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USF works to get Peyton in place

By Times staff writer, Times wires
Published December 18, 2005

TAMPA - Coach Jim Leavitt knows he has been lucky for most of the season with injuries, but with just two weeks left until the Bulls' first bowl game Dec.31 at the Meineke Car Care Bowl against N.C. State, Leavitt says the team is working hard at getting back its only player sidelined with injury.

Wide receiver Johnny Peyton, who injured his ankle Dec.3 against West Virginia, has been receiving treatment and not practicing.

"He's (the only player) who's injured," Leavitt said. "I've kept him out because we really want to get him to the bowl game."

Peyton, who leads all receivers with three touchdown catches, has not participated since the team resumed practice after a 10-day layoff.

STAYING ON TRACK: With all the hype about USF in position to possibly play for the Big East title, Leavitt felt the Bulls lost focus when thinking about playing in the Sugar Bowl.

"I just thought we didn't pay enough attention to the game at hand (with Connecticut)," Leavitt said. "We lost focus with the BCS bid there, and not to say they didn't work hard or play hard, they just lost focus."

Leavitt said the team has been going through drills and hasn't focused on N.C. State yet, though will when the team has three consecutive practices with two-a-days next week.

"The focus will be tighter on N.C. State on Monday," Leavitt said. "We haven't quite gotten there yet, but with the game we will focus on the task at hand.

"(The players) are excited we're practicing. They may complain because there isn't a person alive that doesn't complain about something, but here we are in Florida, practicing in December. All these colleges up North wish they had what we have this weather and being outdoors.

"You can tell we are ready to go because we had a great practice today. Couldn't say if it was the best, but there was great improvement today."

THIS AND THAT: Quarterback Pat Julmiste missed the first half of practice because he was taking a his last final exam. ... Defensive back D'Juan Brown missed all of practice because of his graduation ceremony. ... Redshirt quarterback Matt Grothe threw a touchdown pass during scrimmage against fellow quarterback Grant Gregory.

- MIKE CAMUNAS, Times correspondent

FLORIDA STATE: A light rain and temperatures in the 40s made for a wet, chilly practice for the Seminoles as they continue preparations for their Jan. 3 Orange Bowl meeting against Penn State.

Twelve players were excused from practice to attend graduation ceremonies.

"There was rain, rain, rain and cold but we got it in," coach Bobby Bowden said. "We had some key players away today but it gives you a chance to work with some of the guys you haven't worked with before. They did a pretty good job of filling in."

After taking today off, the Seminoles will resume two-a-day practices Monday and Tuesday, and single practices Wednesday and Thursday before breaking for the holiday.

"We haven't won a BCS bowl since I have been here so we want to get that done," running back Leon Washington said. "We have a lot of goals to accomplish. We won the ACC Championship and that was a goal right there. That is a good thing. Now we have a bowl game we want to take care of. That is the most important thing for us."

DIVISION III: Nate Kmic ran for three touchdowns, including a 95-yarder, and Mike Jorris threw for two scores, leading Mount Union (14-1) to its eighth Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl win in the past 13 years, 35-28 over Wisconsin-Whitewater (14-1) in Salem, Va. Kmic had 185 yards on 28 carries. He also scored on runs of 2 and 15 yards. Jorris hit Pierre Garcon for scoring plays of 63 and 12 yards as the Purple Raiders took a 14-7 lead into halftime.

NAIA: Tyler Emmert completed 20 of 36 passes for 278 yards and three touchdowns, leading Carroll College (Mont.) to its fourth straight title, 27-10 over St. Francis (Ind.) in Savannah, Tenn.

SAN DIEGO STATE: Former Iowa quarterback Chuck Long was hired as the Aztecs coach. Long, 42, has been on Bob Stoops' staff at Oklahoma for six seasons.

OKLAHOMA: Kevin Wilson, co-offensive coordinator since 2002, will take over as offensive coordinator following the departure of Chuck Long to San Diego State, Sooners coach Bob Stoops said.

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