TAMPA — After being removed in the second quarter with his team comfortably ahead Saturday, Miami senior QB Stephen Morris made an impromptu reappearance after the game — and unleashed on the Bulls defense.
"South Florida is a dirty team," said Morris, who finished with 222 yards passing and two TDs in roughly 20 minutes.
"When you're down and tackled and everything and everybody is on top, they're going to try to go for your ankles. We were already up by three or four touchdowns. I was like, 'You know what? Ain't no point for me to try to mess with these guys who are going to play dirty.' "
Morris' comments surfaced after USF coach Willie Taggart's postgame news conference. Attempts to reach him through the school's sports-information department weren't immediately answered.
SHAW SHINES: For the third time in four games, Bulls senior RB Marcus Shaw (20 carries, 127 yards) eclipsed the 100-yard mark. Shaw, who had 111 yards by halftime, entered eighth nationally in rushing yards per game (132.7).
Meantime, Miami sophomore counterpart Duke Johnson (14 carries, 84 yards) scored at least one TD for the eighth consecutive game — a streak stretching to Nov. 1.
ANOTHER SHINING MOMENT: For a silver lining, USF's defense had two more interceptions for four total this season — doubling their total for all of 2012.
The most auspicious pick was started and finished by a Pinellas County product. Bulls senior DE Julius "JuJu" Forte (Boca Ciega) intercepted a batted pass from third-string Miami QB Gray Crow (Countryside), and rambled 11 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown.
Forte essentially dedicated his first career interception — and USF's first pick-six in nearly two years — to the memory of the mom of teammate and best friend Ryne Giddins. Sabrina Giddins died recently of uterine cancer.
"I had an angel out on the field with me today," Forte said. "She was out there on the field with me today and she saw fit that I had that pick today."
SEATS STILL AVAILABLE: Saturday's announced attendance was 47,562, but the actual crowd — according to the Tampa Sports Authority — was 32,977. Only four years ago, "actual" attendance for USF-Miami in Tampa was 57,572.
ODDS AND ENDS: Bulls LB DeDe Lattimore's two forced fumbles give him five for his career. … Two more freshmen — DB Nate Godwin of Freedom High and RG Dominique Threatt — made their first starts. … USF was whistled for an illegal-equipment penalty in the first half when it had two players wearing No. 36 — Nate Godwin and Ryan Eppes — on the field at once. "That was the coach's fault," Taggart said. … Former Bulls LB Sam Barrington, a Packers rookie, attended the game. Green Bay is idle this week.