FSU-USF ticket sales at 56K and counting
More than 56,000 tickets have been sold for Saturday's noon showdown between No. 13 FSU and USF at Raymond James Stadium, assuring the Bulls of one their 10 largest home audiences in program history.
USF also confirmed Tuesday that student-ticket sales are at 9,500 and climbing, making for the largest Bulls student section in at least four years. More than 4,000 ticket requests have been made by students -- who receive tickets as part of their student fees -- since noon Monday.
"We have the potential to seat 12,501 students every game when the 300 section is open," USF spokesman Brian Siegrist said.
"Saturday, we plan to seat as many USF students, with a current valid USF ID, as we can, including above that number."
USF has had five home crowds of 60,000 or more -- and nine of 56,000-plus -- in its history. The Seminoles' last trip to RayJay -- on Sept. 29, 2012 -- resulted in the Bulls' largest home audience ever (69,383).
"It's gonna be fun. I hear it's gonna be packed," Bulls coach Willie Taggart said Tuesday.
"I'm sure it's gonna be loud. I'm sure I'm gonna see a lot of green and gold in RayJay, and we'll be excited for each and every one of them being nice and loud. Set your alarm clocks, because it's gonna be an early one. We don't need anyone getting in late."
NO MIRACLES NEEDED: It was only two or three autumns ago when the Bulls would've needed a bit extra to topple FSU, such as a malaria outbreak or major injury bug in the Seminoles camp.
Not anymore, Taggart says.
If any refrain has prevailed during the initial buildup to Saturday's FSU-USF showdown, it's the fourth-year Bulls coach's insistence his team can win if it plays its best -- plain and simple.
"Our guys understand what it takes to win ball games," said Taggart, whose team is 10-4 since last season's 34-14 road loss to FSU.
"They have to have a great week of practice, a great week of preparation, and then go out and play their absolute best against this opponent to go out and get what we want. We don't need a miracle or anything like that."
Taggart noted last year's defeat in Tallahassee was only his team's second game in a brand-new offense (a spread-out, zone-read attack) and defense (4-2-5).
The greenness was especially glaring on defense, where the Bulls already were missing suspended veterans Nigel Harris and Tashon Whitehurst, and watched MLB Auggie Sanchez get ejected in the third period on a controversial targeting whistle. By game's end, 'Noles TB Dalvin Cook had run for 266 yards.
"A couple of plays we were off on blitzes," Sanchez said. "A couple of plays we were a gap short and FSU, they're the type of team that takes advantage of it."
A year later, 32 Bulls players who appeared in that game (17 defense, 15 offense) remain on the roster.
"It's not about who we're playing, it's about us," Taggart said. "No matter how much speed they have or how big they are, we've got to play our game and if we can do that, it'll be good enough."