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USF returns to the Trop
Posted Dec 15, 2008 by Brett McMurphy
Updated Dec 15, 2008 at 11:14 PM
When the University of South Florida plays Memphis in Saturday’s St. Petersburg Bowl, it will be the first Division I-A college football game held in Tropicana Field.
It will not, however, be the first time the Bulls have been inside the Trop. USF previously held walk-through practices in the Trop before playing on Northern Illinois’ artificial surface to open the 2001 season and also before visiting Syracuse’s Carrier Dome in 2005 and 2007.
“I think it is a little louder in the dome,” USF QB Matt Grothe said. “I’m sure it is going to be loud. We will have to deal with that.
“I don’t think the lights will be too big of an issue. It’s just like playing in the middle of the day. I’m looking forward to it. It is going to be a lot of fun.”
USF coach Jim Leavitt said he previously coached in a domed baseball stadium when he was an assistant at Kansas State in 1992. The Wildcats lost to Nebraska 38-24 in the Coco-Cola Classic in the Tokyo Dome in Japan.
“I’m excited about seeing the [Trop’s] layout,” Leavitt said. “I’ve heard about it, but I haven’t been over there and seen how they lay the turf out over the infield.
“It was very similar [in Japan]. The stands were on one side. It was really quite an experience.”
ODDS AND ENDS: USF freshman K Maikon Bonani has been nominated for the Football Writers Association of America’s freshman All-American team. Bonani, of Lake Wales, has hit 13 of 19 field goals, including the 43-yard game-winner with no time remaining in USF’s 37-34 win against Kansas. … Both teams will arrive in St. Petersburg today. The Bulls are staying in St. Petersburg starting tonight, but will bus to Tampa to practice at USF today through Thursday.