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Deflected kick saves the day for USF

By The Associated Press

GREENVILLE — The major underdog mounted the major comeback, but a minor diversion of a PAT kick attempt was just enough to head off the major upset.

An extra-point kick attempt by East Carolina's Cameron Broadwell was partially blocked in the second overtime, giving South Florida a 38-37 victory Saturday.

The Bulls (6-3 overall, 4-2 Conference USA) had taken a seven-point lead on Elgin Hicks's third touchdown catch of the day — a 22-yarder from Ronnie Banks — and Santiago Gramatica's extra-point kick.

The Pirates (1-9, 1-5) moved within a point on fullback Vonta Leach's 3-yard run, but Broadwell had his kick partially blocked wide right.

Broadwell, who earlier had missed two field goals, had been successful on a 35-yard field goal attempt in the first overtime. His effort was matched by South Florida's Gramatica from 40 yards.

The Pirates forced overtime with 21 seconds to play when Leach plunged in from the 1. The touchdown capped a 10-play, 33-yard drive after a fumble by South Florida's Chris Iskra.

The Bulls have won all three of their overtime games this year. They earlier beat Louisville (31-28) and Cincinnati (24-17), also both in two overtimes.

South Florida scored 21 points in a 3:40 span of the first half. The first touchdown was set up by Bruce Gipson's block of a Ryan Dougherty punt.

The Pirates answered with two touchdowns before halftime. James Pinkney, starting at quarterback in place of the injured Desmond Robinson, connected with Townes on a 28-yard score.

The Pirates pulled even at 21-21 just 55 seconds after halftime. Guy Whimper picked up the ball after a USF mix-up on a shotgun snap and returned it the final 7 yards.

02/23/2007 10:52 AM

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. contributed to this report.  All rights reserved.  This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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