Bulls receiver DeAndrew Rubin has been named Collegefootballnews.com Independent Player of the Week for his three-touchdown performance Saturday against Northern Illinois in a 37-6 USF victory.
Rubin caught touchdown passes of 95 and eight yards and also ran back a punt 55 yards for a score, helping the Bulls avenge last year’s season-opening defeat at the hands of the Huskies.
“I want the ball every play, especially on third downs,” Rubin said after Saturday’s game. “When I touch the ball, I just get a rush every time. That’s just my mentality. I want to score every single time I touch the ball. I’m not satisfied with a first down. The only time I’m thinking about a first down is on third down.”
Rubin also made touchdown grabs of 57 and 52 yards in game one last year in DeKalb, Ill., but the Bulls were beaten 20-17 on a last-second field goal.
“I knew their corners were going to come out this year and try to play a good game, try to rebound from last year,” Rubin said. “In the first half, they pretty much did their job. In the second half, we game-planned it, and things opened up from there.”
With a game-high 126 receiving yards, Rubin surpassed 1,000 receiving yards for his career (1,098) and moved past Clif Dell (1,003) for second place in the Bulls’ career charts.
Already the Bulls’ record holder for career TD catches, Rubin extended that mark to 13. He is the only Bull to ever achieve more than one 100-yard receiving game (three) and return a punt for a touchdown (four).
The 95-yard Marquel Blackwell-to-Rubin pass was the longest play ever for USF, one yard more than a punt return by Charlie Jackson against Charleston Southern in 1997. The previous longest TD pass was 75 yards from Chad Barnhardt to Dell against Slippery Rock in 1998 and repeated against Elon later that season.
Let there be light
And then the lights came on for the Bulls – literally. After spending Sept. 2’s practice in the dark, the USF football team had the advantage of conducting Monday night’s practice under the lights.
“We had lights, which really helped, and I don’t mean that sarcastically,” coach Jim Leavitt said. “Look at the difference. It’s crazy what we went through last week. But the thing is, our attitude was there. We practiced anyway.”
The Bulls (2-0) began preparations Monday for Saturday’s matchup with Arkansas (1-0). Sophomore linebacker Jason Allen, who suffered a sprained left knee vs. Northern Illinois Saturday, was the lone player not to practice, and his status is doubtful for Saturday’s game.
In Allen’s absence and with Mike Minus plagued by a chronic ankle injury, true freshman Devon Davis played the last three quarters at middle linebacker against the Huskies with senior Kawika Mitchell on the weak side. Leavitt was unsure whether he would start that lineup again with Maurice Jones as the strong side backer, but he did indicate that Davis would see more snaps.
Another first for Jones
On April 22, 2001, Kenyatta Jones made USF history by becoming the first Bull selected in the NFL draft. The New England Patriots made Jones, an offensive tackle, the first pick of the fourth round, and he was followed in succession by teammates Anthony Henry, who went to Cleveland where he tied for the NFL high in interceptions with 10, and kicker Bill Gramatica.
Jones had another first when the Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVI, making him the first Bull to win a championship ring. While Jones was inactive for that game, he did play in five games last season for New England.
Jones accomplished another first Monday, when he became the first USF position player to start an NFL Monday Night Football game when he lined up at tackle against Pittsburgh.