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Bulls forced to shuffle starters

By ANTONYA ENGLISH

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 8, 2000


HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- South Florida entered Saturday's game against Southern Miss without several players because of injuries and illness, meaning the coaching staff had to shuffle its lineup a great deal.

Sophomore Greg Walls started at nose tackle and Ron Johnson took over as the backup. Jason Butler started at middle linebacker in place of Anthony Williams, who replaced the injured Vassay Marc at strong linebacker.

Freshman Kenny Robinson replaced Joe Morgan at backup cornerback, while Morgan replaced Roy Manns at strong safety. Manns took over for Jay Mize at free safety. Mize and sophomore defensive lineman Lee Roy Selmon Jr. (ankle) did not make the trip to Hattiesburg.

Sophomore receiver DeAndrew Rubin didn't practice last week and was expected to miss the game, but dressed. He didn't start, but came in on the Bulls' second series. Backup quarterback Mike Usry has the flu and didn't travel with the team, making Kevin Patullo the backup.

STATISTICALLY STRUGGLING: South Florida's seven first downs were the fewest in school history. The record was nine against James Madison last season. The Bulls are 2-2 when getting 11 first downs or fewer.

Also, it was the largest margin of victory for a South Florida opponent, eclipsing last season's 41-12 loss at San Diego State.

A TRAVELING TREAT: Freshman walk-on Ronnie Banks traveled with the squad for the first time this season.

Banks, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound quarterback, is a native of New Orleans and had an opportunity to visit his family, along with having several family members at the game. New Orleans is 115 miles from Hattiesburg.

STREAK ENDS: Senior defensive end Shawn Hay did not start because of various injuries, ending his streak of starts at 27. Emerson Morris got his first start in Hay's place.

SACK-TO-SACK: One of the few highlights for the Bulls in the first half was back-to-back sacks of quarterback Jeff Kelly midway through the second quarter.

Senior defensive back Joe Morgan sacked Kelly for an 8-yard loss, then sophomore defensive end Chris Daley sacked Kelly for a 9-yard loss on the next play. Tavares Jurineack registered his first sack of the season early in the second half.

BE PREPARED: USF coach Jim Leavitt said all last week that Southern Miss is a master of deception on special teams.

Leavitt said game film had shown the Golden Eagles lining up in all kinds of crazy-looking formations to throw their opponents off and that the Bulls would practice all week to be prepared for that.

But when Southern Miss executed a pooch kick after taking a 10-0 lead, the Bulls weren't quite ready; the Golden Eagles recovered on the 48-yard line. Officials at first called a penalty, saying Southern Miss hadn't kicked the ball 10 yards, but reversed that call and gave the Golden Eagles the ball.

Turned out, the trick play was for naught. The drive ended with a 30-yard punt by Brant Hanna.

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