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USF first 100 games

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Was searching for something in my email and came across this article I sent my self back in 2005.  Was good to see some of the stats and remember the huge wins that came after this time.  Was also written by McMurphy so the ErrorSPN comment was a little comical.

As USF prepares to play its 100th football game Saturday in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, N.C., against North Carolina State (11 a.m., ESPN2), The Tampa Tribune presents 100 items on the team's history.


1. QB Marquel Blackwell (1999-2002)

2. CB Anthony Henry (1997-2000)

3. FS J.R. Reed (2000-2003)

4. LB Kawika Mitchell (1999-2002)

5. RB Andre Hall (2004-2005)

6. WR DeAndrew Rubin (1999-2002)

7. QB Chad Barnhardt (1997-1998)

8. OT Kenyatta Jones (1997-2000)

9. RB Rafael Williams (1997-2000)

10. K Bill Gramatica (1998-2000)


SLEAZY IN SEATTLE: USF's first bowl bid actually came in 2002. Well, sort of. The Seattle Bowl said it would invite USF if the school paid the financially troubled bowl $2 million. USF said no thanks and the bowl folded a year later.

FALCON QUEST: The morning after USF's 2002 upset of Bowling Green, Falcons coach Urban Meyer called Jim Leavitt wondering how the Bulls held his club to season lows in points (7) and yards (226). "He wanted to know how we stopped his offense," Leavitt said. "I told him, 'You know I'm not going to tell you.' "

TEED OFF: Minutes before USF's inaugural game against Kentucky Wesleyan in 1997, kicker Steve Riggs realized no one brought a kicking tee. So a motorcycle policeman sped to a nearby sporting goods store and returned with one.

MYSTERY GUEST: At halftime in the press box of the 2000 Kentucky game, a woman told assistant Calvin Magee "so close and no cigar," because USF fumbled near the goal line. Magee asked, "Who is that?" The woman was USF President Judy Genshaft.

THE BIG SCORE: There were a USF-record six arrests and 23 ejections, including a couple having sex in an RJS women's bathroom and a student urinating in the stands, during the 2005 USF-UCF game. Hey, at least they weren't Tasered.

BULLGATE: After losing to USF 40-0 in 2000, Jacksonville State coaches said they believed there was only one way JSU could have been beaten so badly - accusing USF of spying on JSU's practices.

HISTORY LESSON: According to the 1,632-page "ESPN College Football Encyclopedia, The Complete History Of The Game," USF lost 80-3 to Kentucky Wesleyan. Don't tell ErrorSPN, but USF won 80-3.

A ROCKY ROAD: In 2003 at Army, ESPN's Lee Corso borrowed Rocky the Bull's head to wear on air. However, torrential rains and lightning ended the telecast. During the storm, Rocky's head was lost so freshman Billy Snay, USF's mascot, sat on the sideline without his bull head. "A headless mascot," Snay said. With four minutes left in the game, Rocky's head was returned, unharmed, to Snay in a Hefty bag.

TURF WARS: When USF won at TCU in 2003, several Bulls pulled up handfuls of Amon Carter Stadium turf, leaving dozens of huge divots. Afterward, a TCU groundskeeper asked Leavitt if his team wouldn't tear up the field in the future. "Absolutely," Leavitt said, knowing USF likely will never play at TCU again.

SIGN LANGUAGE: One morning in 2000, there were about 100 signs planted in front of the coaches' trailers touting walk-on receiver Terry Lucas. "It looked like a graveyard," Lucas said. Leavitt was furious. The female fans who planted the signs also left the coaches dozens of No. 43 (Lucas' number) cupcakes. Lucas played two games that year before transferring.


1. USF 45, Louisville 14 (2005): Bulls upset No. 9 Cards in inaugural Big East game.

2. Louisville 30, UConn 20 (2005): UL's win earns USF first bowl berth in school history.

3. USF 35, Pittsburgh 26 (2001): As 22-point underdogs, Bulls pull off biggest upset of year.

4. USF 16, Southern Miss 13 (2002): USF avenges 41-7 loss from 2000 as USM misses field goal on final play.

5. USF 31, Louisville 28, 2 OT (2003): Santiago Gramatica hits game-winning 26-yard field goal in second overtime.

6. USF 80, Kentucky Wesleyan 3 (1997): Inaugural game's crowd of 49,212 is still USF record.

7. USF 29, Bowling Green 7 (2002): Seniors finish 25-1 at home with upset of Urban Meyer's club.

8. USF 20, Troy State 10 (2000): Behind Marquel Blackwell, USF downs Division I-AA's No. 1 team.

9. USF 28, Army 0 (2003): USF's first-ever conference win at historic Michie Stadium.

10. USF 21, UConn 13 (2000): First win vs. I-A opponent; all 34 points scored with the wind.


1. UConn 15, USF 10 (2005): Five turnovers, "Voodoo 5" reverse pass end Sugar Bowl hopes for BCS skunks.

2. Cincy 42, E. Carolina 26 (2002): USF watches on TV as ECU loss kills USF's conditional bid to Hawaii Bowl.

3. Army 42, USF 35 (2004): Leavitt still has Knightmares about RB Carlton Jones (225 yards rushing, five TDs).

4. UAB 22, USF 19 (2003): Six turnovers led to upset loss, eliminating USF from bowl contention.

5. N. Illinois 20, USF 17 (2001): Three-TD underdogs blow 10-point lead, lose on late FG in first I-A game.

6. Ga. Southern 28, USF 23 (1998): Loss at No. 1 Eagles ends USF's chances for I-AA playoffs.

7. Drake 23, USF 22 (1997): USF blows 10-point lead in shocking loss to non-scholarship I-AA team.

8. TCU 13, USF 10 (2003): Record 10 TCU sacks end nation's second-longest home winning streak at 21.

9. Ga. Southern 24, USF 23 (1997): No. 8 Eagles sack Chad Barnhardt on late 2-point conversion.

10. Western Ky. 31, USF 24 (1998): QB Willie Taggart's 206 yards rushing rally WKU from early 17-0 deficit.


On Sept. 6, 1996, about 75 players participated in USF's first football practice. Only 14 made it through all five years:



What they're doing now

Ryan Benjamin


Family's New Port Richey air conditioning business

Otis Dixon


Lakewood High football coach

Edwin Greene


Store manager of RadioShack in Tampa

Steve Hatley


Detail manager at Manheim (Pa.) Auto Auction

Shawn Hay


Mortgage broker with Tampa's Premier Home Lending

Anthony Henry


Dallas Cowboys cornerback

Charlie Jackson


In Savannah, Ga., taking care of his mother

Roy Manns


Teaching at a private preschool in Clearwater

Vassay Marc


Loan processor at federal credit union in Tampa

Leon Matthews


Elementary school teacher in Orlando

Cory Porter


Model, actor; managing a band in Tampa

Joey Sipp


Hillsborough High assistant football coach

Marshall Smith


Sales manager for Residential Finance in Tampa

Rafael Williams


Financial advisor for Citibank in Dallas


Besides Coach Jim Leavitt, only four staff members have been with USF since its first game:

• Jaime DeGerome, director of video services

• Greg Frey, offensive line coach

• Rick Kravitz, co-defensive coordinator

• Earl Lane, defensive line coach


Those who have played the biggest part in USF football:

Frank Borkowski: Former USF president headed start-up of USF football in 1991.

Betty Castor: Former USF president was vital in getting USF in C-USA.

Laura Gramatica: Don't laugh. She supplied USF with a field-goal kicker for seven years.

Paul Griffin: Former athletic director who made the absolute perfect choice in Coach Jim Leavitt.

Jim Leavitt: Favorite hobby for USF's only coach: head-butting helmeted players.

Frank Morsani: Chaired committee to start football and rallied community to pitch in.

Edward B. Rood: Made first significant donation ($2 million) to the program in 1993.

Lee Roy Selmon: Hired at USF in 1993 and helped develop and build program.


"At home [in LaBelle] I kicked in a cow pasture off cow turds, pine cones and leaves. It's not like my dad would mow out there."

- K Bill Gramatica, Aug. 30, 1999, about the challenge of kicking on the dirt infield at San Diego State

"This must be some kind of record."

- NFL Director of Operations Gene Washington, April 22, 2001, after Kenyatta Jones, Anthony Henry and Gramatica were selected on consecutive picks to start the NFL Draft's fourth round

"If I catch it clean, I feel like a mosquito in a blood bank."

- WR DeAndrew Rubin, Sept. 7, 2002, about scoring three TDs, including a 55-yard punt return against Northern Illinois

"Southern Miss didn't want us in Conference USA because they didn't want quantity, they wanted quality. I think they saw some quality tonight."

- LB Kawika Mitchell, Oct. 12, 2002, after USF's upset win

"I was coming down the ramp and started tasting blood. I must have hit it pretty good."

- Coach Jim Leavitt, Nov. 24, 2002, after head-butting helmets split open his forehead at halftime at Houston

"Maybe I should run naked through the streets of Tampa with a sign that says we need to go to a bowl. I don't know what else to do. If I need to do that, then I'll do it. I'll probably get arrested. If we don't get a bowl, it's the biggest hoax in the country. If it doesn't happen, it's an absolute joke."

- Leavitt, Nov. 24, 2002, about getting USF into a bowl

"The NCAA let this happen and the NCAA is a big joke. I won't watch the bowl games this year. Why should I? It's just all about money. I thought college football was about pride and respect. We don't play for money in college. If that's the case, give us $500 a week and I'll be happy to sit at home without a bowl bid."

- WR Ryan Hearn, Dec. 8, 2002, after the bowls snubbed USF

"Eat your heart out, Alabama."

- USF President Judy Genshaft, Dec. 12, 2002, after Leavitt turned down Alabama to sign a new deal with USF

"Phenomenal, phenomenal, phenomenal. He's a first-round [NFL] draft pick. I want his jersey at my house to say I know him."

- SS Kevin Verpaele, Nov. 29, 2003, about J.R. Reed's two-TD, three-interception effort at Memphis

"Who's the role model of the Big East now? We knew we had them at Monday's practice."

- DE Terrence Royal, Sept. 24, 2005, after USF upset No. 9Louisville


How USF compares to other state schools after their first 100 games, pending Saturday:

Florida: 64-33-3

USF: 61-38-0

Florida State: 57-41-2

Miami: 49-41-10

UCF: 45-54-1

USF's record by month:

August: 1-2

September: 19-12

October: 19-14

November: 22-8

December: 0-2

USF's NFL draft picks:

• LB Kawika Mitchell (Kansas City, 2nd round, 2003)

• OT Kenyatta Jones (New England, 4th, 2001)

• CB Anthony Henry (Cleveland, 4th, 2001)

• K Bill Gramatica (Arizona, 4th, 2001)

• DE Shurron Pierson (Oakland, 4th, 2003)

• FS J.R. Reed (Philadelphia, 4th, 2004)

• WR DeAndrew Rubin (Green Bay, 7th, 2003)

Nothing finer than Carolina: USF looks to remain perfect in North Carolina on Saturday in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. USF's best records by state:

Florida: 45-13

North Carolina: 3-0

Texas: 3-1

New York: 2-1

Tennessee: 2-2

USF's record against teams from the six BCS conferences:

Big East: 5-4

Pac-10: 0-0

ACC: 0-1

Big Ten: 0-1

Big 12: 0-2

SEC: 0-4

USF's record since 2001 against I-A teams:

When favored: 16-4

As an underdog: 9-17

USF vs. AP ranked teams:


Okla. ('02)

L, 14-31


L'ville ('05)

W, 45-14


Miami ('05)

L, 7-27


W. Va. ('05)

L, 13-28


L'ville ('04)

L, 9-41


So. Miss ('00)

L, 7-41


TCU ('03)

L, 10-13


Pitt ('04)

L, 14-43

Starting QB records:

Marquel Blackwell: 30-12

Chad Barnhardt: 12-9

Pat Julmiste: 12-10

Ronnie Banks: 4-5

Glen Gauntt: 2-1

Brian Fisher: 1-0

Courtney Denson: 0-1

USF players who have won Super Bowl rings:

• LS Ryan Benjamin (Tampa Bay, 2002 season)

• OL Kenyatta Jones (New England, 2001)

• WR Scott McCready (New England, 2001)

USF in overtime games (all decided in two OTs):



W, 45-44

E. Carolina


W, 38-37



W, 24-17



W, 31-28

New Hamp.


W, 42-41


What if Jim Leavitt had decided to remain at Kansas State and didn't accept the USF job on Dec. 12, 1995? Who would have been hired as the Bulls' first coach? We'll never know, but the other finalists were Boston University coach Dan Allen, Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Jack Burns, Bradenton Manatee High coach Joe Kinnan and Nebraska assistant Tony Samuel. Here's an update on them:

Dan Allen: Died May 16, 2004, of complications from multiple chemical sensitivity at the age of 48. In 1996, Allen took over at Holy Cross, where he was 27-62 in eight seasons, including 1-10 his final year in 2002 when his disease forced him to coach from a wheelchair in the press box.

Jack Burns: Was an assistant at five colleges, two NFL teams and the Tampa Bay Bandits before 1995. Afterward, he was an Atlanta Falcons assistant from 1997-2002. He became the Washington Redskins quarterbacks coach in 2004, where he remains today.

Joe Kinnan: One of the nation's top high school coaches, Kinnan returned to Manatee this season after leaving four years ago to battle prostate cancer. Kinnan has led Manatee to four state titles and into the state semifinals nine times, including this season when the Hurricanes lost to Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas on Dec. 2.

Tony Samuel: Hired as New Mexico State's coach in 1997. In eight seasons at NMSU he went 34-57, including 7-5 in 2002 (the program's most wins in 35 years), before getting fired Nov. 24, 2004. Samuel, the defensive ends coach at Purdue in '05, was named coach at Division I-AA Southeast Missouri State on Wednesday.

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Wow, there were some great tidbits in there I'd never heard before.  Thanks for posting.  Very interesting Joe Kinnan was a candidate to be our first head coach.  

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good stuff -thanks

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I remember that article very well.

Some years ago, I tried finding it without success.

Thanks for posting it again.


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Oh the memories, thanks!

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Why do these lists only include Top 25 teams whom are ranked at the end of the year. Some of the Top 25 teams we've faced were only out of the top 25 at the end of the year because of injuries to players but, at the time we played them, they were top notch.

I'm just curious.

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Some of my favorite people from the original USF team-

Leon Matthews was my roommate in Fontana Hall, was a perfect gentleman and loved the guy to death. Great person! 

Bernard Brown (Defensive Back), I've seen in Panther Trace occasionally doing private football training. He's still in INCREDIBLE shape, and he and his wife are truly genuine people. Bernard Brown had that terrible ankle break, when he collided with Demetrious Woods on the sideline during a play. 

Gotta give some love to Andre Waters, our original Secondary Coach. He ended his life several years ago, many blame the concussions he got while playing in the NFL. I shook his hand once and he was a nice person

Ryan Benjamin was the long snapper for the Bucs when they won the Superbowl, had a MASSIVE sideline hit on the punt returner during the game, would love to see that video again! He also got me a football used in the first ever USF game, he was roomates with my friend Pat

Larry Scott - Used to see him eating in Fontana Hall, super proud of him working his way up the coaching ladder to interim coach University of Miami. I've never cheered for UM until he was the coach, that was awesome


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Wait a minute. In the "Sign Language" section of "..... bits of history" did I see the name Terry Lucas?  Is that our Sheriff?

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4 minutes ago, Bourbon Bull said:

Wait a minute. In the "Sign Language" section of "..... bits of history" did I see the name Terry Lucas?  Is that our Sheriff?

I missed that part, but indeed it is The Sheriff

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