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Seattle P.I.: Bulls put first-ever ranking on the line against Tar Heels


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Yea, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer... but looks like a wire report.

Bulls put first-ever ranking on the line against Tar Heels

Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - In the Top-25 for the first time in school history, the 23rd-ranked South Florida Bulls return to Tampa to host the North Carolina Tar Heels in non-conference play this Saturday.

After opening the season with a less than stellar 28-13 triumph over Football Championship Subdivision member Elon, the Bulls traveled to Alabama, where they stunned then nationally-ranked Auburn, 26-23, in overtime on September 8th. It was clearly one of the biggest wins in program history, as USF slipped into the Top 25 for the first time ever because of it. The Bulls, who became a full-time member of the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2001, are the second fastest school to make an appearance in the Top 25 following their move to this level.

As for UNC, it opened the ACC portion of its schedule last weekend, dropping a narrow 22-20 decision to Virginia. It was the second straight loss by the Tar Heels, who opened the season with a 37-14 triumph over FCS member James Madison. Following this game, UNC will wrap up its brief two-game road swing with a date against nationally-ranked Virginia Tech on September 29th.

The Tar Heels and Bulls met for the first time ever on the gridiron last season, with the Bulls posting a 37-20 triumph.

T.J. Yates threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Richard Quinn with just under two minutes left to play in the game, but the Tar Heels were unable to convert the ensuing game-tying two-point conversion attempt, as they fell to Virginia this past weekend. Despite the loss, UNC racked up a solid 399 yards of total offense, although they were set back by three turnovers. Yates finished the game with 339 yards and three touchdowns on 25-of-38 pass attempts. It was another strong performance by Yates, who has completed 65.9 percent of his tosses for 901 yards and nine scores this season. Brooks Foster pulled down seven balls for 139 yards in the losing cause last weekend, while Hakeem Nicks hauled in the same amount of passes for 113 yards and two scores. The duo have really benefited from Yates' early success, as they have combined for 28 catches, 466 receiving yards and five touchdowns thus far. While the passing attack has done a great job averaging 303.3 ypg this season, the Tar Heels' run game has been anything but effective, gaining just 79.7 ypg. Last weekend, UNC was limited to 60 yards on the ground and that could help explain why the offense spent only 20 minutes of the game on the field.

The Tar Heels' defense has been about average thus far, yielding 23.3 ppg and 356.7 total ypg through three contests. The unit could benefit from a few more turnovers (three) and sacks (six), although the defense showed improvement in one of those areas last weekend with four sacks against Virginia. The defense however, failed to record a turnover last weekend and it also allowed 350 total yards to Virginia. UNC surrendered 197 of those yards on the ground and that was a big reason why the defense spent nearly 40 minutes of the game on the field. Durell Mapp paced the defense with 12 stops and a sack, while Hilee Taylor posted seven tops, a forced fumble and three sacks in the losing cause. Mapp currently leads the team in tackles (39) and Taylor is tops on the club in sacks (3.5) and TFLs (5.5) thus far.

Following a field goal by Auburn on its possession in overtime, Matt Grothe threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Jessie Hester, as the Bulls pulled off the upset. USF racked up 319 total yards in the game and most importantly didn't commit a single turnover. If not for four missed field goals, the Bulls could have easily won the game in regulation. Still, it was a solid effort by USF, which racked up 373 total yards of offense in a season-opening win over Elon. Grothe led the charge against Auburn, as he threw for 184 yards and a score, while rushing for 31 yard and another touchdown. The versatile quarterback threw for 238 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the team's opener and he is a big reason for the program's appearance in the Top 25. Hester finished last game with six catches for 64 yards, while Mike Ford paced the ground attack with 74 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. In the team's opener, Ford went for 83 yards and two scores on just six totes.

Defensively, the Bulls were outstanding in their last game, as they held Auburn to just 290 total yards, including only 165 through the air. If that weren't enough, USF also recorded five turnovers and two sacks in the win. The Bulls, who held Elon to just 259 total yards and registered six sacks, allowed Auburn to convert just 2-of-13 third down chances. Nate Allen turned in an all around effort in the win, as he posted seven tackles to go along with a forced and recovered fumble and an interception. George Selvie continued his hot start with 3.5 TFLs and 1.5 sacks, giving him an impressive 9.5 TFLs and 5.5 sacks through the first two games.

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...second fastest school to make an appearance in the Top 25 following their move to this level.

Isn't it true that we were the fastest team to ever be ranked top 25 after going into division 1 football?

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...second fastest school to make an appearance in the Top 25 following their move to this level.

Isn't it true that we were the fastest team to ever be ranked top 25 after going into division 1 football?

No. Boise State was 10 weeks / polls faster.

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