Trojans falter at South Florida

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 1, 2000

Sports Editor

TAMPA – If it wasn’t for quarterback Marquel Blackwell, Troy State might have actually found a way to win against South Florida on Saturday night.

Instead, the Trojans lost to the Bulls 20-10 and most likely lost their No. 1 Division 1-AA ranking as well.

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Blackwell redeemed himself against the Trojans, a team which beat the Bulls 41-24 last season in Troy. In that game, the South Florida sophomore threw two interceptions , both to TSU linebacker Jimmy McClain and both were returned for touchdowns.

This time, however, Blackwell was near flawless, both running and passing with the football. Blackwell threw for 273 yards and rushed for over 100 against the Trojans.

"He (Blackwell) just hurt us in so many ways tonight," said TSU head coach Larry Blakeney. "He’s a combination of quarterback and running back. You can get in there and put some punishment on him and then he’ll come back and deal out even more misery. He certainly puts pressure on a defense."

Blackwell’s only touchdown pass came in the first quarter as he pump-faked the ball to his left and then threw 22 yards to the right side of the endzone where it was hauled in by Scott McCready.

Up 10-7 at the start of the second half, Blackwell found Charlie Jackson for a 44 yard gain to move the ball deep inside Trojan territory. Senior running back Otis Dixon took it in from two-yards out to give South Florida a 14-10 lead.

And while Troy State was able to answer the Bulls first touchdown, with tailback Demontray Carter’s 46-yard touchdown run, they couldn’t answer Dixon’s score.

USF’s placekicker Bill Gramatica added field goals of 37 and 42 yards in the second half.

"We knew we had to play an almost perfect football game coming in," said Blakeney. "For the most part, I thought our defense played a pretty good game. Offensively, we just didn’t give them any help. We didn’t play up to our capabilities."

After Carter’s tying touchdown run in the first quarter, it appeared the Bulls’ offense were on their way for another score. But Blackwell coughed up the ball inside the 10-yard line and it was recovered by the Trojans in the endzone for a touchback.

Behind the running of LeBarron Black, TSU was able to move down the field, where Lawrence Tynes nailed a 44-yard field goal to give the Trojans a 10-7 lead going into halftime.

Deiric Jackson picked off a Blackwell pass in the third quarter to set the Trojans’ offense up at the Bulls 42-yard line with a golden opportunity. But thanks to heavy pressure by the South Florida defensive front, the Trojans were forced to go three downs and out.