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USF defending last year's UCF rout

TAMPA — Saturday's 56-7 win against Tennessee-Martin was decided early enough that most of USF's starters were able to watch the second half from the sidelines, and the margin of victory was USF's largest since last year's 64-12 win against Central Florida.

Now, as the No. 19 Bulls prepare for their last scheduled game against UCF, on Saturday in Orlando, offensive coordinator Greg Gregory said the Knights and their fans shouldn't take offense that USF's backup quarterbacks passed for three touchdowns in the fourth quarter last year, staked to a 33-point lead.

"I've never been in a football game where there's been any intent to run a score up. We let our guys play," Gregory said. "They weren't starting players, and those guys practice all the time for the opportunity to play. If they get in the game, they should be allowed to play. I have no qualms if another team keeps playing against us."

Gregory's son, Grant, threw two touchdowns in the final quarter last year, including a 75-yarder to Carlton Mitchell with 5:06 left. Third-stringer Anthony Severino found Jessie Hester for a 28-yard score with 2:16 left.

"What do you do, stifle them? Tell them not to play?" Greg Gregory asked. "You might find a player doing that. If that was viewed as a problem … you just play the game."

Statistically, Saturday's game will feature two of Division I's top five defenses in yards allowed: USF allowed 97, while UCF gave up 126 in a 17-0 win against South Carolina State.

"We came away with a win the last three years, but I know it's going to be a great game," senior S Carlton Williams said.

STILL AVAILABLE: Last year's game was announced as a sellout at Raymond James Stadium, with 65,598 tickets distributed, but this week's game isn't sold out at Bright House Networks Field, which seats 45,000.

UCF had made tickets available only to Knights season-ticket holders, but the school released a limited number of $65 seats to the general public Friday, with additional $45 seats being released over the weekend.

INJURY UPDATE: USF coach Jim Leavitt said Sunday that he won't know the severity of TE Trent Pupello's ankle/foot injury until this morning, but that looks to be the only lingering injury from Saturday.

Greg Gregory said he saw Pupello getting treatment from trainers Sunday morning, and the sophomore tight end told him he would be ready to play this week.

Leavitt said RB Mike Ford (ankle) and OT Ryan Schmidt (knee) would both be fine for this week's game, saying that they remained on the sideline after their injuries because he wanted to see other players in game action at their positions.

USF defending last year's UCF rout 08/31/08 [Last modified: Saturday, September 6, 2008 4:11pm]
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