TAMPA — Getting recognized at midfield on senior night is usually one of those once-in-a-lifetime thrills, but USF running back Mo Plancher has enjoyed the honor at the end of each of the past two seasons.
The senior from Naples was one of 19 seniors recognized before Saturday's game against Connecticut. As most parents wore "USF 2010 Seniors" T-shirts bearing their son's number, Plancher's mother, Ilana, wore the shirt she wore last year, reading "USF 2009 Seniors."
Plancher, who also had his father, Wilson, brother John and cousin Mark representing him Saturday, was granted a sixth year of eligibility, having earned medical redshirts for each of his first two seasons with the Bulls.
Plancher has made the most of his final year — he entered Saturday's game with 684 yards, the most by a USF running back since Andre Hall had 1,374 in 2005. Plancher played well early, getting runs of 11 and 15 yards in the first quarter to ease the load on freshman QB Bobby Eveld, who was making his first career start.
As for the senior day repeat, USF likely will do the same thing in 2011, as WR A.J. Love, who has not played this season as he recovers from knee surgery, was recognized before the game. He's expected to apply for a sixth year after the season and should be back with the Bulls in the fall.
Of the 19 seniors honored, only three are from the immediate Tampa Bay area: LBs Jacquian Williams (Riverview High) and Donte Spires (Plant) and walk-on K Eric Schwartz (Hudson).
RECORDS SET: Sophomore Lindsey Lamar set USF's single-season record for kickoff return yards, breaking the mark set each of the past two seasons by senior Dontavia Bogan. Bogan had 770 yards in 2008 and 2009. With a 23-yard return in the third quarter, Lamar, who has returned two kicks for touchdowns this season, had 780 after his fourth return of the night.
Sophomore Maikon Bonani hit his first two field goals Saturday, putting him 15-for-18 this season — if that success rate holds up, it would be the most accurate field-goal mark in school history, surpassing Santiago Gramatica's 16-for-21 mark set in 2002. Bonani took over the job after Schwartz went 1-for-5 to open the season.
THIS AND THAT: Former walk-on WR Joel Miller, who had a career-best four catches for 60 yards in last week's win at Miami, got his first career start as the Bulls opened with four receivers. … DE Craig Marshall, who missed four games with a broken foot, returned Saturday, though redshirt freshman Ryne Giddins (Armwood) started for the second week in a row. … USF honored its second-ever class inducted into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame at halftime, including former baseball standout and current Phillies player Ross Gload.
Greg Auman can be reached at [email protected] and at (813) 226-3346. Check out his blog at tampabay.com/blogs/bulls and follow him at Twitter.com/gregauman.