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May 9, 2010

2009 season review: USF vs. Syracuse

It's better to give than receive - a saying Syracuse truly took to heart.

Syracuse committed seven deadly turnovers as the visitors from Tampa cruised to a 34-20 win in the Carrier Dome on October 3rd, 2009.

South Florida wasted no time in turning turnovers into points as the Bulls turned four turnovers directly into touchdowns. An efficiency that was so imperative to possess coming off an emotional upset in Tallahassee just a week before as USF refused to succumb to an upset bid.

Up 27-13 in the third quarter, reigning Big East defensive player of the week Jason Pierre-Paul delivered the knockout punch. An attempted screen pass from Orange quarterback Greg Paulus found its way into the arms of the defensive end who proceeded to race 18 yards across the goal line for six points.

"I saw it and I grabbed it," Pierre-Paul told the Associated Press. "I was waiting and I was surprised."

"I didn't see him," added Paulus. "They brought pressure. I thought I could throw it over the pressure. I probably should have thrown the ball away. We'll learn from this. Sometimes, you have to have an experience like this to take a couple of steps forward."

Nate Allen turned in a tremendous individual effort on the defensive side of the ball intercepting two of Paulus' five interceptions and registering eight tackles - seven of which were unassisted.

Kayvon Webster and Jerome Murphy rounded out the other two interceptions the Bulls snared.

Murphy also had a fumble recovery as did Quentin Washington to complete the seven turnovers.

"We needed all of them for us to win that game," said head coach Jim Leavitt.

Mike Ford led South Florida in rushing 68 net yards on 13 carries. Ford found the end zone twice with his legs including a 26-yard score in the first quarter to break the scoreless tie.

B.J. Daniels in his second career start performed rather well. The talented quarterback accounted for 44 yards on the ground while accumulating 208 yards through the air.

Daniels threw two touchdown passes, both of significant distance to Carlton Mitchell from 33 and 85 yards, respectively.

Mitchell led the Bulls in receptions and yards as well with six grabs for 139 yards. That's an average of 23.2 yards per catch.

"You can't imagine how difficult it was for him (Daniels) to come in here today, after the game he had last week with all the pressure, and face a group that defended him well," said Leavitt. "He kept his head about him and finished the game out, and that is pretty impressive."

The Bulls victory moved the team to 5-0 on the season marking the third consecutive year the program got off to such a start, and the fourth time in South Florida's history. USF also got over the .500 mark in Big East openers moving to 3-2 and also stayed perfect in the Carrier Dome and against Syracuse.

South Florida would head into the bye week to prepare for Cincinnati. The Bearcats would come to town for a Thursday night, Big East showdown on a nationally televised broadcast.

Share your favorite memories of this game on The Bullpen or El Toro Loco.


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