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USF to get taste of SEC football


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OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS

USF to get taste of SEC football

Collin Mickle  / Staff Writer    cmickle@oanow.com

September 6, 2007

South Florida is an up-and-coming football program beginning to make noise in a powerhouse conference. The Bulls are no pushover.

But it’s safe to say USF will be seeing a different side of major-conference football Saturday in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Though tickets are still available for Saturday night’s game, which begins at 8 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN2, attendance will be close to 87,000.

USF averaged 30,222 fans at home last season, though the Bulls play in 65,700-seat Raymond James Stadium. Last week’s season opener against Elon drew 33,639.

At least one Bull knows what to expect this week.

Senior wide receiver Courtney Denson spent the 2003 season at Auburn before transferring in August of 2004. He’s been telling his teammates all about the energy and emotion of playing in Jordan-Hare.

"You run out the tunnel at Auburn and see all those people," Denson told the Tampa (Fla.) Tribune. "It’s college football right here."

Denson, a high school quarterback from Miami, was recruited to AU as an athlete, practiced at quarterback in 2003 before moving to defensive back in the spring. He was unhappy on defense and transferred to South Florida, where he practiced briefly at quarterback, before moving to defensive back and then to wide receiver.

Denson still keeps in touch with several of his AU teammates, including defensive back Patrick Lee.

"I was kind of sad that he left," Lee said. "He was my roommate for two years. He wanted to play quarterback. Then he went down there and changed positions twice."

Denson caught two passes for 35 yards in last week’s season-opener. He told the Tribune he’s looking forward to playing in Jordan-Hare in front of the Auburn fans.

"Their fans love football, but USF fans are much better," he said. "They’re way more crazy."

Auburn’s players believe they have a home-field advantage. But they’re not relying on the noise and atmosphere of Jordan-Hare to win the game for them.

"They’re going to come in here and see all that, and I think they’re going to get a little jealous," backup tailback Mario Fannin said. "But they’re going to come in here ready to win, and we’re going to have to play harder to win."

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No smack talk...just respect from players on both sides.  I kind of like it.  It will probably only last about 5 seconds until some drunken idiot proclaims "THIS IS WHAT SEC FOOTBALL IS ALL ABOUT" or one of our fans does his best to mimick our homefield chant whenver a ref blows a call.

Still, it's nice to have sportsmanship from the players at least :).

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