Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

South Florida Bulls are ranked for first time this season

Syracuse’s Delone Carter has a tough time holding the ball against USF’s defense, ranked No. 5 in the nation in scoring.

Associated Press

Syracuse’s Delone Carter has a tough time holding the ball against USF’s defense, ranked No. 5 in the nation in scoring.

TAMPA — USF's third consecutive 5-0 start was acknowledged by the national polls Sunday, as the Bulls are ranked for the first time this season, No. 23 in the Associated Press Top 25 and at No. 24 in the coaches' poll.

"I'm just thinking about Cincinnati," said coach Jim Leavitt, whose team has this week off before a Big East showdown with the No. 8 Bearcats at Raymond James Stadium on Oct. 15.

The Bulls' 34-20 win Saturday at Syracuse wasn't as well played as the win Sept. 26 at Florida State, but Leavitt said he knew his players could not have the same intensity they displayed in Tallahassee.

"It's impossible. (Special-teams coach) John Hendrick told me that last night," Leavitt said Saturday. "I was feeling so bad about trying to make sure I get this team ready to play. John said, 'You know, it's impossible to have them as high emotionally as they were last week.' … He's right. You just have to hope that the talent and the fight will be enough to carry through.''

Talent, fight and seven takeaways did the trick against Syracuse, and USF is now third in the nation with 16 forced turnovers, one off the national lead.

HONORED: Senior S Nate Allen, who had two interceptions Saturday, was honored as the Walter Camp Football Foundation's national defensive player of the week.

Allen also had a team-high eight tackles in addition to two of USF's five interceptions of QB Greg Paulus, who had totaled four picks in his previous four games. Allen has won a national defensive honor before, having been chosen as the Nagurski defensive player of the week after USF's win at Auburn in 2007.

TOUCHBACKS: Leavitt said he was "disappointed" with the punt team. Punts from the Syracuse 33 and 39 resulted in touchbacks.

"I was looking for field position there, and we didn't get it," said Leavitt, noting that Delbert Alvarado's first punt went into the end zone, but the second one could have been downed inside the 5 had the coverage gotten there in time.

THIS AND THAT: Junior WR Carlton Mitchell has 377 receiving yards, putting him on pace to easily break Hugh Smith's school record of 661, set in 2002. No other USF receiver has half as many yards. … USF has the nation's No. 5 scoring defense, allowing 9.4 points per game, while Cincinnati has the No. 4 scoring offense, averaging 42 points.

South Florida Bulls are ranked for first time this season 10/04/09 [Last modified: Sunday, October 4, 2009 8:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Friday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb hates to hear how he "battled through" or "grinded out" a start rather than just dominated, but that's kind of what he did Friday, allowing nine hits and a walk and being charged with two wild pitches but only three runs in earning his 12th win.

  2. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning captain Steven Stamkos was curious how he would feel — and perform — in Friday's exhibition against Nashville, his first game since mid-November knee surgery.

    The Lightning’s Alex Killorn, left, makes his preseason debut and has an assist in a 3-1 win against the Predators at Amalie Arena.
  3. Rays journal: Rays tie franchise home run record

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — A major flaw in the Rays offense this season — and thus a major reason for their inconsistent play and losing record — has been too much reliance on the home run.

    Wilson Ramos points after hitting a grand slam during the second inning, putting the Rays up 4-0.
  4. Ww's Odessabeach makes run at Husker Magic stakes final

    Parimutuels

    ST. PETERSBURG — When Hurricane Irma blew through Florida earlier this month, Ww's Odessabeach remained in her comfort zone.

  5. Steven Souza Jr. vindicating big trade for Rays

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — There was a time when the three-team, 11-player transaction the Rays orchestrated to get Steven Souza Jr. from the Nationals looked liked a bad deal.

    The Rays’ Steven Souza Jr. has 30 home runs while improving his defense and baserunning.