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December 22, 2006
PapaJohns.com Bowl: USF vs. East Carolina
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Get the inside scoop on your favorite team:
Too often bowl matchups feature teams that struggled to make the postseason, teams that limp in with not much going for them.
Saturday's inaugural PapaJohns.com Bowl (1 p.m., ESPN2) has a pair of teams that are hotter than a large pepperoni pizza straight out of the oven.
South Florida - making its second consecutive bowl trip - won its final regular-season game at then-No. 7 West Virginia, 24-19. The Bulls won three of their last four to get to 8-4. They have an underrated defense (24th in the nation in total defense), and they take their cues on offense from redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Grothe (their leading passer and leading rusher).
South Florida's opponent, East Carolina, also enters the postseason sizzling.
The Pirates have won five of six, with their only loss during that stretch a heartbreaking 18-17 decision at Rice. They're well-balanced offensively, and their defense relies on a secondary that was 15th in the nation in interceptions with 16.