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FSU-USF notes: Tice suffers apparent broken ankle

USF's D'Ernest Johnson, who finished with three rushing touchdowns Saturday, is taken down by FSU's Nate Andrews.

ANDRES LEIVA | Times

USF's D'Ernest Johnson, who finished with three rushing touchdowns Saturday, is taken down by FSU's Nate Andrews.

24

September

With eight regular season games remaining, the Bulls' tailback depth will be put to the test.

One might argue it passed its first significant one Saturday.

Senior TB Darius Tice's career came to an apparent end late in the third quarter when he suffered what is feared to be a broken right ankle -- according to Coach Willie Taggart -- following an 11-yard reception over the middle. With Marlon Mack also sidelined after being poked in the eye, junior D'Ernest Johnson assumed the rushing load.

He finished with 82 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries. Tice, one of the Bulls' more gregarious personalities, finishes his college career -- barring an unforeseen recovery -- with 874 rushing yards and five TDs.

"He keeps a smile on everybody's face," said QB Quinton Flowers, who competed against Tice at the prep level in Miami. "He cracks jokes, but when it's time to get serious, he's got some things to say and you always listen to him. It may hurt us a lot. He's going to be on our side like always."
 
Elsewhere, backup MLB Danny Thomas was spotted on crutches after the game, but the extent of his injury wasn't revealed. Taggart could provide an update Monday.

NO ONSIDE: Taggart surprised many fans -- and even the ABC broadcast crew -- by not opting for an onside kick after the Bulls cut their deficit to 55-35 with 7:39 to go.

"I thought we'd get the ball back and get some field position," Taggart said. "We were down three touchdowns and I wanted to see if we could get us a stop and some field position and get the ball back to our offense and score."

Didn't happen. FSU ran out the clock, driving inside the USF red zone on 13 plays as time expired.

"If we scored again we probably would've (kicked onside)," Taggart said.

BUSTING A BIG ONE: Flowers' 84-yard TD pass to Rodney Adams on Saturday's first play from scrimmage was the longest allowed by FSU since 2005.

"I was thinking it went just like we drew it up and it worked for us," Taggart said. "We were excited and it's what we wanted to do, but we didn't expect to come back and give up a (75)-yard touchdown run (to Dalvin Cook) the next play."

Adams now has scored 17 TDs (11 receiving, five rushing, one kick return) in the Bulls' past 13 contests.

ODDS AND ENDS: USF has scored 184 points so far, tying the 2011 team for the most in the season's first four games. ... USF fell to 12-4 under Taggart when running for at least 200 yards. The Bulls ran 290 Saturday. ... The Bulls have scored at least 35 points in eight consecutive games, extending their program record.

AUDIBLE: "If we sit here and dwell on this game, we're gonna go up to Cincinnati (next weekend) and they're gonna kill us," Bulls MLB Auggie Sanchez

[Last modified: Saturday, September 24, 2016 7:41pm]

    

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