like back in 1997 when the program began.  The win over Rutgers got the Bulls to that milestone in just over 14 years of playing.  Every bit as remarkable is the fact the USF is 40 games over .500 in that time.

Signature wins have been a hallmark of the program from the beginning, so narrowing the field to the 10 most influential, memorable and just plain satisfying wins isn’t easy.  It creates a list subject to debate and argument, and that’s good.  Imagine having so many great games to choose from in less than 15 years of football!

Some good games got left off my list.  The Bulls only win over a No. 1 team, Troy State in 2000, didn’t make the cut.  Neither did the first win over a top 25 team, the 2002 victory over Bowling Green (coached by Urban Meyer).  Or the C-USA opening win on the road at Army.

Instead, I chose these 10 games.  You may not agree with all of them, but they are all games that allow Bulls fans to brag a bit on their team.

They are listed in chronological order from the earliest to most recent.

Sept. 6, 1997 at Houlihan’s Stadium
USF 80, Kentucky Wesleyan 3
It wasn’t exactly a bold statement when Mark Robinson and I said on the air that night that 80 points by USF in a game might be a record that stands for a long time.  So it has - the closest the Bulls have gotten since was 69 against Cumberland back in 1998. That opening night, 49,212 watched at the old Tampa Stadium as the Bulls got the program started with a bang.

USF vs. Kentucky Wesleyan - Inaugural Game Opening Kick Off

Sept. 8, 2001 at Pittsburgh, Pa.
USF 35, Pittsburgh 26
Pittsburgh was sitting just outside the top 25 and USF was getting used to being a brand new 1-A football program when the Bulls traveled to Heinz Field.  Marquel Blackwell threw 65 passes, DeAndrew Rubin caught 11 of them, and the Bulls stunned Pittsburgh in a precursor of a BIG EAST rivalry.

USF at Pittsburgh - Blackwell to Rubin

Oct. 12, 2002 at Raymond James Stadium
USF 16, Southern Miss 13
By this time USF was a Conference USA member, but was still on the outside looking in for football.  We were able to schedule a number of C-USA teams that year, and the Bulls proved their worth by beating every C-USA team they played that season.  This was a big one; Southern Miss was always near the top of the conference, and they were a Bulls basketball rival dating back to the Metro.  When a Southern Miss field goal attempt sailed wide in the closing moments, the Bulls proved their worth to the new league.

USF vs. Southern Miss - The Missed Kick

Sept. 25, 2004 at Fort Worth, Texas
USF 45, TCU 44 2 OT
I loved this game.  It went back and forth all night long against a very good non-conference opponent and it helped set the tone for USF’s overtime success. To this day, the Bulls remain undefeated in overtime games.  This one went to double overtime and the Bulls won when TCU messed up the snap and missed an extra point.  TV went dark before the final play so the dumb guys on the radio were the only ones still broadcasting when the Bulls won 45-44.  After the game, USF stayed two extra days in Texas, unable to fly back to Florida because of a hurricane.

Sept. 24, 2005 at Raymond James Stadium
USF 45, Louisville 14
It’s funny, but every time the Bulls have switched conferences, someone has come up to me and said exactly the same thing, almost word for word. “Man, you guys are going to get killed in that league”.  Not true for the Metro, not true for Conference USA, and beginning this night, not true for the Big East.  The Bulls (and particularly Amarri Jackson) scored about every way possible in blasting Louisville in USF’s BIG EAST football debut.

USF vs. Louisville - Amarri Jackson Scores

Dec. 23, 2006 at Birmingham, Ala.
USF 24, East Carolina 7
The Bulls' second bowl appearance was in the inaugural Papa John’s Bowl at Legion Field in Birmingham.  Matt Grothe got hurt, and the often under- appreciated Pat Julmiste came in to lead the Bulls to their first bowl win.  The East Carolina coach? Some guy named Holtz, who would figure prominently in the Bulls’ future.

Sept. 8, 2007 at Auburn, Ala.
USF 26, Auburn 23 OT
“Hey, Jessie’s really open!” Don’t know if Matt Grothe had time to think that, but he had time to find Jessie Hester for one of the very greatest wins in USF history, one that helped propel the Bulls to a No. 2 national ranking shortly afterward.

USF at Auburn - Hester TD Catch

Sept. 28, 2007 at Raymond James Stadium
USF 21, West Virginia 13
How good was it going in September of 2007?  So good that our next signature win was just 20 days later.  West Virginia was No. 5 in the nation, Raymond James Stadium was sold out, and Carlton Mitchell kept both feet in bounds as he raced down the sideline with a Matt Grothe pass.

USF vs. West Virginia - Highlights

Sept. 12, 2008 at Raymond James Stadium
USF 37, Kansas 34
The magic continued in front of a national TV audience.  The Bulls turned to a true freshman kicker that night, one that hadn’t even been on the two deep for much of the season.  My phonetic pronunciation of MY-con boe-NAHN-ee was prominent on the scorecard in front of me when the Bulls lined up for the winning kick. The kid came up big; least we could do was learn to say his name correctly.

USF vs. Kansas - Bonani Kick

Sept. 26, 2009 at Tallahassee
USF 17, Florida State 7
I’m sure you can sense the common theme with many of these games.  It’s just like changing conferences. “Man, you guys are going to get killed”.  Grothe hurt, unknown freshman in.  90,000 fans on the road.  Etc, etc, etc.  Note final score, and how often that type of thing has happened in our football history.

USF at Florida State - Highlights

100 wins!  How many have you seen?  I’ve been privileged to be at every one, something I wouldn’t have even dared to dream about back in September of 1997. 

These 10 games, and a few more that didn’t make the list, have shown how this program has responded to challenges over the years.  Yes, there have been some disappointments, no doubt about that.  But there have been some pretty special moments too.  For the fans, a football program should provide both great experiences and great memories.  No one can say USF Football has failed to do that.

Now let’s get that 101st win.



Jim Louk


Jim Louk   Jim Louk
  Voice of the USF Athletics since 1983
When the 2010-11 academic year rolls around, Jim Louk will begin his 27th year in the athletics department at the University of South Florida and his fifth as Assistant Director of Athletics for Sales and Broadcasting.

Louk came to USF in 1983 as the radio play-by-play announcer for the Bulls’ men’s basketball team and served as the lead voice until the conclusion of the 1997 season. He then made the transition to football in USF’s inaugural 1997 season, and still serves as the team’s play-by-play announcer today. Louk will come into the 2010 football season having broadcast every Bulls’ game in their history – a span of 152 games.

Not only a contributor over the airwaves, Louk has also made his presence felt in getting other USF sports teams exposure on radio and television as well. Prior to the 2003-04 season only men’s basketball and football were consistently seen or heard in the Tampa Bay area. However, since then, men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, women’s basketball, softball and baseball all make regular appearances on either radio, television or on the internet – via audio or video – with live streaming.

Truly the “Voice of USF Athletics,” in addition to men’s basketball and football, Louk has also frequently announced USF women’s basketball, baseball and softball games for both radio and television.

On the sales side, Louk heads up all season and group ticket sales for USF athletics while also overseeing a staff of three associates. The ticket sales team was part of a departmental sales effort that resulted in over 7 million dollars of USF game ticket sales in the 2009-10 academic year.

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, his wife Barbara and their son Ross reside in Lutz.

05/14/10 - Fond & Funny Memories at Red McEwen Field
05/27/10 - Memories of Leagues Past
06/19/10 - Early Travel with the Bulls
06/23/10 - Home(s) of the Bulls 
07/12/10 - 21 in a Row
08/25/10 - Bring Me the Head of Rocky the Bull
09/06/10 - Another Signature Win
09/15/10 - Happy 15th Birthday, USF Football
09/17/10 - Visit with Joe Lewkowicz
09/17/10 - Visit with Sherry Bedingfield
10/18/10 - The First Bowl Game
11/3/10 - Top 10 Wins in USF Football History
1992-93 1992-93 1993-94 1993-94




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