Aug. 29, 2002
By FRED GOODALL
AP Sports Writer
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Marquel Blackwell threw for 263 yards and two touchdowns Thursday night, leading South Florida to a 51-10 season-opening win over Florida Atlantic.
Blackwell tossed scoring passes of 4 yards to Clenton Crossley and 12 yards to Brian Fisher. The Bulls also scored on Hugh Smith's 8-yard flanker reverse and DeAndrew Rubin's 56-yard punt return in the second half.
The victory was the seventh straight for South Florida, which went 6-0 down the stretch last fall to finish 8-3 in its first season in Division I-A. The Bulls, who will move into Conference USA next year, also have won 14 in a row at home.
Florida Atlantic, a second-year program started by former Miami, Louisville and Oklahoma coach Howard Schnellenberger, was limited to Mark Myers' 38-yard, second-quarter field goal and Jared Allen's 3-yard TD pass to Ben Coker in the third quarter.
Blackwell completed 27 of 39 passes with no interceptions. His TD pass to Crossley, set up by a blocked punt at the Florida Atlantic 30, was the 50th of the senior's career.
Crossley also scored on a 1-yard run in the second quarter and Santiago Gramatica added field goals of 34 and 35 to help the Bulls build a 20-3 halftime lead.
Florida Atlantic drove 80 yards in eight plays for its only touchdown. But two other possessions deep in South Florida territory - one starting the Bulls' 5 after a snap from center sailed over punter Devin Sanderson's head - only produced three points.
Allen completed 10 of 21 passes for 163 yards for Florida Atlantic. He threw one interception and the Owls also lost three fumbles.
The game was stopped for 45 minutes in the first quarter because of lightning. Play resumed after the thunderstorm cleared with South Florida leading 10-0.