By JOANNE KORTH, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 14, 2003
After opening the season with a 17-0 victory at Philadelphia, the Bucs look forward to playing for the friendly fans at Raymond James Stadium, and to making up for a 26-20 overtime loss to the Saints in last year's home opener.
"That's still on our minds," safety John Lynch said.
New Orleans linebacker James Allen intercepted a desperation pass by Bucs punter Tom Tupa in the end zone to spoil coach Jon Gruden's debut in Tampa Bay.
Time to erase that memory.
"We've been playing well on the road, but there's nothing like playing at home in front of your fans," Lynch said. "We're looking forward to hearing that place rock."
Bucs quarterback Brad Johnson has thrown multiple touchdowns in eight of his past 10 games, including the playoffs. Before this stretch, he had eight in his previous 32.
6: Times last season Bucs kicker Martin Gramatica outscored the opponent.
7: Field goals Gramatica kicked against Carolina in two games last season.
19: Points Carolina scored against Tampa Bay last season.
23: Points Gramatica scored against Carolina last season (including extra points).
Former Bucs running back Travis Stephens, released Aug. 31, was signed to the Carolina practice squad Sept. 2. Odds are, Stephens was effective simulating Tampa Bay's offense for the Carolina defense during practice. We'll see if it helps.
No self-respecting Bucs fan would be caught dead smoking a cigarette during today's game. Tobacco is a leading product of North Carolina, home of the Panthers. That means no dip, either. If you must, swing by Ybor City for a cigar.
THE LAST WORD
"They say that they have the best defensive line in the NFL. Maybe they do. Maybe they have to come out and prove that to us."
- skeptical Bucs receiver Keyshawn Johnson on the Panthers' self-promoting front four.
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SEC: Georgia stifles South Carolina
State: UCF needs record day to rally, hold off FAU
Big Ten: Wisconsin stumbles, fumbles away game
Pac-10: Trojans click in all phases
Big 12: Hogs upset 'Horns
C-USA: Golden Eagles punish Tigers' errors
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ACC: Boilermakers don't fall short this time
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Jesuit's Biladeau runs away with title
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