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USF better at the home of defense

PETE YOUNG
Published September 28, 2003

WEST POINT, N.Y.- On the grounds of the U.S. Military Academy, defense dominated Saturday. South Florida's defense.

The Bulls stymied the Black Knights in a 28-0 win. Army averaged 2.2 yards a play, had a long gain of 22 yards on 79 plays and gained 176 total yards.

"They had some not-as-big guys as we've faced, but they had speed and were able to get penetration," Army quarterback Zac Dahman said. "We just never got things rolling."

Any way you looked at it, USF's defense was overwhelming. Army had 17 rushing yards and 159 passing yards on 51 attempts. The Bulls also forced six turnovers.

"South Florida is very good on defense," Army coach Todd Berry said. "We face a lot of good defenses in this conference, and they're one of those."

SLOPPY: There were 10 fumbles (four lost) and five interceptions. Army entered minus-8 in turnover differential, USF minus-5. The Bulls held a 6-3 edge in turnovers forced, which didn't include a lost muffed punt by Army.

TV SHOWDOWN: USF's Friday game against TCU will have some competition for college football viewers. The Oct.10 game recently was moved to ESPN2 to accommodate the Michigan at Minnesota game, which was moved from Saturday and picked up by ESPN. The Golden Gophers also moved up their game the following weekend, vs. Michigan State, to avoid potential conflicts with playoff games for the Minnesota Twins, who also play in the Metrodome.

REPLACEMENTS: John Miller started at center and Alex Herron moved to left guard in the absence of guard Shelly Houston. Houston was arrested on felony charges Thursday and did not make the trip. Senior defensive end Cedric Battles earned his second career start. Redshirt freshman Stephen Nicholas started at strongside linebacker and Courtney Davenport moved to the weakside.

BACK IN TOWN: USF receiver Huey Whittaker lived in New York until he was 9 and had "16 or 17" friends and relatives at the game, most from the New York area. Whittaker, who played one season at nearby Hudson Valley Community College, had one of the game's best plays, reaching high for a 31-yard reception. He had five catches for 93 yards.

BIG STICKS: Nickelback Johnnie Jones had the hit of the game, sniffing out a flare pass in the middle of the second quarter, beating a blocker and dropping Seth Gulsby for a 5-yard loss. Freshman linebacker Pat St. Louis coldcocked kickoff returner Lamar Mason late in the first half.

AWESTRUCK: USF athletic director Lee Roy Selmon was among those impressed by West Point.

"It gives you chills just to be here," Selmon said.

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