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(Saturday, September 20th)
Final Score: (12) South Florida 17, Florida International 9
Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Mike Ford rushed for 24 yards on 14 carries and scored twice, as No. 12 South Florida held on for a 17-9 victory over Florida International.
Matt Grothe connected on 14-of-22 passes for 137 yards for the Bulls (4-0) and also ran for 48 yards on 11 carries. Jamar Taylor gained 54 yards on 12 touches. A.J. Love had three grabs for 56 yards in the win.
Wayne Younger hit on just 3-of-8 passes for 71 yards for the Golden Panthers (0-3). Julian Reams had 12 carries for 31 yards and scored once. T.Y. Hilton had one catch, but made it count as it went for 61 yards.
Bulls linebacker Brouce Mompremier hurt his neck in the third quarter trying to make a tackle and was airlifted to a local Miami hospital. He apparently collided with teammate Carlton Williams, and the game was stopped for 20 minutes as Mompremier, a senior starter for the Bulls, lay motionless on the field.
Doctors believe the injury to be spinal cord-related, but the severity was not immediately clear. Before he was airlifted off the field, it appeared as though he was moving his arms slowly. Williams limped off the field with a leg injury a few minutes after the play.
The Golden Panthers blew an opportunity to get on the scoreboard with about 6 1/2 minutes left in the fourth as Dustin Rivest botched a 40-yard field goal. However, Ford was tackled for a safety at the 2:20 mark to make it a 17-2 game.
FIU showed signs of life on their next drive, as on the first play Younger found Hilton for a 61-yard pass that gave the Golden Panthers a new set of downs on South Florida's two-yard line. Three plays later, Reams ran in a TD with under a minute showing on the clock to make it 17-9.
The ensuing onsides kick bounced around on the ground, but USF recovered and was able to run out the clock.
After a Taylor fumble on South Florida's 35-yard line during the Bulls' first drive resulted in a loss of downs, the Bulls held the Golden Panthers to a three-and-out on their next drive.
After the stop, the Bulls got the ball at their own one-yard line and drove the length of the field to assume a 7-0 lead. The trek was capped by a Ford two-yard touchdown run with 6:25 left in the first.
Florida International then again went three-and-out, which led to a 20-yard field goal from Maikon Bonani that gave the Bulls a 10-0 advantage with 14:19 to go before the intermission.
The next three possessions all resulted in punts before South Florida had a 21-yard field goal attempt blocked with one second left, which sent the Bulls into the break with a 10-0 lead.
The defenses did their part and neither school was able to put points on the board in the third stanza.
The Bulls increased their lead to 17-0 as Ford ran a one-yard score in to put the finishing touches on an eight-play, 53-yard drive that culminated with about 13 minutes left in the game.
FIU was playing its first game in the brand new FIU stadium. The Golden Panthers have dropped 26 of their last 27 games...Saturday's tilt was just the second meeting ever between FIU and USF on the gridiron, with the Bulls capturing a 21-20 win in the prior encounter during the 2006 season.
09/20 21:24:46 ET