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USF's Plancher runs with opportunity


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http://myespn.go.com/blogs/bigeast/0-1-64/USF-s-Plancher-runs-with-opportunity.html

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

South Florida running back Moise Plancher thought he had experienced some bad luck in his football career. Then he found out what true suffering was like.

Plancher's cousin, Ereck Plancher, collapsed and died during an offseason workout with the Central Florida football team on March 18. In the wake of the tragedy, Moise got a new outlook on life.

"You hear people say live every day like it's your last, and that really opened my eyes to that," he said "I try to be at my best every day, because you never know when it's your last breath."

That carpe diem approach has also helped him in football. After several earlier setbacks, Plancher has been given an opportunity with the Bulls and so far has made the most of it.

The junior leads the team with 115 yards rushing and three scores through two games for No. 19 South Florida (2-0), which plays host to No. 13 Kansas (2-0) on Friday night at Raymond James Stadium.

This is where Plancher envisioned himself in 2006, when he earned the starting job as a redshirt freshman. He ran 26 yards on four carries on the team's opening drive -- and then tore his ACL.

He tried coming back in 2007 but admits that his knee wasn't fully recovered. An ankle injury late in fall camp didn't help either, and he got only 10 carries all season.

"It was tough, but I kept telling myself that good things will come if I persevere," he said.

Fellow running back Jamar Taylor joked with Plancher before this year's opener that he had never gotten into the end zone. Plancher ended that gag by going for 65 yards and two scores against Tennessee-Martin.

"That was a relief," he said.

The Bulls' backfield looked crowded, but week 1 starter Ben Williams and last year's leading tailback Mike Ford each hurt their ankles in the Tennessee-Martin game. Plancher got the start for the second game, which was held, of all places, at Central Florida.

Starting with Friday's walk-through at Bright House Networks Field, Ereck was never far from his cousin's mind last weekend.

"It really hit home for me during the walk through, and I was thinking about him the whole day," he said. "I tried not to think about it, but I couldn't control it. Just being out on that field and representing the Plancher name for him, though, it felt great."

Plancher had 50 yards on nine attempts and scored another touchdown as the Bulls won 31-24. South Florida coach Jim Leavitt said on Monday that he was still unsure about the status of Williams and Ford, meaning Plancher could be the main back again against Kansas.

Teammates couldn't be happier to see Plancher succeed.

"He was so excited coming into (2006) and then he got his chance taken away," said quarterback Matt Grothe, who was Plancher's roommate freshman year. "Mo's a pretty positive guy, but there were times you could tell it bothered him. I know he's happy he pushed through it all now, and he's a big help to our offense."

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