USF pulls away from Cincinnati for third straight Big East win

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Surprising South Florida likes being
perceived as a team that nobody wants in the BCS.

"We feed off that," reserve cornerback D'Juan Brown said
Saturday after returning an interception for a touchdown to help
the Bulls beat Cincinnati 31-16 for their third straight Big East

"I kind of like coming in as an underdog and just getting it
done. ... There's no stopping us right now."

Big East rushing leader Andre Hall went over 1,000 yards for the
season and scored his 15th touchdown, and USF (6-3, 4-1) forced two
third-quarter turnovers to transform a close game into a rout.

In addition to becoming bowl eligible with its sixth victory,
USF stayed on course for a possible showdown with No. 13 West
Virginia for the Big East's automatic spot in the lucrative Bowl
Championship Series.

If the Bulls win at Connecticut next Saturday and defeat West
Virginia at home on Dec. 3, USF would be assured of at least a tie
for the conference title and represent the league in the BCS.

"That'll mess up the nation for a little bit," Hall said.
"That's what I want to do."

Brown returned his interception 26 yards for a TD that made it
17-7 midway through the third quarter. Four minutes later,
Cincinnati quarterback Dustin Grutza fumbled at his own 22 to leave
the Bulls in position to take a commanding lead.

Receiver Amarri Jackson, the star of the 45-14 upset of
Louisville that opened BCS possibilities for the Bulls in
September, scored on the next play after mishandling a handoff on a

Jackson picked up the ball on the bounce and headed around right
end before cutting back to the left and weaving his way through the
Cincinnati defense for his third rushing TD of the season.

The 6-foot-5 sophomore ran for two touchdowns and threw for a
third in USF's defeat of then-No. 9 Louisville.

A week after rushing for 222 yards and three TDs in a 27-0
shutout at Syracuse, Hall ran for 100 on 29 carries against
Cincinnati (4-6, 2-4), which angered the running back last season
by continuing to throw the ball late in a lopsided victory over the

Hall expressed his dislike for the Bearcats in pre-game
interviews and said he'd liked to run up the score if USF got a
chance Saturday.

It didn't happen.

Pat Julmiste put USF up 31-7 with a 1-yard touchdown run early
in the fourth quarter. The Bulls kept moving the ball, but couldn't
get into the end zone again.

Grutza completed 19 of 30 passes for 241 yards for Cincinnati,
including TD throws of 25 yards to Dominick Goodman and 6 yards to
Butler Benton. The Bearcats outgained the Bulls 366 yards to 345.

"USF's a good football team. We were hanging with them,"
Cincinnati coach Mark Dantonio said. "We just have to find a way
to get over the hump."

USF coach Jim Leavitt tried to play down the significance of
being bowl eligible in the Bulls' first season in the Big East.

"If we're bowl eligible, it doesn't mean we're going to a bowl
game. We've got six wins," Leavitt said.

"We've been bowl eligible in this program. This is about our
third time. When we were an independent we were bowl eligible, so
it's nothing new for us. But that's not where our drive is."


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