Bulls Get Blanked 31-0 by Rutgers

In front of a national television audience Rutgers routed No. 23 South Florida 31-0 Thursday at Rutgers Stadium. The Scarlet Knights defense held the Bulls to seven first downs and 159 yards of offense while forcing quarterback B.J. Daniels to commit three turnovers. Rutgers QB Tom Savage threw 2 TDs and running back Joe Martinek rushed for 128 yards in the loss.

With a No. 23 ranking the USF Bulls went into Rutgers looking for revenge and instead got skunked to the tune of 31-0 in front of a nationally televised audience. The only other time the Bulls were shut out in its 13-year history was losing 14-0 in the Meineke Bowl in 2005 against N.C. State.

Rutgers forced four turnovers, blocked a punt and recorded seven sacks in the rout. While Tom Savage threw for two touchdowns of 25 yards to Mohamed Sanu and 26 yards to Tim Brown. Joe Martinek ran for 128 yards, including a 37-yard score, and San San Te kicked field goals of 36, 26 and 49 yards.

"We got dominated. Our offense got dominated by their defense," said Coach Jim Leavitt. "You have to give Rutgers a lot of credit, they just beat the dog out of us."

Things went bad early for the Bulls. Cornerback Jerome Murphy was penalized for hitting WR Tim Brown out of bounds on the second play from scrimmage, as Rutgers went 80 yards on the first drive, finishing with a touchdown catch by Sanu, after breaking a tackle by Kayvon Webster at the 15 yard line.

"They got down in there and scored and got seven points early," said Leavitt. "After that, our defense played extraordinary."

The first half got worse for the USF as B.J. Daniels threw two interceptions and lost a fumble, PR Faron Hornes muffed a punt, and Rutgers' Devin McCourty blocked a Delbert Alvarado punt. Even with a horrible first half full of turnovers, the defense played solid and the Bull only trailed 13-0 as Rutgers was only able to parlay the gaffs into two field goals off the turnovers, and San San Te missed a 51-yard attempt and holder Teddy Dellaganna muffed the snap on another attempt.

"I was shocked with as many mistakes as we made in the first half. For us, to be in the ballgame," said Leavitt "Our kicking game- you can't get a punt blocked. There is no excuse for that. And offensively, we didn't do a thing."

The second half was equally as painful as the Bulls offense could do nothing in the run game or through the air, finishing the game with just seven first downs and 159 yards in total offense, including 30 yards rushing. QB B.J. Daniels who was sacked 6-times finished 7 of 17 for 129 yards, and was held to 11 yards on 16 carries.

"B.J. has done pretty good overall but tonight was not the night" said Leavitt.

In the second half as the Bulls offense struggled, Rutgers QB Tom Savage hit Brown on a touchdown pass in the third quarter, in the fourth Martinek scored on a 37-yard run, and Te kicked a 49-yard field goal early in quarter.

Senior USF linebacker Wilson Kion Wilson led the Bulls with a career high 18 tackles, and Junior DE Jason Pierre-Paul had two sacks, and 3-tackle for losses.

"I thought our defense played with emotion and passion and played all the way through the game," said Leavitt. "Overall our defense did some good things."

The loss puts USF's all-time record against Rutgers at 2-4 and 1-2 when playing at Rutgers Stadium, and drops USF's record to 6-3 overall and 2-3 in the BIG EAST. The Bulls face Louisville at home next Saturday

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