As expected, the University of South Florida Bulls walked into a frigid atmosphere on Friday night at Cincinnati's Nippert Stadium.
Kickoff temperature was 38 degrees (with a feels-like reading of 29) and it was expected to dip into the high 20s by the fourth quarter. USF brought six propane heaters that were stationed behind the benches (and USF players were stationed on those benches when they weren't in the game).
USF senior LB Sam Barrington said the Bulls weren't concentrating on the chilly conditions.
"It's going to be cold to us, but they're humans, too," Barrington said. "So they're going to be cold, too. It's not like we're playing some group of aliens."
Coming into Friday night, here were the coldest kickoff temperatures for a USF football game:
Sleeveless in Cincinnati
USF senior RB Demetris Murray was among the Bulls who went sleeveless on Friday night. But that was expected. Earlier in the week, Murray said all skill-position players at his high school (Buford, Ga.) were prohibited from wearing sleeves during games. Murray took that with him to USF.
Other hearty souls: Barrington, OL Thor Jozwiak, DL James Hamilton, LB Mike Lanaris, TE Evan Landi, LB DeDe Lattimore, C Austin Reiter, DT Luke Sager and DL coach Kevin Patrick, who wore the green USF polo that he would've been sporting during a 75-degree game in Tampa.
With the Bulls struggling offensively, USF senior P Justin Brockhaus-Kann had six first-half punts for a 43.3-yard average, including a 70-yarder in the second quarter. Cincinnati return man Danny Milligan came forward for a potential fair catch, then backed away and the ball took about a 20-yard roll.
Meanwhile, Cincinnati P Pat O'Donnell wasn't bad himself. He had four first-half punts for a 48.0-yard average, a long of 65 and two that were downed inside the 20.
Giddins is back
USF junior DE Ryne Giddins (Armwood High) had his second sack in as many games when he brought down Bearcats QB Brendon Kay for a 4-yard loss during the second quarter. Giddins was in on two sacks during the season's first three plays in the opener against the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga but had been largely quiet until last week's sack at Miami.
"It's about time," Giddins said earlier in the week.
Giddins said he has been bothered by injuries to both shoulders, but is feeling more like himself.
USF concludes its season next Saturday against Raymond James Stadium against the Pittsburgh Panthers. The kickoff time has not been announced. It will be the final Big East game for Pittsburgh, which jumps to the ACC next season. The Panthers (4-6, 1-4) would be eliminated from bowl-game consideration if they lose today at home against front-running Rutgers (9-1, 5-0). … USF's Lawrence Martin, a junior-college transfer who had been playing backup guard, opened at left tackle and earned his first start. … Cincinnati coach Butch Jones got his start as a Ferris State University undergraduate, serving as an intern on the staff of Ray Perkins with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1987-89. … Familiar faces on Cincinnati's roster included freshman WR Chris Moore (Jefferson), who had three receptions coming into Friday night, and two freshmen who haven't played — QB Bennie Coney (Plant City) and DL Chad Hannah (Gaither).