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by Matthew Manuri |
The next installment in my Historic Wins in USF History series sends us back to the glory days of 2008. (Click here for previous Historic Wins articles)
On September 12, 2008 the 19th ranked USF Bulls (2-0) collided with the surging 13th ranked Kansas Jayhawks (2-0) at Raymond James Stadium. The Bulls and Jayhawks stunned the football world in 2007, after both ascended as high as No. 2 nationally before late season miscues derailed potential opportunities for a BCS birth.
There were legitimate concerns with the Bulls kicking game after Delbert Alvarado, the starting kicker the past two seasons, missed 3 of 4 field-goal attempts in the first two games. The environment in the stadium was exhilarating, with a roaring crowd of 58,755 in attendance for the matchup, including my now wife and yours truly.
Quick side note: Anyone remember the days of waiting in line for a wrist band that became the ‘hot commodity’ for the week? How about simply swiping your USF ID at the gate for game day admittance. Jim Leavitt is a glorious man.. now back to your regularly scheduled programming..
After Delbert Alvarado’s 18-yard punt out of bounds (cough, cough) in first quarter, Kansas orchestrated an eight-play drive for the first TD of the evening. Next, the two teams exchanged field goals until the Bulls finally broke the plain when USF QB Matt Grothe took a QB-Keeper 28-yards to the house. The Jayhawks ended the first half leading the Bulls 20-10.
With 8:18 remaining in the third quarter, Matt Grothe delivered a 21-yard TD strike to WR Taurus Johnson, tying the game at 20. The stout Bulls defense came up big with several key stops. and the offense didn’t waste the defensive efforts. USF RB Jamar Taylor capped the Bulls third quarter 71-yard, 5 play drive with a 15-yard TD dash, giving USF a 27-20 lead heading into the fourth.
The fourth quarter was one of the most stressful, exhilarating experiences of my life. The Bulls Defense led the charge with George Selvie & Jared Buie dominating the trenches. The Bulls offense reached the endzone once again on a 37-yard strike from Grothe to WR A.J. Love at the 14:02 mark. CB Jerome Murphy delivered a bone-jarring hit on Kansas’ Kerry Meler that about knocked him unconscious and George Selvie exploded through the Jayhawk line for a sack on the ensuing play… man do I miss the aggression and passion of a Jim Leavitt defense.
With the game tied at 34 & just 37 ticks left on the game clock S Nate Allen made the defining play of the game. Willie Taggart always says he’s looking for ‘playmakers’ and certainly would’ve loved having a talent like Allen in the secondary. Allen cherry picked QB Todd Reesing’s pass over the middle & returned the interception 40-yards to the Kansas 27. True Freshman Maikon Bonani, in his first collegiate start, nailed a 43-yarder as time expired icing the victory over the 13th ranked Jayhawks for the 19th ranked Bulls. Final score: 37-34.
One word: Epic.
Share any thoughts, memories or stories of drunken debauchery from this great game in USF History below. Also, please send any photos taken while at this event to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will post them here.
by Matthew Manuri | SoFloBulls.com
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