Cinderella Delivers: USF Drops West Virginia
After USF's 21-13 upset victory over West Virginia, Bulls fans swarmed the field at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium.
The bare-chested, goalpost-tipping faithful had plenty to celebrate.
The game's first half proved to be an emotional roller-coaster ride, with frequent turnovers (10) and a number of big plays.
The Bulls defense took charge from the beginning, holding the WVU offense to three-and-outs on its first two possessions. Overall, USF's physical play proved too much for the Mountaineers, as Steve Slaton and Noel Devine were held to only 90 yards on the night.
The Mountaineers have been averaging 357 yards on the ground per contest. On Friday, they managed only 188.
Many of WVU's rushing efforts were cut short by fierce open-field tackles. Ben Moffitt was particularly stellar, leading the Bulls defense with nine tackles (one for loss), two interceptions, and a defensive TD.
The upset—which I predicted—is nothing new for the Bulls. USF surprised Louisville two years ago, and knocked off West Virginia last November 24-19.
Earlier this season, the Bulls stunned Auburn with a 26-23 overtime victory at Jordan-Hare.
But while this may not have been the Bulls' first prime-time upset, it was certainly their biggest—and is sure to generate even more hype around the young program.
The victory before a record crowd of 67,018 will no doubt tattoo USF on the minds of many AP voters. The Bulls are this season's Cinderella story. Head coach Jim Leavitt built the program from scratch—starting with a trailer and a muddy practice field.
As it stands, USF is on track to win the Big East title if they beat Rutgers on the road. After just 11 seasons of existence, the Bulls may go undefeated
Coach Leavitt, for one, isn't getting ahead of himself, telling the press he recognizes the obstacles still facing his team.
As far as he's come, I suppose you have to trust the man's perspective.
(AP Photos/Chris O'Meara)
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