TAMPA — The first time RB Darrell Scott tried to hurdle a Ball State defender Saturday, he took a shoulder pad to an area of the body not intended for such a collision and was doubled over on the sideline for the next two plays.
"It took like 20 minutes for me to get right again," Scott said Sunday, laughing about his 82-yard effort in his first USF home game. "Besides that, I think I hit the holes right. I didn't let the first tackler put me down. I just let the line open up the holes. That was the main thing."
But Scott tried it again —twice — and hurdled a safety in a 31-yard run that was the Bulls' longest play in the 37-7 rout, setting up his own short touchdown run.
"I just need to settle down a little bit," Scott said. "It was too many, and people are going to think I'm always hurdling, which isn't the case. Just (Saturday) night, it just happened."
Scott is about 240 pounds, so as coach Skip Holtz pointed out, there are alternatives to taking to the air when a would-be tackler is approaching.
"I don't know if he's trying to become a hurdle champion or what," Holtz said. "When you're 245 pounds, you run through people. You don't jump over them. He's trying to hurdle everybody out there. He said 'I did it in high school all the time,' and I said "This isn't high school anymore.' But he's a talented player, and it's nice to get him some carries."
It was Scott's first touchdown since his college debut in August 2008 at Colorado. He transferred to USF last year.
UNSUNG STAR: It turns out USF's fumble-return touchdown on the opening kickoff was sparked by redshirt freshman Spencer Boyd, a transfer from Notre Dame who forced the fumble on the first play of his college career, allowing Mark Joyce to score eight seconds into the game.
"The fact there was a mixup means we've got guys running down like crazy all over the kickoff team — that's great to me," Boyd said. "That's a year and a half of practice built up inside of me. I wanted to let it loose and do my job on the kickoff team."
Boyd, who has worked at receiver and cornerback, is settling in at safety and earned the "Effort Award" on defense.
THIS AND THAT: Three true freshmen made their debuts Saturday — WRs Andre Davis (Jefferson) and Ruben Gonzalez (Robinson), as well as FB Tye Turner, who had the lead block on Scott's touchdown run. … Redshirt freshman Ruben Garcia (Durant) also made his USF debut on special teams, on kickoff coverage. … Sophomore S JaQuez Jenkins (hamstring) and senior WR Joel Miller (concussion) sat out the game.