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Bulls can see the (natural) light

By SHARON GINN

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 19, 2000


TAMPA -- Saturday's game against Austin Peay was notable for more than the graduation of USF's seniors. It also was the first home day game for the Bulls, who always had kicked off at 7 p.m.

Athletic director Paul Griffin scheduled a 3:30 p.m. start in part to avoid conflicting with the 8 p.m. Florida-Florida State game. Griffin said the Bulls might schedule next season's Utah State game, which falls on Thanksgiving weekend, during the day.

Attendance was on the sparse side, though the official number (tickets sold plus students) was 23,390. The student section was nearly empty. The crowd thinned out quickly in the second half as the Bulls continued to dominate the Governors.

The opponent, and not the time, could be the reason for the light attendance. Neither the Bulls nor the Governors were thrilled about playing such a mismatch, but just before the schedule was finalized last year USF was short a game and Austin Peay was the only team available.

SENIORS CELEBRATE: Family members were on hand for a pregame ceremony honoring USF's 25 seniors, 14 of whom have been with the Bulls since the first practice in 1996.

"That was different for me," coach Jim Leavitt said. "I thought different things about each guy. That was pretty emotional."

A FRESHMAN CELEBRATES: Freshman Kenny Robinson's 64-yard interception return was the longest in USF history. He said just catching the ball was a relief; earlier he tried to field a punt that bounced over his head before he fell on it for a loss of 2 yards.

"It felt good to do something for all the seniors that helped me out this season," Robinson said. "I'm just a freshman. I'm still learning."

SHORT-TIMER: In honor of senior day, receiver Cory Porter got his first start since 1997. He came out on the game's second play and freshman Chris Iskra came in. Two plays later Iskra caught the game's first pass, a 23-yarder. Porter got back in the game later but did not catch a pass.

ROSTER NOTES: Linebacker Anthony Williams, who has been slowed by a sprained ankle, started, as did defensive end Shawn Hay, who has been battling a severely sprained ankle.

All three of USF's quarterbacks played. Starter Marquel Blackwell, limited last week in practice because of a sore knee, was limited by Leavitt in the game to give senior Mike Usry and freshman Kevin Patullo a chance to play.

Usry came in first and went 1-for-3 for 11 yards and an interception. Patullo was 5-for-6 for 89 yards, including a 67-yard touchdown to Hugh Smith.

RECORD WATCH: Cornerback Anthony Henry had the 10th interception of his career in the second quarter, returning it 19 yards to set up a touchdown. It was the fifth of the season for Henry, who held the USF career record. ... Receiver Scott McCready's 41-yard touchdown catch gave him 37 catches for the season, breaking Rj Anderson's school record from last season. ... With two touchdowns, Rafael Williams finished his career at the top of USF's rushing touchdowns list with 18. BULL BITS: Backup punter Eric Schaum, a sophomore, had his first career extra point in the fourth quarter to make it 59-0. ... Senior cornerback Glenn Davis had the first kick return of his career, a 4-yarder on a fourth-quarter punt.

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