The first-year Bulls running back quickly sets several school marks, but he vanishes from the game plan as the Bearcats pull away.
By RYAN ERNST
Published November 21, 2004
CINCINNATI - South Florida running back Andre Hall likes playing for a program as fresh and new as his burgeoning talent.
"That's the reason I wanted to come (here)," he said. "I wanted to set a name for myself, to do something at South Florida. Instead of just being a small fish in a big pond. I wanted to be a big fish."
Hall, in his ninth game with the Bulls, flashed that big-fish ability during a record first quarter in Saturday's 45-23 loss at Cincinnati. Then he disappeared in the deep waters of a large second-half deficit.
The two-time junior college All-American and Dixie Hollins product rushed for 128 yards on 10 carries in the first quarter. He entered the game averaging 123 yards. After the first quarter, Hall ran only six times for 27 yards.
When asked why Hall didn't get the ball more after the first quarter, coach Jim Leavitt had no answer.
"I don't know," he said. "I'd have to look at the film to see if (the defense) was it or if our playcalling went away from those plays."
No matter the reason, Hall said his lack of second-half carries was surprising.
"The most frustrating thing is that we lost," he said. "It's not me. I'm not worried about my stats or anything."
Still, his statistics continue to be more impressive by the game. A week after setting the school's single-season rushing touchdown mark, Hall continued to etch his name in the growing USF record book.
It started on his first carry of the game, when he broke a play off tackle, going 46 yards to give him 1,029 for the season. The scamper eclipsed Dyral McMillan's single-season school record of 1,017 rushing yards set in 1999.
Later in the first quarter Hall set two USF records on a single carry. The junior took the ball up the middle, spun out of a tackle and sprinted for a 60-yard gain before being forced out of bounds. With the run, he went over 100 yards rushing for the fifth time this season, a school record. It also was the program's longest nonscoring run from scrimmage.
His 4-yard touchdown run with 39 seconds left in the first quarter tied him for the school's single-season touchdown record. Otis Dixon set the record with 12 in 1998.
But from that point on, Hall was barely a factor.
"He's a good running back," Cincinnati coach Mark Dantonio said. "What I think happened in the second half was, he just didn't have anywhere to run."
After running for 153 yards in the first half, the Bulls were limited to 27 in the second.