(This is the final segment of our review of USF's football season, with as many Ben Folds lyrics as we could shoehorn in.)
I kind of skimmed over the importance of the Miami game at the time. I didn't want to fall into the trap of "Oh, this is HUGE! We're gonna get all this attention and all these awesome recruits and this is great for our program and isn't everyone going to look at USF in a different light now!" Because that doesn't often happen. It takes an accumulation of things to raise your profile.
(SIDE NOTE: This might be the most important point we can possibly make about USF athletics. Building a healthy, long-term, stable program is not like everything else in the modern world. There is no instant gratification to be had. If you want that, go play a video game. The team can get where everyone wants it to go, but it's going to take some time. So take a deep breath and be patient for a change.)
It wasn't just beating Auburn in 2007 that bumped the Bulls up a notch in the college football world - it was also beating West Virginia, spending an entire month in the top 10, and finishing at 9-3 with three extremely close losses. And even then the results weren't immediate. What you do on the field and how it positively affects recruiting is usually on a one-year delay. When you get a big win this late in the season, often times it's too late to suddenly start going after brand-new recruits who wouldn't have considered you before.
But the next year, when you're setting up your recruiting board and deciding who to go after, that's when beating Miami and beating FSU pays off. If you're trying to get everyone to stop looking at you as some kind of redheaded stepchild in Florida, you have to have wins like this.
If you're afraid they might uncover your redneck past
There are a hundred ways to cover your redneck past
They'll never send you home
Especially if you can do it the way USF beat Miami - with guys stepping up from all over the place.
Kayvon Webster and David Bedford teamed up to force a crucial Damien Berry fumble out of the end zone when the Hurricanes were threatening to score the first points of the game. Kevin Gidrey ripped a potential coast-to-coast interception out of the hands of a Miami defender at the end of the half, preserving a chance to get on the board with a field goal. Jacquian Williams made an incredible one-handed interception to set USF up in position to get their first touchdown. Joel Miller came out of absolutely nowhere to lead the team with 60 receiving yards. When Mo Plancher got hurt after running for 101 yards, Demetris Murray came on and ended up scoring the winning touchdown.
And of course there was Bobby Eveld. B.J. Daniels aggravated a lingering quad injury late in the first half that forced him out of the game. The true freshman walk-on Eveld entered after halftime and did a solid job moving the offense, including an improbable 80-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter that tied the game at 17 after the Bulls had lost a 10-point lead. If you had asked me the one player who I would have thought everything was lost if he made it into the game, I would have said Eveld. You would have too. I mean, when was the last time a walk-on freshman quarterback ever pulled off something like this? This was beyond improbable.
It says a lot about the coaching that a win like this was even possible.To coax a win out of that team, in that weakened state, in Miami, against a vastly more talented Hurricanes team, is a powerful commentary on the vast improvement that was made in the switch from Jim Leavitt to Skip Holtz. Leavitt should get his due as the father and builder of the program, and for getting many of the players who made the big plays in this game onto the roster in the first place. But he would not have won this game. It was an immensely satisfying way to end the regular season.
Just find a place where no one knows of your redneck past
Yeah, you can easily dispose of your redneck past
You'll show them all back home
What's that? There was another game after Miami? Yeah, I don't feel like talking about that game anymore.
Ben Folds Five - Your Redneck Past (live) (via BFFfreakingout)