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TAMPA -- A classic goal-line stand helped South Florida keep Memphis from gaining the lead in the first quarter of Saturday's 31-28 victory at Raymond James Stadium.
With the game scoreless 10 minutes in, the Tigers had first down at the USF 2 but were kept off the scoreboard.
On first down, running back Dante Brown ran up the middle for no gain; on second down receiver Travis Anglin lined up at quarterback in the shotgun and ran up the middle, nearly breaking the plane of the goal line. On third and inches, quarterback Danny Wimprine tried a sneak and was pushed back a little.
On fourth down, with the homecoming crowd at a crescendo, Brown and Wimprine mistimed a handoff and Brown was stuffed again as he tumbled into the right side of the line.
BIG STICK: USF linebacker Julian Johnson registered the hit of the game in the second quarter. On the kickoff after the Bulls took a 14-0 lead, Johnson crushed return man Von Webb at the 15.
TRICKERATION: The Tigers used sleight of hand to cut USF's lead to 14-7 midway through the second quarter.
After driving his team into the red zone, Wimprine handed off to Darron White, who ran right, then stopped and threw back to Wimprine, who made the catch inside the 5, dodged a defender and scored.
BLAST FROM THE PAST: Seeing Anglin at quarterback was deja vu for the Bulls. Early last season Anglin was the Memphis quarterback, and he was 9 of 12 for 94 yards, plus a 56-yard run, in the Tigers' 17-9 win over USF.
TIGER NEMESIS: USF's Ryan Hearn had a career-high 76 receiving yards against Memphis last season, and he had a career-long 33-yard reception against the Tigers in the second quarter Saturday.
BOWL BOUND?: USF's chances of claiming Conference USA's fifth bowl bid improved, as C-USA might not have five bowl-eligible teams. UAB (4-5) lost to Southern Miss 20-13 and Houston (4-5) lost to East Carolina 54-48 in triple overtime.
Cincinnati (4-5), which beat Louisville on Thursday, and East Carolina (3-5) also could become bowl eligible.
FRONTRUNNERS: The Bulls won for the 11th straight time when scoring first.
DENIED: USF safety J.R. Reed nearly had a chance for a 98-yard fumble return in the first quarter. Wimprine completed a 30-yard pass to White to the USF 2, but White fumbled as he went down. Reed scooped it up and had a clear path down the field, but the officials said White was down. The replay appeared to confirm the ruling.
NICKEL AND DIME: With Memphis primarily using three- and four-receiver formations, USF started in a five-defensive back alignment, with safety John Miller replacing linebacker Courtney Davenport.
BUTTERFINGERS: The quarterbacks weren't getting help early. The Bulls dropped two passes (by Hugh Smith and DeAndrew Rubin) on their opening possession and punted, and Memphis dropped two passes on its first series and punted.
UPENDED: Bowling Green might not be the first ranked team to play USF at Raymond James Stadium. The previously unbeaten Falcons, No. 20 in the AP poll, lost 26-17 at Northern Illinois.
Bowling Green (8-1) plays Saturday at USF.