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BULLS SPREAD BACKFIELD WEALTH

Much of the talk in preseason was about USF's depth at running back, how the Bulls had several backs capable of piling up yards by committee.

Saturday's opener against Tennessee-Martin showed how well the Bulls backs can complement each other.

Senior Ben Williams and sophomore Jamar Taylor started but, fittingly, sophomore Mike Ford was in on the next play and carried the next three plays.

The backs often finished each other's drives - Williams went 45 yards on his first carry, then saw Ford score on a 4-yard run. Two drives later, Taylor had runs of 6 and 9 yards to set up a Williams touchdown.

Even junior Moise Plancher, a former starter limited by injuries the past two seasons, got in on the fun, scampering 35 yards for his first career touchdown in the third quarter. He added a short score in the fourth.

The Bulls had four backs with more than 40 yards - Williams with 70, Plancher with 65, Ford with 61 and two scores on a game-high 15 carries, and Taylor with 41. QB Matt Grothe, USF's leading rusher in each of the last two seasons, had a light day's work with four carries for 19 yards.

NICE START: USF's 28 points in the opening quarter were its most ever in a first quarter and tied its most in any quarter, set five previous times.

KICKING WOES: K Delbert Alvarado missed his only field goal, coming up short on a 46-yarder. Alvarado went 7-for-7 on extra points and only had to punt once - for 43 yards.

WELCOME: WR A.J. Love, DT Sampson Genus and LB Kion Wilson - made their first starts and three other Bulls - Taylor and CBs Jerome Murphy and Tyller Roberts - made their second.

Six Bulls made their debuts on the opening kickoff alone, including Gibbs' Jerrell Young and Wharton's LaDre Watkins. Three true freshmen - QB B.J. Daniels, WR Daniel Bryant and OL Danous Estenor - later debuted.

BIG CROWD: The announced attendance of 48,058 is the fifth-most for USF at Raymond James Stadium, and about 15,000 more than the Bulls drew for last year's opener. The top four home crowds in USF history were set last season, including sellouts against West Virginia and UCF.

THIS AND THAT: Senior S Carlton Williams had his first interception since 2005, a span of 27 games. ... OT Ryan Schmidt left with an injury to his right knee, but appeared to be fine on the sideline. ... Love set career highs with four catches for 56 yards ... Heavy rains soaked the field for hours before the game, but cleared up just before kickoff. USF has only played four games in rain in its 12-year history, and only once at home.

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