USF's junior quarterback has basically owned UCF in his first two meetings against the Knights, passing and running for a combined 687 yards. Grothe is human though and has struggled at times in his early collegiate career. In order for UCF to avenge last season's 64-12 loss to USF, finding a way to stop Grothe will be essential.
"He's definitely a good quarterback; we faced him for the last couple of years and have a lot of respect for him. We know that if you don't play to your ability that he can really hurt you," said UCF safety Sha'reff Rashad.
In last season's loss to USF, the Knights had a difficult time stopping Grothe through the air, as he slung the ball all over the field and in limited playing time he accumulated 212 passing yards and two touchdowns. Where Grothe has killed UCF in the past though is with his legs.
"I think he's a very good football player, makes really good decisions, has good control of what's going on out there. Really he's hurt us more on key downs running the ball than throwing it. He's thrown long touchdown passes, I know that, but I think on third and seven, third and six, Grothe hurts more teams with his feet a lot of times than with his arm," said Coach George O'Leary.
Grothe's ability to take off out of the pocket and pick up big first downs with his feet has hurt the Knights as well as other opponents in his first two seasons playing at USF. In fact, Grothe has accumulated over 1,200 rushing yards through his career and is known around the nation as a terrific dual-threat player.
"He's going to find a crease, I think you have to keep him in check, they go as he goes. When he has a good game, they are very, very difficult. When he's not on than like any other team, they are going to struggle. He's been on a lot of times for them and is a very good football player," added O'Leary.
Taking both Grothe's arm and legs into account, UCF will try to devise a plan to slow Grothe down, something the team hasn't done the past two seasons.
"It's definitely tough on defenses when you have a quarterback that's mobile. One thing you have to teach during the week is making sure that you stay in position and stay with your keys because a lot of times you get in the heat of the game and try to over pursue or do something that's actually not your job on the defense. A play might break down and if you're not where you're supposed to be, a quarterback that's mobile like that will be able to run around and create problems for you," said Rashad.
How exactly do the Knights prevent Grothe and the Bulls from running up the scoreboard this year? USFNation's Josh Newberg insists that there is a way, although it isn't easy.
"You have to make Matt one-dimensional. Either don't let him beat you on the ground or don't let him do it through the air. Once he gets the passing game going, that's when you see him break-off 15-20 yard runs that demoralize opposing defenses. Just when they think they got him on a third and long, he has one of those highlight scrambles to move the chains."
O'Leary, who is on record as saying that he prefers to not blitz linebackers and would rather have the pocket collapse with a four-man rush, certainly understands what Newberg is saying.
Slowing down Grothe isn't impossible, as he has thrown 28 interceptions in his career. However, if the Knights want to defeat the Bulls, they must keep Grothe from opening up the field with his arm, as well as scrambling for big gains, something that is easier said than done.
Easier Said Than Done
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