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Reserve hot in spring game

Freshman QB Ronnie Banks is 15 of 20 in USF's Green-White game.

By ANTONYA ENGLISH

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 22, 2001


TAMPA -- Freshman quarterback Ronnie Banks completed 15 of 20 passes for 149 yards, including two touchdowns, to lead the Green team to a 14-12 win over the White squad in South Florida's spring game Saturday.

"Going against (quarterback) Marquel Blackwell is tough because he's a great quarterback," Banks said. "I'm just trying to compete on this level and to throw two touchdowns is sweet."

The game, which concluded 14 days of spring drills, produced some lively action, including four interceptions, three touchdowns, a 52-yard field goal and a safety.

"We started out with a fumble on a reverse, but when it finally got going, what a game, huh?," USF coach Jim Leavitt said. "We had a lot of positive things. When you take both groups and put them on one team then add 38 guys (in the fall), you have a chance to have a very good team."

The Green squad took a 7-0 lead on Banks' 7-yard touchdown to DeAndrew Rubin with 14:11 left in the second quarter. The White team responded with a 13-yard drive that led to a 52-yard field goal by Justin Geisler, a freshman from Land O'Lakes.

With 4:06 remaining in the first half, Banks threw a 48-yard score to sophomore Chris Iskra to give the Green team a 14-3 lead.

Iskra, a Clearwater native who battled an ulcer during winter conditioning, said it was the first time this spring he felt good about his performance.

"I was taking ulcer medication and I was having a hard time," said Iskra, who had six receptions for 83 yards. "I started out bad during spring ... but I got off the antibiotics (they made him dizzy in the sun) and I'm feeling better. I'm really pleased today."

Joe Morgan's interception and 51-yard touchdown return pulled the White team within 14-10, and a safety by defensive end Emerson Morris with 12:38 remaining made it 14-12.

Rubin caught seven passes for 69 yards and Javan Camon had an interception for the Green team.

For White, Blackwell was 15-for-31 for 122 yards and no interceptions and Kevin Patullo was 2-of-8 for 23 yards and three interceptions. Sophomore Huey Whittaker had six catches for 59 yards. Sidney Simpson, a freshman defensive back from Opa-locka, grabbed two interceptions, returning one for 52 yards.

"Last year when I first came in I tore a little cartilage in my left knee ... but now this spring I was just trying to come through and show what I've got," Simpson said.

Around college football

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- More than two dozen Penn State students were arrested after they rushed the field before a scrimmage to draw attention to death threats made to black students.

The students, most of whom were black, ran past police as the band was playing the national anthem. At least one student was carried off the field by police.

"It was passive resistance," said Bruce Kline, assistant director of administrative services for university police. "They locked arms and were resistant in that sense, but there was no active resistance, and there was no need to use spray or sticks."

-- Times wires contributed to this report.

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