PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Several USF players arrived at High Point Solutions Stadium bent on laying bare their indifference to the temperatures, which had dipped to 33 degrees by the time of Saturday's kickoff against Rutgers.
WR Ruben Gonzalez, a Robinson High alumnus, warmed up briefly in long black shorts and no shirt. A handful of other shirtless Bulls followed, including LB DeDe Lattimore and RB Michael Pierre.
"I did that just for Rutgers," said Lattimore, a fifth-year senior who had a career-best 18 tackles in his finale. "Just to show 'em that the weather — I'm from Georgia — was nothing."
Lynch to next level? Immediately after the game, coach Willie Taggart acknowledged third-year sophomore DE Aaron Lynch likely will solicit his pro potential with the NFL draft advisory board.
All other underclassmen are expected back, including junior WR Andre Davis, who had a school-record 735 receiving yards this season. Lynch, whose physical upside (6 feet 6, 244 pounds) appeals to scouts, had six tackles and two sacks in the game, finishing as the team leader in the latter category (six).
"I'm sure (Lynch) is going to test the waters and see what it is, but he hasn't said he's leaving or not," Taggart said. "He'd like to test and see where it's at, and we'll see where it goes from there."
Out with a bang: Lattimore had 337 tackles in his career, second-most in school history.
"I gave it everything I got," said Lattimore, his voice cracking. "I told (Taggart) before the game started I was going to get 20 tackles. I was two away. I just wanted to leave my mark."
He left it with Taggart, who said, "I told him we need a lot more DeDe's on this football team."
Polls closed: K Marvin Kloss, a Lou Groza Award finalist, had a 24- and 29-yard chip shot field goal but could not fortify his case Saturday — voting for the honor ended Thursday. Kloss was 18-for-23 on the year.
Odds and ends: Defensive backs coach Ron Cooper, who lost his 94-year-old father six days ago, made the trip. Funeral services for Wilbert H. Cooper are Monday in Huntsville, Ala. … Carrollwood Day alumnus Mak Djulbegovic, a 289-pound redshirt sophomore, made his second career start at right tackle for injured veteran Quinterrius Eatmon. … Davis' 14-yard catch in the first half moved him into second on the school's career receiving yardage list (1,542), surpassing Dontavia Bogan (1,534). He also has a catch in 30 consecutive games, extending his program record.
Audible: "Everybody just keep buying into him, and I can guarantee you, USF will be back on top." — Lattimore on Taggart