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USF hosts Rutgers

Sixteen days.

That’s how long the South Florida football team has had to think about its 24-10 loss to Cincinnati — the loss that all but killed the Bulls’ hopes for a Big East title. The Bulls take the field at noon Saturday, when they host the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Raymond James Stadium.

“I don’t like off weeks, whether we win or lose,” USF coach Jim Leavitt said. “I have a hard time not playing. I feel like we’re not involved.”

Despite not being involved in the Big East championship picture, USF players said they feel there is a lot to play for this season.

“When you start the season, there are a whole bunch of goals that you want to accomplish,” senior safety Carlton Williams said. “It’s frustrating, but we still have a chance to be one of the best teams to ever come through USF. We still have a chance to have a 10-win season, so we still have some things to keep fighting for.”

To realize the goal of a 10-win season, the Bulls will have to beat a Scarlet Knights team that they’ve lost to for two consecutive seasons.

USF lost by a combined five points in the last two meetings (22-20 in 2006, 30-27 in 2007). Williams said the Bulls are looking to avenge the heartbreaking losses.

“We’ve had some good games, some close games,” he said. “This is always one of those games that we look forward to.”

The Bulls will have a difficult task, as they face two imposing Rutgers wide receivers.

Rutgers juniors Kenny Britt and Tim Brown are both in the top 10 in the Big East in receiving yards, and both have four receiving touchdowns.

“They’re big and fast,” Williams said. “It’s going to be a challenge for our secondary this week.”

If the Bulls want to accomplish the first 10-win season in school history, they need to win their last three regular season games, and a bowl.

Junior quarterback Matt Grothe said the players are going to win games for themselves, not anyone or anything else.

“We’re just trying to have fun,” he said. “We’re not worrying about where we are or what our situation is. We’re just going out and playing football like we were little again.”