Since South Florida entered the Big East, the biggest thorn in their side conference-wise has been Rutgers. Fortunately for them and unfortunately for the Scarlet Knights, they managed to pull the thorn out and slip past in their 28-27 win Wednesday night at Raymond James Stadium.
Moise Plancher, the sixth-year senior running back for the Bulls, had a career night running for 135 yards on 21 carries. Quarterback Chas Dodd, in his fourth start for Rutgers, went 19 for 22 for 139 yards but did not have a touchdown thrown.
This back and forth battle was a test for both teams on both ends of the field. South Florida (5-3, 2-2 Big East) jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first, but the Scarlet Knights (4-4, 1-2 Big East) would tie it up on a 60 yard Mason Robinson punt return for a touchdown.
San San Te would kick the first of his two field goals, but Bulls quarterback B.J. Daniels (10-17, 149 yards, 2 TDs) hit Donavia Bogan for a touchdown in the red zone. Receiver Mohamed Sanu threw a touchdown pass on a lateral 21 yards to Mark Harrison to give them a three-point advantage. Harrison had a game high 88 receiving yards on five catches for the Scarlet Knights. A late field goal for South Florida tied the game up at 17 for halftime.
The second half was just as action-packed as the first. Less than five minutes into the third, Joe Martinek barrelled his way through on a one-yard score that was helped by South Florida shooting themselves in the foot with two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. The Bulls would add a field goal and then would tackle Kordell Young in the end zone on a poorly ran screen pass to cut the lead to 24-22.
Rutgers would add another Te field goal, but the deciding play of the game was with nine and half minutes left when Plancher dove across the goal line. The ball slipped out in the air but tackle Jacob Sims dove on the ball to give the Bulls the one-point lead. The Scarlet Knight offense struggled to get even in field goal range the rest of the way and could not respond in time.
The Scarlet Knights will try to get back on track next Saturday against a very tough Syracuse team.
About the Author
Written by Chris Ryan
Chris Ryan is a Staten Island, NY native who recently graduated SUNY-Cortland majoring in sport management. At Cortland, he was the sports editor of the student-run newspaper The Dragon Chronicle for both his junior and senior year. He interned for the sports producer and sports anchor Bruce Beck at WNBC-4 Sports in New York City for their 6:00 and 11:00 news programs. Also, he interned this summer for the New York Jets as a sports writer for their website during their training camp which was shown on HBO's Hard Knocks program. Assignments included writing feature stories that were included on both newyorkjets.com and the Jets Playbook given out to the fans at the game. Chris is a Yankees, Giants, Knicks and Rangers fan.