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USF Bulls make switch at kicker again

TAMPA — Another Eric Schwartz miss, another Maikon Bonani field goal, and USF has a new kicker, it would seem.

Schwartz, holding tenuously to the job after missing two kicks last week, missed again on a 35-yard try in the second quarter Saturday night. When Bonani connected on a 47-yarder in the third quarter, the change at a key position seemed complete.

"It looked pretty good going through the middle of the uprights. It would have been good from another 10 years farther back," coach Skip Holtz said. "We missed the first one, and Schwartz felt like his hip was tightening up. So let's just kick Bonani. I told him at halftime, and he said, 'I'm good. Let's give it a whirl.' "

Schwartz, a senior walk-on who was the primary kicker last year, is 1-of-5 on field goals this season. Bonani is 2-for-2 after banking one in off the uprights late in last week's win against Western Kentucky.

After missing last season with a back injury suffered in a summer accident at Busch Gardens, Bonani has earned back the job he had for most of the 2008 season as a freshman.

BOGAN'S BACK: After missing a game with an ankle injury suffered in the loss Sept. 11 at Florida, senior WR Dontavia Bogan was back healthy and made his presence felt early in the third quarter, catching a 38-yard touchdown from B.J. Daniels.

"It felt good to be back out there on the field," Bogan said. "Watching from the sidelines last week was quite depressing. I'm happy to be back out there with my team."

The Bulls called a flea-flicker, with Daniels handing off to Mo Plancher, who flipped back to Daniels, who found Bogan open at the goal line for a 21-3 lead. Bogan led the Bulls with 66 yards on five catches.

Another injured receiver, sophomore Sterling Griffin, dressed but did not play. He has been out since dislocating his right ankle in summer workouts.

YOUNG GETS PICK: Junior S Jerrell Young got his first career interception in the first quarter, picking off a pass deflected by LB Jacquian Williams. Young, a Gibbs graduate, limped off early in the second with a left ankle injury and did not return, replaced by freshman Mark Joyce.

"He tweaked it in practice, and it was more precautionary, I think," coordinator Mark Snyder said. "He's walking, so I guess he's okay."

ST. PETERSBURG REPRESENTS: Young wasn't the only player from St. Petersburg that stepped up — sophomore LB Armando Sanchez, a top player on special teams, scored his first career touchdown returning a punt blocked by Quenton Washington to put the Bulls up 14-0 in the first quarter. And redshirt freshman S JaQuez Jenkins (Lakewood) got USF's first fumble recovery of the season in the fourth quarter, setting up a Plancher touchdown.

"St. Petersburg was out there tonight," Sanchez said.

GOOD AND BAD: Sophomore Mark Popek of Plant City got his first start of the season at left tackle, stepping in for senior Jamar Bass, but it wasn't all good news for Popek. He was flagged for two penalties on one drive in the second quarter — the first, a holding call, negated a touchdown for the Bulls, and the second, a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct flag, cost the Bulls on a drive that ended with a missed field goal.

FINALLY: When Jenkins recovered a fumble on a bad snap, USF became the last team out of 120 schools in Division I-A to get one. The Bulls entered the week with New Mexico as the only schools without a fumble recovery, and both got their first Saturday.

USF Bulls make switch at kicker again 10/02/10 [Last modified: Sunday, October 3, 2010 12:08am]
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