By PETE YOUNG
© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 9, 2001
PITTSBURGH -- South Florida set numerous single-game offensive school records Saturday at Pittsburgh.
Junior quarterback Marquel Blackwell led the way. Blackwell set individual records for completions with 37 (old record, 27) and attempts with 65 (old record, 42) and equaled the record for touchdown passes with four. He came within 17 yards of his record of 360, throwing for 343.
His main target, DeAndrew Rubin, set the record for receptions by halftime with 10 (old record, 9) and finished with 11 catches for 144 yards, 5 yards short of Clif Dell's record.
Rubin's two first-quarter touchdown receptions lifted him past Rj Anderson into first place in school history with 11.
BIG MAN ON ... THE SIDELINE: Pittsburgh junior Antonio Bryant, the 2000 Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation's top receiver, did not play. Bryant sprained an ankle the first time he touched the ball this season, on a punt return against East Tennessee State last week.
GOOD SUBSTITUTE: Bryant attended Miami Northwestern, and one of his replacements Saturday also is a Floridian. Freshman Roosevelt Bynes is from Fort Lauderdale and attended Sunrise Piper. Bynes made his first career catch memorable, a 56-yard score 56 seconds before halftime to trim Pittsburgh's deficit to 14-7.
STEP RIGHT IN: USF senior defensive lineman Tchecoy Blount, who was academically ineligible last week, started at defensive tackle. Greg Walls, who started at defensive tackle last week, started at nose tackle.
Blount and Walls spearheaded a much-improved run defense. After yielding 200 yards on the ground to Northern Illinois last week, the Bulls held Pittsburgh to 12 rushing yards, including minus-1 in the first half.
OPPORTUNITY MISSED: USF opened with its first-ever successful onsides kick. Santiago Gramatica chipped the ball short and toward the sideline into a vacant area. Maurice Tucker raced down, collected the ball on one hop and raced a few yards to the Pittsburgh 29.
But on second and 4 from the Pittsburgh 23, Blackwell had a hard time gathering a low shotgun snap. When he did, he threw late over the middle under pressure, and the pass was behind Brian Fisher and intercepted by Mark Ponko.
THIRD DOWN, FIRST DOWN: After bumbling 13 of 15 third-down opportunities last week at Northern Illinois, USF was a model of efficiency at Pittsburgh. The Bulls converted 7 of 11 in the first half.
HE WAS READY: Quinton Callum waited a long time for his first collegiate carry. The USF running back, who originally signed with Florida State in 1999, went to junior college for a year. He transferred to USF and sat out last season.
Callum had no carries in the opener but entered in the second quarter and gained 8 yards on his first attempt. He finished with 28 yards on five carries.
OUR TYPE OF WEATHER: Perhaps the climate contributed to USF's showing. It was unseasonably warm (85 degrees) and humid (65 percent) for a September day in Pennsylvania.
I-A TURNAROUND: USF was 1-6 against I-A teams coming in, with its lone win against Connecticut in the Huskies' inaugural I-A season last year.