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Bulls break out of the gate quickly

By PETE YOUNG, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 6, 2002

DENTON, Texas -- After falling behind 42-0 at Arkansas and 31-0 at Oklahoma, South Florida shot out of the gate Saturday at North Texas.

North Texas went three and out, and USF's opening series was a thing of beauty. The Bulls went 85 yards in 12 plays -- seven runs and five passes -- for a 7-0 lead without facing a third down. The longest second-down situation USF had was the touchdown, a 5-yard pass from Marquel Blackwell to Huey Whittaker.

IT'S OFFICIAL: USF defensive end Tim Jones recorded his first sack in the second quarter, a 9-yard loss on quarterback Andrew Smith. Jones, a sophomore, played tight end as a freshman and has played both ways this season. Last week at Oklahoma he switched from No. 82 to 99 and became a full-time defensive player.

BACK IN THE LINEUP: USF defensive end Shurron Pierson started for the first time since the opener, replacing Terrence Royal, and Maurice Tucker and D'Juan Brown started at cornerback, with Ron Hemingway not starting for the first time this season.

On offense, running backs Vince Brewer and Quinton Callum earned their first starts of 2002 in place of DeJuan Green and Clenton Crossley, as the Bulls opened with two backs for the second straight game. Shelly Houston started at left guard over Mark Sopcik and Chris Iskra started at receiver for the first time since Northern Illinois on Sept. 7.

TOUGH CALL: USF's Elgin Hicks appeared to make a 39-yard touchdown catch midway through the second quarter, hauling it in at the goal line and getting both feet down before hitting the ground and popping up without the ball. It was ruled incomplete.

SMORGASBORD: For those who don't think there is enough room in Florida for more Division I-A football teams, the USF-North Texas game was one of seven I-A games Saturday in the Lone Star State: Texas Tech at Texas A&M (48-47 Tech), Kansas at Baylor (35-32 Baylor), San Jose State at SMU (34-23 SJS), Houston at TCU (34-17 TCU), Oklahoma State at Texas (17-15 Texas) and Louisiana Tech at Rice (late).

RICH LEGACY: The Mean Green has produced many distinguished players. Defensive lineman "Mean" Joe Greene was a three-time All-Missouri Valley Conference pick (1966-68) before winning four Super Bowls and making the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the Steelers.

Abner Haynes was an All-America running back in 1959 and was AFL Player of the Year with the Dallas Texans in 1960. Carl "Spider" Lockhart was a star safety for the Giants for 11 seasons after leading North Texas in receiving, punt returns, punting and interceptions in 1964. Cedric Hardman was a six-time Pro Bowl defensive end with the 49ers and Raiders in the 1970s.

MAJOR INFLUENCE: How big an impact did Greene have on his alma mater? The school was known as the Eagles but changed to Mean Green (without the "e" on the end) after his stellar career. Several remnants of the Eagles moniker remain. The end zones at Fouts Field say Eagles, an Eagle-head logo is at midfield and the mascot is an Eagle.

ET CETERA: Coming in, the Bulls were 26-4 when scoring first. ... South Florida was 1-5 on artificial turf coming in, including the 42-3 loss Sept. 14 at Arkansas. The win came at Liberty in 1998, 24-21. ... North Texas, located about 35 minutes north of Dallas, played in the I-AA Southland Conference from 1983-94. It began football in 1913 and returned to I-A in 1995.

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