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May 4, 2010

2009 season review: USF vs. Charleston Southern

Just one week before a vital road game to prove their worth against one of the state's elite football programs, South Florida was handed a devastating blow.

The Big East's all-time leader in total yards, Matt Grothe, was lost for the season on a nine-yard rushing attempt injuring his left knee. So while the Bulls did come away with an expected 59-0 lopsided victory against Charleston Southern, it didn't feel like a win at all.

With a trip to Tallahassee to take on the Seminoles of Florida State looming a week later, the Bulls would be forced to play without their leader behind center.

"Matt is a franchise guy, we all know that," said an obviously dejected head coach Jim Leavitt to the Associated Press. "What he's been able to do in college football is extraordinary... I feel real bad for him. Hopefully, it won't be too bad but we have to wait and see. We don't know."

But they found out the next day.

On September 20th, it was announced that Grothe had torn his ACL in his left knee, officially ruling him out for the remainder of the season.

"Obviously, I am disappointed, because you never think this could happen to you," Grothe said. "It's a team game, and I am still going to be very involved with my teammates and the coaches. I am going to do everything I can to help the Bulls continue to win."

Grothe continued to help lead the Bulls from the sideline, because after all, they still had a game to play.

South Florida continued to dominate Charleston Southern after Grothe's unexpected withdrawal from the game.

Freshman understudy B.J. Daniels burst on to the scene showing his playmaking capability and adding a new, shifty threat from the quarterback position. Daniels not only completed 10 of 13 pass attempts for 149 yards and one touchdown, but he also led the Bulls in rushing compiling 105 yards on eight carries finding the end zone twice with his legs.

Wide receivers Dontavia Bogan and Carlton Mitchell were too much for Charleston Southern to handle in the passing game. Mitchell snared four passes for 63 yards and a score while Bogan caught three passes for 72 yards and two touchdowns.

Behind Daniels in the rushing attack, Mike Ford and Lindsey Lamar each crossed the goal line.

Offensively, the Bulls would rack up a tremendous 547 yards of total offense while maintaining a semblance of balance. Through the air, USF had 298 yards passing and on the ground registered 249 yards.

The Bulls defense was ferocious seemingly taking the Grothe injury personal.
Charleston Southern was only able to put together 188 yards of total offense, a meager 53 yards coming via the ground game.

South Florida forced two turnovers, one interception and one fumble, to prevent the visitors from putting any points on the board.

But the stage had been set.

Daniels, a Tallahassee native, would return to his hometown to take on the Seminoles as the starting quarterback as USF would look to pull off the improbable upset with Florida State coming off a blowout win against Brigham Young the week before.

Share your favorite memory from this game on The Bullpen.


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