Speaking of Ball State: Scott to ease up on hurdling
TAMPA -- The first time Darrell Scott tried to hurdle a Ball State defender Saturday night, he took a shoulder pad to an area of the body not intended for such a collision and was doubled over on the sidelines for the next few plays.
"It took like 20 minutes for me to get right again," Scott said Sunday, laughing about his 82-yard effort in his first USF home game. "Besides that, I think I hit the holes right. I didn't let the first tackler put me down. I just let the line open up the holes. That was the main thing."
But Scott decided to try it again -- twice -- and hurdled over a safety in a 31-yard run that was the Bulls' longest play in Saturday's 37-7 rout, setting up his own short touchdown run.
"I just need to settle down a little bit," Scott said. "It was too many, and people are going to think I'm always hurdling, which isn't the case. Just last night, it just happened."
Scott, after all is about 240 pounds, so as coach Skip Holtz pointed out after Saturday's win, there are other alternatives to taking to the air when a would-be tackler is approaching.
"I don't know if he's trying to become a hurdle champion or what," Holtz said. "When you're 245 pounds, you run through people. You don't jump over them. He's trying to hurdle everybody out there. He said 'I did it in high school all the time,' and I said 'This isn't high school anymore.' But he's a talented player and it's nice to get him some carries."
Scott's touchdown was his first in more than three years, since his college debut in August 2008 at Colorado, his only score in two seasons with the Buffaloes before he transferred to USF last year.
UNSUNG STAR: Speaking of transfers, it turns out USF's fumble-return touchdown on the opening kickoff was sparked by redshirt freshman Spencer Boyd, a transfer from Notre Dame who forced the fumble on the first play of his college career, allowing Mark Joyce to score eight seconds into play.
"The fact there was a mixup means we've got guys running down like crazy all over the kickoff team -- that's great to me," Boyd said. "That's a year and a half of practice built up inside of me. I wanted to let it loose and do my job on the kickoff team."
Boyd, who has worked at receiver and cornerback, is settling in at safety, and earned the "Effort Award" on defense for his hustle Saturday.
POLL POSITION: USF moved up two spots to No. 20 in the Associated Press top 25, and made its season debut in the USA Today coaches poll at No. 22 after not being ranked last week. Only one team remaining on USF's schedule is receiving votes -- No. 18 West Virginia, which comes to Tampa for the regular-season finale on Dec. 1.
THIS AND THAT: Three true freshmen made their debuts Saturday -- receivers Andre Davis (Jefferson) and Ruben Gonzalez (Robinson), as well as fullback Tye Turner, who had the lead block on Scott's touchdown run. ... Redshirt freshman Ruben Garcia (Durant) also made his USF debut on special teams, on the kickoff coverage unit. ... Sophomore safety JaQuez Jenkins sat out Saturday's game with a hamstring injury, and senior receiver Joel Miller missed the game with a concussion.