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USF's Allen, Bonani earn Big East football honors

USF safety Nate Allen celebrates his interception in the final minute that set up the winning field goal against Kansas.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

USF safety Nate Allen celebrates his interception in the final minute that set up the winning field goal against Kansas.

TAMPA — Thanks to Friday's 37-34 win against then-No. 13 Kansas, USF nearly swept the Big East's weekly honors, with S Nate Allen and PK Maikon Bonani earning the league's defensive and special-teams honors, respectively.

Allen returned an interception 40 yards to set up a 43-yard winning field goal by Bonani as time expired. QB Matt Grothe, who threw for 338 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a third score, made the Big East weekly honor roll. Connecticut's Donald Brown, who rushed for 206 yards and three touchdowns in a win against Virginia, got the nod.

RECORD EJECTIONS: Friday's game had 64 fans ejected, exceeding the previous high for a USF home game, 57, in last year's sellout against West Virginia. There were nine arrests, and USF executive associate athletic director Bill McGillis said the school continues to ask fans to show sportsmanship.

"We are concerned any time that the experience of our fans, or that of a visiting team's fans, is ruined by the behavior of others," McGillis said. "We know that the vast majority of our fans are terrific."

For comparison, the Florida-Miami game in Gainesville on Sept. 6 had 121 ejections and 50 arrests, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

STILL AVAILABLE: Saturday's game at FIU is still not sold out, despite a capacity of just 18,000. FIU said Monday that USF returned about 840 tickets from its allotment, thought to be 2,500 tickets; USF had tickets available Monday night. FIU has only made tickets for the game available by purchasing season tickets.

INJURY UPDATE: RBs Mike Ford and Ben Williams, hampered by ankle injuries in the past two games, did not run with teammates after Monday's practice. Coach Jim Leavitt said Ford participated in drills, though Williams was more limited. Both could play Saturday.

CB Tyson Butler is no longer wearing a boot on his injured ankle, but Leavitt said he didn't think he would play this week.

FSU: New-look Parker

TALLAHASSEE — Saying he was hoping for a "fresh start," Seminoles WR Preston Parker returned to the practice field with closely cropped hair. Gone were his trademark dreadlocks.

Parker, a junior, was suspended for the first two games after an offseason arrest on gun and drug charges. The charges were reduced to misdemeanors, and Parker has been cleared to play Saturday against Wake Forest. He is expected to start.

"Just a better look," Parker said. "When people view me, instead of seeing dreadlocks and everything that comes with that … I just cut it off so they can forget about that."

Although his primary position is receiver, he expects to play several roles Saturday, including tailback and return specialist.

Offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher said Parker will be a boost no matter where he plays.

"He brings energy and toughness and competitiveness," Fisher said. "He brings the right intangibles that you want."

UF: Tartt back

GAINESVILLE — Florida will get a key member of its offense back, just in time for its SEC opener against Tennessee.

Senior OL Jim Tartt, who has struggled with a shoulder injury most of the season, is expected to play Saturday.

"Great news," coach Urban Meyer said. "Jim looks like he's ready to roll."

WR Carl Moore (hip pointer) is able to run full speed, Meyer said, and LB Dustin Doe is probable.

OLE MISS SET: UF's home game against Ole Miss on Sept. 27 will kick off at 12:30 (Ch. 38).

UM: Receiver basics

CORAL GABLES — Miami's inexperienced receivers, who have struggled, have been working on basics in preparation for Saturday's game at Texas A&M. No receiver has a catch for more than 20 yards. TE Dedrick Epps has a 35-yard reception.

Sophomore Leonard Hankerson leads the team with six catches for 42 yards.

The Aggies are No. 24 in the nation in pass defense, giving up an average of 157 yards.

UNC SET: Miami's ACC opener against visiting North Carolina will kick off at noon Sept. 27 (ESPN or ESPN2).

UCF: Help at WR

ORLANDO — With WR Kamar Aiken (broken foot) doubtful for Saturday's game against Boston College, Notre Dame transfer Richard Jackson will play a bigger role for the Knights.

Jackson's hardship waiver was approved Sept. 4, and he has been learning the offense.

Aiken is expected back for the C-USA opener at UTEP on Sept. 27.

Times staff writer Antonya English and Times correspondent Ira Schoffel contributed to this report, which used information from the Miami Herald, the Orlando Sentinel and Times wires.

>>FAST FACTS

Up next

Florida: at Tennessee,

3:30 Saturday, Ch. 10

USF: at Florida International, 5 Saturday, ESPNU

FSU: vs. Wake Forest,

7 Saturday, ESPN2

Miami: at Texas A&M, 3:30 Saturday, Ch. 28

USF's Allen, Bonani earn Big East football honors 09/15/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 16, 2008 6:14pm]

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