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Football Preview: USF at Auburn

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Football Preview: USF at Auburn

Courtesy: USF

(Visit the GoUSFBulls site for links to videos.)


George Selvie

Courtesy: USF

Setting The Scene

Date: Saturday, Sept. 8, 2007

Location: Auburn, Ala.

Kickoff: 8 p.m. Central (Auburn) / 9 p.m. Eastern (Tampa)


Radio: WFLA 970 AM (Tampa)

Stadium: Jordan Hare-Stadium

Stadium Capacity, Surface: 87,451, Natural

Tickets:  (800) 282-1957 / (334) 844-4040

The Game

The University of South Florida football team (1-0) will take its first road trip of 2007 when it faces No. 17/13 Auburn (1-0) on Saturday, Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. Central. The Bulls are coming off a 28-13 win over Elon, while the Tigers came from behind to defeat Kansas State 23-13 in the opening week of the 2007 college football season.

The Series

USF and Auburn have never played.  USF has lost four all-time meetings against SEC foes.

The Broadcasts

The USF and Auburn game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2 with Dan Fouts (play-by), Tim Brant (color) and Todd Harris (sideline).  ESPN Radio is also covering the game with Dave O’Brien (PBP), Rod Gilmore (color) and Joe Schad (sideline).  USF’s radio broadcast  with Jim Louk, Mark Robinson & Mike Pepper can be heard on WFLA 970 AM, WFLL 1400 AM, WORL 660 AM, WTSU 1590 AM and WPSL 1590.

The Coaches

USF: Jim Leavitt (Missouri ‘78) has a career record of 71-43 as he enters his 11th season at USF.  He has coached every game in the program’s history.  He is 7-4 in season openers, 52-29 in night games,  40-37 on television, 0-4 against the SEC, 50-13 at home, 11-0 in home openers, 19-29 on the road, 2-1 at neutral sites, 10-6 against non-conference opponents since having a conference affiliation (2003), 61-29 vs. non-conference all-time and 3-9 vs. ranked teams.

Auburn:  Tommy Tuberville (Southern Arkansas, ‘76) has a career record of 97-69 and is 72-29 at Auburn. He is in the midst of his ninth season at Auburn after a three year stint at Ole Miss.

The Program

The USF program has an all-time record of 44-26 at the NCAA FBS level. The wining percentage of 62.9 is good enough to rank USF No. 29 among FBS schools.  The Bulls received votes in the preseason AP and Coaches polls for the first time this season. USF also garnered a No. 21 preseason ranking by the Sporting News and a No. 25 slot by Sports Illustrated.

Player To Watch

Sophomore DE George Selvie powered the USF defense, which only allowed 259 total yards in their season opening defeat of Elon.  Selvie did his damage in the back field with six tackles for loss and four sacks.  On his own, he set the Phoenix back 25 yards.  He also forced a fumble and recorded10 tackles.  His TFL total is new USF record, while his sack total ties a USF record.  He has twice as many sacks as any other FBS player.

Recapping Elon

Individual performances highlighted the Bulls 28-13 win over Elon on Saturday, Sept. 1 ... USF is 11-0 in home openers and 7-4 in season openers ... The win was the 50th home victory in USF history ... All of those wins have come under Jim Leavitt during the 11 years of USF football ... True freshman Mike Ford had one of the most memorable rookie debuts in 11 years of USF football ... Ford scored three TD, two rushing and one receiving, and also had an electrifying 48-yard before his final score ... His scores came from one yard (receiving), 22 yards (rushing) and one yard (rushing) ...  The Sarasota native only ran the ball six times and posted 83 yards, an average of 13.8 per carry ... Matt Grothe was solid going 23-for-39 for 238 yards and two TDs ... His 39 pass attempts are a career high ... Amarri Jackson reeled in the fourth TD of the game, on a 24-yard connection with Grothe ... Starting center Nick Capogna injured his knee early and did not play in the second half ... Starting right tackle Walter Walker was limited due to hyrdation issues ...  Sophomore DE George Selvie broke his own USF record with six tackles for loss ... The previous mark of five had been accomplished four times, including Selvie’s five against FIU on Sept. 9, 2006 ... Selvie also tied the USF record for sacks in a game with four ... He shares that mark with Shurron Pierson, who accomplished the feat against Southern Miss in 2002 ... All-America candidate Mike Jenkins collected two pass breakups ... USF had six total sacks, with Richard Clebert and Aaron Harris adding to Selvie’s total of four ... FS Nate Allen reeled in his first career interception in first career start ...  Clebert blocked a 50-yard field goal by Elon ...  WR Taurus Johnson led the team with six receptions for 59 yards ... Redshirt-freshman Carlton Mitchell had four receptions for 32 yards in his first collegiate action ... Senior WR Courtney Denson had two catches, which is one more than he had in his career prior to the game ... K Delbert Alvarado was perfect 4-4 on PATs ... He did not attempt any field goals.

Ticket Update

USF has sold 19,416 season tickets this season and will continue selling through the UNC game ... The turnstile number on Saturday was larger than the turnstile crowd for any USF game last season ... Fans are also encouraged to print  single tickets out on Ticketmaster.com in order to avoid longer than expected lines at will call ... Otherwise fans are encourage to arrive at will call at least 45 minutes prior to kickoff.

Auburn Ties

USF senior WR Courtney Denson, who had two receptions agaisnt Elon, began his collegiate career at Auburn as a quarterback ... Denson also played at DB during his time with the Tigers ... Auburn has 18 players on its roster from the state of Florida ... Senior WR Prechae Rodriguez is from Tampa and attended Jeffersono HS ... USF WR receiver Jason Sherman and Auburn WR Alex Rose both attended Jacksonville’s First Coast HS ... Auburn freshman Craig Stevens and junior Pat Sims both attended the same Tallahassee HS - Lincoln - as Ryan Gilliam ... Bull freshman LB Sabbath Joseph and Auburn freshman DL Bryant Miller both attended Miami Central HS.

Grothe Looks For Another Big Year

Matt Grothe made quite a name for himself last year en route to BIG EAST Conference Freshman of the Year honors and looks for bigger and better things this season ... He began the 2007 season with 239 yards, two TDs and no picks against Elon ... The gun slinger attempted 39 passes, a career high, and completed 23 ... The Lakeland native threw for 2,576 yards on 202-317 passing while connecting on 15 touchdowns ... He also ran for 622 yards on 178 carries and rumbled for nine TD’s ... For his efforts last year Grothe has been named to the Manning and Maxwell Award watch lists.

By George

Sophomore DE George Selvie began the 2007 season with a record breaking evening against Elon ... Selvie broke his own single game record for tackles for loss with six against the Phoenix ... Below is the new single game record chart for TFL:

1. George Selvie -  6 vs.  Elon, 9/1/07

2. George Selvie - 5 vs. Florida International, 9/9/06

Kawika Mitchell - 5 at Oklahoma, 9/28/02

Tim Jones - 5 at Army, 9/27/03

Craig Kobel - 5 vs. Pittsburgh, 12/4/04

Selvie also tied the USF single game record for sacks with four against Elon ... Below is who he shares the honor with :

1. George Selvie - 4 vs. Elon, 9/1/07

Shurron Pierson - 4 vs. Southern Miss, 10/12/02

Selvie’s four sacks is twice as many as any other FBS player ... The USF single season record for sacks is 10 by Terrence Royal (2005) and Shurron Pierson (2001) ... The career record for sacks is 20 by Stephen Nicholas ... Selvie is just outside the top 10 with 9.5 career sacks ... Selvie had 5.5 sacks as a freshman last season ... He was named a freshman All-American by The Sporting News.

Moffitt Anchors Defense

Ben Moffitt is the lone returnee out of USF’s stellar trio of linebackers from last season ... He began the 2007 campaign with 10 tackles, eight assisted, one tackle for loss and one pass breakup ... During the 2006 campaign, Moffitt teamed up with Stephen Nicholas – now with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons – and Patrick St. Louis, who is one of the Bulls’ strength and conditioning coaches ... Last year Moffitt led the team in tackles with 112 and was third in tackles for a loss with 11 including four sacks ... During the summer Moffitt was named to the Bronko Nagurski Award and Butkus watch lists.

Built Ford Tough

Sarasota native and Florida high school football legend Mike Ford made the most of his first collegiate action in the season opener against Elon ... The true-freshman scored three TDs, two rushing and one receiving ... He had runs of 21 and 48 yards, which accounted for the large chunk of his 83 yards on six carries ... His receiving TD came from one yard out ... His rushing TDs were from 21 yards and 1 yard...  ESPN college basketball commentator **** Vitale, who lives in Sarasota, put himself among the Ford backers after watching him in person in high school and hearing about his production in the opener.

DB Tandem Among Best in Nation

One of the potential strengths of this years USF football team is the return of defensive backs Trae Williams and Mike Jenkins ... One of the most experienced DB combos in college football, the two combined for 60 career starts over their careers ... Both posted impressive numbers in the season opener ... Williams had five tackles, one for a loss and a pass breakup ... While Mike Jenkins had four pass breakups, to tie a career high ... Last season the two also teamed up for eight interceptions, seven of which belonged to Williams, tying a single season school record (with J.R. Reed) ... His seven picks also led the BIG EAST ... The duo has been sited as the best in the BIG EAST and the state of Florida by several outlets, including ESPN.com expert Mark Sclabach.

September Numbers

USF owns a 23-17 record in the month of September ... The Bulls have won three games in each of the last two opening months .... In 2005 USF went 3-1 with the lone loss coming to Penn State in the opener ... In 2006, the Bulls were 3-2 with wins in the first three games before narrow losses to Kansas and Rutgers ... USF has never won more than three games in September.

Starting Notes

Senior center Nick Capogna will likely have his consecutive start streak of 14 snapped on Saturday ... He is expected to be sidelined with a knee injury ... Jack Griffin will slide over to center, while Ryan Schmidt will move up the depth chart and probably start at left guard ... Ben Busbee earned his first career start against Elon, as did right guard Zach Hermann ... On defense Brouce Mompremier and Nate Allen started for the first time in their careers.

Tolley Back With Team

After saying in camp that he was going to call it career, sophomore OT Danny Tolley has decided to return to the team.  Tolley has battled a severe groin injury and a great deal of pain that accompanied the injury.  Tolley played in 11 games in 2006. On the subject, Coach Leavitt has said, “He is showing great courage.â€Â

Where They At?

Two familiar faces will not be on the field for USF in the near future.  Junior OL Matt Huners suffered an ACL tear during spring practice and will be out for a large chunk of the season.  It is possible that Huners will return this season.  Huners started 10 of 11 games at guard last season.

Sophomore WR Colby Erskin, who impressed by running the 40 yard dash in under 4.4 seconds, will likely be out for the entire 2007 season.  Erskin torn an ACL during preseason camp. Erskin worked as a running back last season, collecting nine yards on six carries.  He also had five catches for 73 yards.  Erskin was making noise at the receiving position and would have challenge for playing time this fall.

Time to Stand Out

For redshirt-freshman Carlton Mitchell, it is time to make his own name in a circle of family and friends that is full of standouts.

Mitchell’s mother, Angela, is the cut “man†for professional boxer Antonio Tarver.  The cut man position is a male dominated occupation and Angela is considered a pioneer in the sport of boxing.

Tarver and Carlton have been close friends since the Bull wide receiver was 12. He is also close friends with Tarver’s son, Antonio Jr..  Antonio Jr. is  a freshman point guard at Daytona Beach Community College.

Carlton’s father, Carl, is 6 feet 8 and played pro basketball in Europe for 12 years.  His half-brother, Carl Jr., is 6-10 and playing professionally in the Domincan Replublic.

In his first collegiate game, Mitchell had four catches for 32 yards against Elon.

Our Turn

There are five true freshmen listed as the top backups on the two-deep roster for Elon.  OL Sampson Genus, OL Jeremiah Warren, RB Mike Ford, WR Dontavia Bogan and LS Mike Walsh.

Among redshirt freshman OG Zach Hermann is in line to receive the first start of his career against Elon.  Other redshirt rookies WR Carlton Mitchell, WR Ednir Alcin, DE Brandon Pequese, DE Joshua Smiley and LB Sabbath Joseph are listed at the second spot at their respective positions.

Nicked Up

Senior C Nick Capogna suffered a knee injury early in the game wth Elon.  The injury will have him sidelined through at least the Auburn game this weekend and possibly for a few more weeks.  Schmidt had started 14 consecutive times and will likely hand the duties off to Jake Griffin.

Denson Closes the Books

WR Courtney Denson has already earned a BA in communications from USF.  What makes his graduation even more impressive is that he transferred from Auburn, but didn’t allow the change of scenery to slow his academic pursuits.

USF Honors Dorsey & Camon

The 2007 USF Bulls have two stickers, bearing the initials “JC†and “KD,†for former Bulls defensive back Javan Camon, who died after a collision in an indoor football game in February, and Keeley Dorsey, the freshman running back who collapsed and died during a team conditioning workout in January.

USF also observed a moment of silence in honor of Dorsey, Camon and late Sun Dolls coach Caroline Wiren, who died in May due to complications from labor, prior to the Elon game.

Is that The Wing Tee?

USF unveiled a new formation in its win over Elon that reminds many of the famed Wing Tee.  The Bulls lined up three running backs and stocked the line with two tight ends.  Senior RB Ben Williams was flanked by Jamar Taylor and Mike Ford in the setup.  USF used the formation twice against the Phoenix.

USF's Auburn Game notes

Auburn University's Game notes

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