Three years have passed since South Florida defeated Florida State 17-7 in the only matchup between the two schools. Yet for those Seminoles who were on the FSU sideline at Doak Campbell when the final whistle blew, there's a sinking feeling in their stomach they can't quite forget.
FSU was fresh off an impressive 54-28 win on the road against then No. 7 BYU, but came out flat against USF, producing just 288 yards of total offense, a measly 19 yards rushing and was just 2-for-12 on third downs.
When the game ended Tampa native Demonte McAllister, who was redshirting as a true freshman in 2009, headed for the locker-room hoping to avoid a run-in with then Bulls head coach Jim Leavitt.
"I remember I was getting recruited by USF (out of high school) and Jim Leavitt he was like 'We're going to come up there and beat them,'" the former Alonso High star said. "I just brushed it off like 'Come on man, get out of here.' I remember he said that we're going to come up there and we're going to win, I wasn't trying to listen to that, but they came up."
Fortunately for McAllister he was able to avoid an 'I told you so' moment from Leavitt after the game. Even though Leavitt is gone--he was fired and replaced by Skip Holtz before the 2010 season-McAllister is hoping for a much different outcome this time around with USF entering Saturday's 6 p.m. tilt (on ESPN).
"They came here and gave us a great whooping and we're trying to go back there and make it different this time," he said.
Things are already drastically different between the two programs than during the last meeting. FSU enters the game (4-0, 2-0 ACC) ranked fourth in the country and fresh off a top-10 win against Clemson last weekend. USF (2-2, 0-1 Big East) is struggling out of the gate and lacks the defensive firepower it relied on in the last matchup (seven Bulls defenders were selected in the 2010 and 2011 NFL drafts).
Senior Chris Thompson[db] said the biggest difference in FSU now is that the team is going into Saturday's game completely focused on the Bulls, unlike in the last meeting.
"I think those South Florida guys came with a different mindset and honestly they wanted it a little more than we did. I think we kind of underestimated them a little bit, we're supposed to get the best recruits, be the top school in Florida and all that kind of good stuff," Thompson said. "It was a bad feeling and it left a bad taste in all the players' mouths, three years later we're more experienced, they're more experienced-they've still got their quarterback and everything, he's a great player-we're going to have to come out with our A game and execute on every drive."
Thompson said he doesn't worry at all about the mindset of this team, saying "I think all the guys just want it real bad." Fellow senior [db]Lonnie Pryor agrees that the 2012 FSU squad has a vastly different mindset than when he was freshman in 2009.
"I think my freshman year everyone wasn't on the same page, everyone kind of was like me, me, me. It wasn't' much of a family like it is now," Pryor said. "This year, this team, everyone's on the same page, we all want the dream thing, win the ACC and hopefully win the National Championship.
"It's not all about me, it's about us and sometimes you've got to do certain things to help the team and I think this team will do whatever we need to do to win and that's the difference between this team and that team back then."
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