What’s the most satisfying USF football game ever? Maybe the first one, because of all the hard work and struggle it took to convince the school to start a football team, and then get it off the ground? Maybe the Pittsburgh game in 2001? Maybe even the Cincinnati game a couple years ago when the Bulls ran up 51 points in the first half?
All of those were great, but for a lot of Bulls fans, the 64-12 shellacking of C. on October 13, 2007, is at the very top of the list. This was back when the two teams were not in the same league, literally or figuratively. USF was ranked #5 in both polls, and although the Knights ended up winning Conference USA, they also lost games to Skip Holtz and Sylvester Croom, so they couldn’t have been that good.
At the same time, C. was desperately trying to start a rivalry with USF. Back then, though, it was more like their version of the Civil ConFLiCT — something they cared about a lot, and USF not at all.
Things are a lot different now. USF and C. still want to beat the stuffing out of each other, but I think the relationship between the two schools is much healthier. Even when Willie Taggart punched in one last touchdown at the end of last year’s game, it was more like “ayyy, one more for the road” than “fuck you and the horse you rode in on” when Jim Leavitt ran it up 10 years ago. There was real vengeance in this game. I think when the final seconds ran off the clock, a lot of USF fans were secretly a little upset that the Bulls didn’t have time to score even more points.
So let’s head to a sold-out Raymond James Stadium. (Wait, USF fans showing up in force for a noon game on a hot day against a middling opponent? Imagine that.) Your announcers are Clay Matvick and Larry Coker, who I think has already figured out that this broadcasting thing is not for him.
So much pregame stupidity
We wrote about this a long time ago, but it’s worth discussing again. C. acted like absolute tools in the week leading up to this game. George O’Leary “forgot” what conference USF played in during his weekly press conference. He also claimed there would be 30,000 Knights fans at the game, which was hilariously wrong. C. fans called Shauna Moffitt any number of disgusting things on message boards. And they all took to Facebook to harass Matt Grothe. This was very stupid.
Grothe always raised his game against C. He didn’t need any extra motivation to pound that team to dust, but they gave it to him anyway. Grothe threw for 212 yards, ran for 100, and accounted for four touchdowns. The game ended up being such a butt-whipping that he came out of it in the middle of the third quarter.
And David Whitley... I mean... what the hell was he thinking?
He walked around campus in that getup, climbed on top of the bull statue in the Selmon Athletics Center, and took pictures of everything. Then he wrote a horrible column about it that ran in the Orlando Sentinel two days before the game. He might as well have slapped every USF football player in the face. In a related story, Whitley was not an Orlando Sentinel columnist for much longer.
Bull or no bull?
Throughout the game, a parade of USF athletes and coaches put on a headset at field level and played a game with Matvick and Coker called “Bull or No Bull?” They would read a statement, and the ESPNU announcers would try to decide if it was true (no bull) or false (bull). The “no bull” questions were pretty standard. You know, trailers and stuff. On the other hand, some of the “bull” questions were hilarious, like the suggestion that Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman was based on an actual USF professor.
Here is “new USF basketball coach” Stan Heath asking the final question in the fourth quarter, with his senior center Kentrell Gransberry. Ten years is a long time, you guys.
The best pass Matt Grothe ever threw?
In the middle of the first quarter, USF took over in C. territory after a Mike Jenkins interception. On first down, Grothe threw deep for Carlton Mitchell, who dropped a perfect pass in the end zone. On second down, Grothe threw deep for Amarri Jackson, who dropped a perfect pass in the end zone. On third down, Grothe threw deep again.
I think this might have been the best pass of Matt’s career. First, he scrambled away from both defensive ends in the backfield. Then, while on the move, he threw an absolute dime to Taurus Johnson from 40 yards away, right over the hand of Johnell Neal and right in front of Sha’reff Rashad. A little bit less or a little bit more on the ball and it gets intercepted. A little bit further outside and the ball goes out of bounds.
I remember Collin filming a throwing contest after a USF football practice a couple years ago, where the quarterbacks were trying to throw the ball into a trash can from long range. He stood out there for like 10 minutes filming it, and no one was able to sink one. That’s about the size of the target Grothe had to aim at. He did it in one try, and he didn’t even get to stand still and set his feet. It was an amazing play.
Speaking of amazing plays...
George Selvie takes the handoff from Kyle Israel
Let’s all watch this about a thousand times.
The fumble was recovered by a #50 who did not usually wear #50. It was Jarriett Buie wearing a temporary number because his regular #90 jersey was torn. Buie told former Bulls beat writer Greg Auman that it was because the C. linemen were holding him so much that his jersey ripped.
Anthony Severino’s moment of glory, finally on video!
ESPNU actually cut away from this game before it ended. USF had a 57-12 lead, and there was that epic UConn-Virginia game to get to at 3:30, so most video copies of this game end right there. Unless you were still in the stadium, you may have never seen what happened when the Bulls got the ball back.
After backup Grant Gregory entered the game and led two touchdown drives, it was time for third-stringer Anthony Severino to get some playing time. The senior quarterback threw two of his three career passes in this game, and got his only completion. On 4th and 14 from the C. 28-yard line, the Bulls went for it. Leading by 45 points with a little over two minutes left, the sporting thing to do would have been to call an iso run, or just take a knee.
That’s not what happened.
THEY RAN FOUR VERTS FOR A TOUCHDOWN TO GO UP 64-12. ABSOLUTELY SAVAGE.
I wanted to ask some players if they felt like Leavitt was running up the score, but this play tells you everything you need to know. They wanted to dunk on the Knights as hard as possible that day. I’m surprised there wasn’t a brawl after this.
The final score was almost 71-12
C. got the ball back, but once again did nothing and had to punt. The Knights finished with only 145 total yards and gained 2.2 yards per play. Kevin Smith nearly set an FBS single-season record with 2,567 rushing yards in 2007, thanks in large part to O’Leary abusing him with 450 carries. He was held to 55 yards by the Bulls. It was the only game where Smith didn’t break 100.
Boom went the punt. Again, you’d think that this game is long since over, and maybe USF would call for a fair catch, or let the ball roll dead to take some more time off the clock. Nah.
If Amarri could have stayed in bounds (it looks he might have been able to), USF would have scored another touchdown to hit the 70-point mark. Alas, the ball was brought back to the Bulls’ 42, and after a couple runs by fifth-string running back Mo Plancher and sixth-stringer Shawn Cannon, the game ended. I would have said the game mercifully ended, but no. There was no mercy on that field that day.
“Now go home and get your f—-ing shinebox.”
Up next: Well, we promised we’d watch every game, so we have to talk about the Rutgers game. Sorry.