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Numbers keep piling up for Blackwell

By PETE YOUNG, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 20, 2002

GREENVILLE, N.C.- Marquel Blackwell is making it tough on his successors.

The South Florida quarterback, who holds virtually every school passing record, keeps raising the bar. On a 54-yard, third-quarter touchdown to DeAndrew Rubin in USF's 46-30 win Saturday at East Carolina, Blackwell surpassed 8,000 passing yards.

It was the 14th touchdown from Blackwell to Rubin, also a school record. They were high school teammates at Dixie Hollins.

Blackwell's five touchdown passes broke the record of four, which he accomplished three times and Chad Barnhardt once.

Blackwell, who entered needing 182 yards for 8,000, was 19 of 33 for 321 yards and no interceptions. It was his third 300-yard game.

PERFECTION: ECU couldn't have picked a better day for its homecoming. At the 2 p.m. kickoff, it was 73 degrees and cloudless with a light breeze. But the crowd of 33,419 was about 10,000 short of capacity and ECU's lowest of the season.

NO RESPECT: Blackwell might be USF's most well-known player, but the P.A. announcer wasn't familiar with him. He repeatedly pronounced his name "Mar-QUEAL."

FAR FROM HOME: ECU inside linebacker Josh Chilsom was recruited by USF out of Armwood High. The redshirt freshman has started every game this season and had two tackles Saturday.

TWO-WAY THREAT: Defensive back Ron Hemingway is the Bulls' fifth-leading scorer this season. He has 12 points on two touchdowns: an interception return against Northern Illinois and a fumble recovery in the end zone Saturday.

NOT FOOLED: The Pirates were up 7-3 and had a first down at the USF 27 when they tried some trickery. ECU dashed to the line and quickly snapped the ball; quarterback Paul Troth and two running backs congregated before sprinting in different directions, each acting as if he had the ball.

USF strong safety Kevin Verpaele snuffed it out, hit Damarcus Fox at the line of scrimmage, forced a fumble and recovered it.

NEW GUY: Receiver Allynson Sheffield made his first career catch in the first quarter, a3-yarder. Sheffield, a sophomore, played quarterback at Prairie View A&M and transferred to USF this fall after earning an associate's degree from Hillsborough Community College.

REPRESENTING: A vocal contingent of Bulls fans occupied the northeast corner of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. USF sold 300 tickets. When the Bulls went up 36-17 in the third quarter, a chant of "USF! USF!" filled the stadium.

"You could really hear them," USF coach Jim Leavitt said. "It really helped us."

TIDBITS: Sheffield's opportunity came in part because sophomore receiver Brian Fisher did not make the trip for academic reasons. ... On two occasions in the first half, Blackwell and running back Vince Brewer fumbled an attempted handoff. Both times Blackwell recovered, once after three ECU defenders got a hand on the ball. ... Late in the first quarter, Blackwell had a pass attempt batted back to him. He then attempted another, which is against the rules. USF was penalized 5 yards and loss of down. ... It was USF's first afternoon game of 2002. The Bulls' first six games started at 7 p.m. Eastern. ... Loud cannon fire from behind the west end zone followed each ECU touchdown.

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