AUBURN – The storybook ending to Saturday’s game against Auburn was perfect for USF, but it may have been unnecessary.
With 7:46 remaining in the contest, senior cornerback Mike Jenkins intercepted a pass from Brandon Cox, returning it 42 yards and appeared to leap over the pylon, which would have given the Bulls at least a 23-17 lead.
But instead of celebrating the first USF defensive touchdown of the season, the Bulls offense was forced to come onto the field after Jenkins was marked out at the four-yard line.
“That was most definitely a touchdown,” Jenkins said. “I don’t know what it was – I told the coaches to review it and we tried, but the refs didn’t do it. But that’s all right.”
Safety Nate Allen agrees.
“I definitely think he got in because I was right behind him. I was yelling the whole way down and I thought he broke the plane (of the end zone),” Allen said. “But I guess since we’re in Auburn, that might have had something to do with it.”
With two USF timeouts remaining in the second half, coach Jim Leavitt used one in an attempt to force the officials to continue reviewing the play.
“I’ll be a little disappointed if he got into the end zone and that was missed,” Leavitt said. “That was a good play, but we’ll have to see.”
Even if Jenkins was denied a touchdown, Saturday’s contest was a chance for him to show Auburn firsthand what type of player they could have had.
“This win was really big. I can’t even express how the
feeling is,” Jenkins said. “Especially for me because coming out of high school, (Auburn was) one of the schools that was
recruiting me real hard. I picked USF over them, Nebraska and a few others. So my main goal was to come in here and show them what they were missing.”
Since his freshman season in 2004, Jenkins has been showing everyone across the country his talent.
Along with his interception against Auburn, he had five tackles and broke up a pass. Already this season, Jenkins has 10 tackles, three passes broken-up, two tackles for a loss and an
Prior to the start of the
season, he was named the fifth best senior cornerback in the country by ESPN.com’s Mel Kiper Jr. after he led the Bulls with 15 passes broken-up.
Jenkins and fellow cornerback Trae Williams were named to the Preseason All-Big East Defensive Team.
“For me, it’s just about going out and making plays to help the team,” Jenkins said. “I think I definitely had a good game (against Auburn), and hopefully that’s going to help us to bigger and better things.”