It was appropriate for seniors to play key roles in USF's 28-27 victory over Rutgers.
Going into the game, only one senior had ever been on a USF team that had beaten the Knights, who had won the last four meetings and the last two by an 80-16 bulge.
That was running back Mo Plancher, who is in his sixth year after getting a medical waiver because of an injury, and he sat out his first year on campus as a redshirt when USF beat Rutgers in 2005.
But on this night, the seniors got some modicum of satisfaction in evening up their Big East record at 2-2 and advancing to 5-3 overall:
--Plancher rushed for a career-high 135 yards.
--Lineman Jacob Sims fell on Plancher's fumble in the end zone for the deciding touchdown in the fourth quarter after Rutgers had stretched its lead to 27-22 on a field goal.
--Linebacker Jacquian Williams came up with a big sack on fourth down on Rutgers' next-to-last possession of the game with the Knights in USF territory.
--Receiver Dontavia Bogan had a touchdown catch.
"I say in order to be a good football team our seniors have to play the best football of their career, and Mo Plancher did that tonight," coach Skip Holtz said afterward. "Jacquian Williams on defense did that tonight.
"There's some upperclassmen that I thought just led the charge tonight, and I'm just really proud of this football team and the way they competed, the way they hung in there."
The victory moved the Bulls to within one win of postseason eligibility for a sixth consecutive year. They also are back on the periphery of the conference race after losing their first two Big East games.
They finish the regular season at home against Connecticut on Dec. 4.
--USF's victory over Rutgers was No. 100 in the program's history. The Bulls reached triple digits in their 14th season of competition.
--Senior RB Mo Plancher had his most productive performance, rushing for a career-high 135 yards on 21 carries. He lost a fumble in the end zone trying to score from 2 yards out, and it was recovered by teammate Jacob Sims for the decisive score in USF's one-point win.
--Sophomore QB B.J. Daniels, who threw the 21st and 22nd touchdown passes of his career, went over the 1,000-yard mark rushing in just his second season, logging 15 yards on eight carries. He now has 1,012 yards on 258 rushes.
GAME BALL GOES TO: LB Jacquian Williams -- The senior recorded a game-high 11 tackles that included 1.5 sacks, one of them a solo effort with Rutgers facing fourth-and-3 at the USF 41-yard line late in the fourth quarter. The play kept the Knights out of field goal range and set up the Bulls to run more than three minutes off the clock before punting, leaving the Knights with only 36 seconds left at their own 14-yard line.
KEEP AN EYE ON: PK Maikon Bonani -- Bonani has solidified his position as USF's No. 1 kicker since taking over for Eric Schwartz. Bonani, who sat out last year after being injury in a fall the summer before, hit from 47 and 21 yards against Rutgers. He is now 5 of 5 on the season.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was nice. It was pretty satisfying. I have been here since '06, and we have always lost. It was pretty satisfying, and the game winner was the icing on the cake." -- RT Jacob Sims, whose fumble recovery for a touchdown helped the Bulls snap a four-game losing streak to Rutgers.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
LOOKING GOOD: The Bulls rushed for 157 yards with RB Moise Plancher getting 135 by himself. They were equally strong on defense against the run, holding Rutgers to less than half their own total (78 for the game). LB Jacquian Williams had 11 tackles, among them 2.5 for losses. He had one solo sack and assisted LB DeDe Lattimore on another. RB Mo Plancher led all receivers with three catches. His 45 yards receiving were second to the 53 of TE Andreas Shields on his two receptions.
STILL NEEDS WORK: P Justin Brockhaus put half of his six punts inside the Rutgers 20-yard line, but he averaged only 33.2 yards per punt. He got off only a 32-yarder that Rutgers returned 60 yards for a touchdown, then put USF in jeopardy with a 29-yarder in the fourth quarter, setting up the Knights on USF's side of the 50-yard line. QB B.J. Daniels had an interception in his own territory that led to a Rutgers field goal.
--LT Jamar Bass, who missed most of the win over Rutgers with an ankle injury, is expected to be ready for USF's game against at Louisville on Nov. 13.
--RBs Mo Plancher and Demetris Murray were slowed by knee injuries against Rutgers, but several news reports stated that both are expected to be ready for Louisville.
--Freshman PR Terrence Mitchell ran a punt back 47 yards to the Rutgers 20-yard line to set up USF's first touchdown. He lost 10 yards on his other return.