September 2009

In college football’s two major polls, the Associated Press and the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, USF didn’t crack the top 25 after beating then-No. 18 FSU 17-7 on Saturday.

USF received 145 votes from the associated press and 117 from the coaches, as FSU fell out of each poll.  With a win against Syracuse on Saturday, there’s a good chance USF will be ranked in both polls, setting up a possible top 25 showdown with Cincinnati the following Thursday.  Cincinnati is the highest ranked team in the Big East, coming in at No. 10 this week in the AP and No. 11 in the coaches’ poll.

Unranked teams receiving more votes than USF in the AP Poll are Missouri, South Carolina, and Auburn.  The only unranked team receiving more votes than USF in the coaches’ poll is Georgia Tech, who already has a loss this year but beat then-No. 22 North Carolina 24-7 on Saturday.

USF did make an appearance as the No. 25 team in ESPN’s new addition of its college football Power Rankings, which are released every Monday.

-Phil Neary


Through the first four games of the 2009 football season, USF’s defense has been close to perfect.  Granted, three of USF’s opponents weren’t exactly offensive juggernauts, but think about this:  USF held a team that scored 54 points on the then-No.7 team in the country to one touchdown, which came in the fourth quarter.

Going back to the start of the Charleston Southern game, USF didn’t allow a point in seven quarters until FSU’s touchdown in the fourth quarter on Saturday.  The 27 points USF has given up during the first four games is a school record for lowest amount of points given in any four-game stretch.

USF also ranks No. 2 nationally in scoring defense, No. 2 in red zone defense, No. 1 in third down defense, No. 5 in pass defense, and No. 11 in total defense.

-Phil Neary

USF defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul was named Big East defensive player of the week after his performance against FSU on Saturday.  Pierre-Paul had a sack, a forced fumble, and three tackles for loss against FSU.

A junior college transfer, Pierre-Paul is tied with George Selvie for the team lead in tackles for loss with 4.5.

Redshirt freshman quarterback B.J. Daniels, who made his first career start, was named to the Big East honor roll after totaling 341 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday.

-Phil Neary

An overtime goal by West Virginia’s Shadow Sebele gave the Mountaineers a 1-0 upset victory Friday night over No. 3 USF in its first Big East road match of the season.

The Bulls (5-1-1) play at Pittsburgh on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Big East Volleyball opens up this week as USF coach Claire Lessinger and the Bulls head north to play their first two league games on the road.  Rutgers (6-7) will host the Bulls on Saturday at 2 p.m., and Seton Hall (6-9) will be the home team for Sunday’s match at 1 p.m.

The Bulls head into the weekend at 7-3 coming off of a 1-1 showing at the Holiday Inn Charleston Riverside Classic in Charleston, South Carolina last weekend. 

Preseason Big East Player of the Year Marcela Gurgel leads USF with 3.66 kills-per-set.  Alli Arbogast has an elbow injury that has kept her sidelined for the last 3 matches.  Kelsey Palmer has taken Arbogast’s spot in the rotation and has contributed just less than 1 block-per-set. 

This will be the first taste of Big East action for transfers Pamela Luiz and Janice Rivera.  Rivera played in the Big South last season for Winthrop University, while Luiz played in the Big 10 for the University of Minnesota.  Luiz is 3rd on the team with 74 kills on the season.  Rivera has stepped into the shoes vacated by last year’s libero Stephanie Augustavo and has accumulated 124 digs and 5 service aces on the season. 

Last season, Gurgel tied for a team-high 11 kills against Rutgers in a straight-sets victory at home in The Corral.  Rutgers last beat the Bulls in October of 2005, a season in which USF went 3-21 overall and only 1-13 in Big East play. 

Last season’s match against Seton Hall was a five-set thriller that the Bulls eventually won.  USF needed the win to stay in contention for a Big East Tournament berth.  Marcela Gurgel outdueled Seton Hall’s Sarah Osmun to claim a match high 25 kills.  Osmun finished with 23.

-Mike Manganello

Key questions and answers:
Are student tickets still available?    Yes, as of 5:00 p.m. Monday, 380 tickets remain available.
How do I buy a ticket?        At  (If you do not yet have a student ticket account, you can create one and buy tickets immediately)
What is the ticket price?    $52 ($49 + $3 service fee)
Can I buy a guest ticket or tickets?  Yes
Can I sit with my friends?  Yes, all seats are reserved, but the Athletic Department will put students together if they pick up their tickets at the same time
When and where can I pick up my tickets?  Tickets should be picked up at the Sun Dome Box Office on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.  The Box Office will be open from 9:00-7:00 p.m. on Tuesday and 9:00-5:00 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday
Game Time:   Saturday, Sept. 26 at noon

Is free transportation available by USF?      Yes.  The offices of Student Government and Dean of Students are providing FREE bus transportation for up to 300 USF students.  Seats are still available but students should register now.  Buses will leave the Sun Dome Parking Lot at 5:00 a.m. and return immediately following the game.  Food, snacks, soft drinks and great DVDs will be available at no cost!  All the details are available at

USF senior quarterback Matt Grothe tore the ACL in his left knee in USF’s route of Charleston Southern Saturday night and is expected to miss the rest of the season, USF announced Sunday.

Grothe, the four-year starter, has started 41 consecutive games for USF.

“Obviously, I am disappointed because you never think this could happen to you,” Grothe said in a statement. “It’s a team game and I am still going to be very involved with my teammates and the coaches.  I am going to do everything I can to help the Bulls continue to win.”

Grothe appeared to be sandwiched between tacklers during a second-quarter rush, causing his knee to plant awkwardly.  Coaches and trainers sprinted out to Grothe when they saw him yell in pain.

“I saw it right away.  It was almost like something told me to sprint out before it happened.  I don’t know what,” Leavitt said.  “It was a tough moment.”

Redshirt freshman B.J. Daniels will assume starting quarterback duties in Grothe’s absence, with freshman Evan Landi to serve as his backup, Leavitt said.

Daniels stepped in for Grothe nicely, rushing for 105 yards and passing for 149 yards on Saturday.

-Phil Neary

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