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Missed classes keep Ford out of game
By GREG AUMAN, Times Staff Writer
Published October 7, 2007
FORT LAUDERDALE - Freshman running back Mike Ford, USF's leading rusher in its first four games, was held out of Saturday's game against Florida Atlantic after missing classes last week.
"He missed some classes here and there and some things like that, but Mike will be back in there, ready to go," coach Jim Leavitt said. "We need Mike on the field, we need to play him, but we need him to do all the right things."
Ford had rushed for a team-high 212 yards and four touchdowns in his first four games. His absence was more glaring when freshman Jamar Taylor, last week's leading rusher, sprained his left ankle in the second quarter. Taylor did not return, though Leavitt said he expects both freshmen to be able to play in this week's home game against Central Florida.
SACK RECORD: Defensive end George Selvie, who entered the game leading the nation in sacks and tackles for losses, had a sack on FAU's opening drive to give him USF's single-season record with 10.5.
The record had been held by Terrence Royal 2005 and Shurron Pierson (2001), and Selvie needed only five games to reset the mark. He missed some action Saturday with an injury to his right arm but said he'll be fine for the UCF game.
Selvie now has 17.5 tackles for loss, needing three more to break linebacker Stephen Nicholas' school record of 20, set last season.
STATEMENT DRIVE: Just as it did against West Virginia last week, USF came out of halftime with a long touchdown drive, almost exclusively running the ball. Ben Williams and Matt Grothe, who had combined for 49 yards in the first half, had 71 on the drive, which ended with a 10-yard Williams run, one of four scores he had against the Owls.
COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE: USF and FAU were tied 7-7 at halftime, but the Owls could have easily been ahead. FAU had four drives inside the USF 30 in the first half but had no points to show for them, getting stopped on downs and getting three missed field goals from kicker Warley Leroy.
PROUD LOCALS: FAU has 13 players from the Tampa Bay area, and several made big plays Saturday. Tight end Jason Harmon (Riverview) had seven catches for 82 yards and a touchdown, receiver Chris Bonner (Gaither) had two catches for 30 yards, and receiver Conshario Johnson (Middleton) had one catch for 5 yards. Running back Willie Rose (Gaither) led the Owls with 59 yards on 10 carries.
INJURY UPDATE: The Bulls lost starting left guard Ryan Schmidt to a left ankle injury early in the fourth quarter. Schmidt, a junior from Boca Raton who was replaced by senior Nick Capogna, did not return. After being seen on crutches after the game, he was later walking on his own with a boot on his injured foot.
THIS AND THAT: USF opened the game in a five-receiver set, allowing two locals - Miami's Courtney Denson and Fort Lauderdale's Jessie Hester Jr. - to make rare starts. ... USF improved to 6-1 all time against in-state foes, the lone loss coming in 2005 at Miami. ... The Bulls are scheduled to face FAU two more times, in Tampa in 2010 and 2013.
Times correspondent Brendan Galella contributed to this report. Greg Auman can be reached email@example.com and at (813) 226-3346. Check out his blog at blogs.tampabay.com/usf.