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USF faithful shows thanks as school picks up tab for 500 tickets

It's not Krzyzewskiville, but as ticket-line tent cities go, you could call it perhaps Leavitt-town.

By GREG AUMAN
Published December 7, 2006


TAMPA - It's not Krzyzewskiville, but as ticket-line tent cities go, you could call it perhaps Leavitt-town.

USF purchased 500 $30 tickets for the Papajohns.com Bowl to give to the first 500 students at the Sun Dome ticket office Wednesday morning, and the line started forming at 8:05 p.m. Tuesday, when junior Alan Fereiras and friends set up camp for the night as the Bulls men's basketball team still played inside.

"It was just a cool idea to have fun with everyone, a great experience," said Fereiras, who stayed warm next to a barbecue grill. "I was happy the school did it for us. For all the support we've given them, they're giving back to us. It's pretty neat."

By 9 a.m., when tickets were distributed, the line was about 300 long. As it turns out, students didn't need to camp out. By 9:35, there was no line, with about 150 seats unclaimed, and at 3 p.m., there were tickets available.

USF associate athletic director Tom Veit said more than 3,000 tickets have been sold in the first three days, well ahead of last year's pace for the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, N.C. The Bulls have been allotted 10,000 tickets and hope to improve on the 6,200 sold last season.

Big East honors Grothe, Randolph

USF quarterback Matt Grothe, the nation's top freshman in total offense, was named Big East rookie of the year. Senior receiver Ean Randolph, the conference's punt return leader, was honored as special teams player of the year.

Three Bulls - Randolph, senior linebacker Stephen Nicholas and junior cornerback Trae Williams - were named to the first team. Nicholas is USF's career leader with 50.5 tackles for loss, and Williams led the Big East with seven interceptions this season, tying the school record.

No USF players were named to the second team, with Grothe losing out to West Virginia's Pat White and Louisville's Brian Brohm. The most notable snub was junior linebacker Ben Moffitt, who led the Bulls with 106 tackles, 10 for losses.

Home away from home

When USF plays East Carolina in the Papajohns.com Bowl on Dec. 23 in Birmingham, Ala., it will be the third opponent the Bulls have faced at historic Legion Field. The Bulls opened the 2003 season there against Alabama, losing 40-17, then returned in 2004 for a 45-20 win against Alabama-Birmingham.

Greg Auman can be reached at 813 226-3346, or at auman@sptimes.com Check out his blog at blogs.tampabay.com/usf.