USF Game Grades: Kansas

The Bulls lost their first game of the season 13-7 at Kansas. The game was close to the end, but the Bulls were unable to pull out the victory. hands out game grades position-by-position. Read on to see how they graded out.

QB: In only his fourth start of his career, this was Matt Grothe's toughest test yet. He played hard and put the team in position to score but failed to convert on a fourth and two from the three yard line. On the final drive of the game, he drove the team to the Kansas 27 yard line with 13 seconds left in the game. He looked for an open player to throw to but received no help from his receivers, and wasn't able to get the winning score. For the game, Grothe completed 17 of 32 passes for 196 yards and two interceptions. He was also the leading rusher for the Bulls with 66 yards on 18 carries with one rushing score. 
Grade: B

WR: Overall, the Bull's receivers had a below average game. Seven different receivers caught a pass on Saturday, but no reception was over 60 yards. The receivers had many key drops throughout the game. The most crucial non-catch came with only two plays left in the game. Grothe threw a catchable pass to the sidelines, but the ball went off of Ean Randolph's fingers. It looked like Ean may have pulled up just a bit, as the Kansas DB was about to deliver the hit. It would have been a tough reception to make but with the game on the line, this is a ball that must be caught.
Grade: C

RB: For the third week in a row, Matt Grothe was the leading rusher for the Bulls with 66 yards on 18 carries. It seems like the USF running backs are getting less productive as the season moves along. The Bulls running backs only had eight carries for the entire game. Ben Williams led the Bulls with 10 yards rushing on 2 carries (5.0avg.). Keeley Dorsey had 4 carries for 4 yards (1.0avg.), and Walt Smith had 2 rushes for 1 yard (0.5avg.) and fumbled the ball when the Bulls were driving late in the game. The Bulls backs also had issues with blocking against the Kansas defense.
Grade: F

Offensive line: The Bulls line has been a work in progress through the first 4 games of the season. However, a leg injury to Jake Griffin that occurred against UCF, caused the Bulls to shuffle the line once again, and against a tough Kansas defense, it showed. Matt Grothe was hurried and harassed most of the night. The O-line finished the game allowing 4 sacks and once again they had trouble opening up running lanes. 
Grade: C

DB's: The defensive backs had an off night at Kansas. No interceptions and some dumb penalties at the worst possible time. Out of 35 passes thrown, Barmann had only ten in completions for the game. The only big play came from safety Carlton Williams who was making his first start of the season at safety. Williams forced a fumble near the USF goal line that stopped Kansas from scoring. Besides that play, the defensive backs had coverage problems, numerous penalties, and at times seemed out of position. The Bulls were led by Carlton Williams who had 6 tackles to go with his forced fumble, Back-up DB Tyler Roberts had 5 tackles, Safeties Danny Verpaele and Jeremy Burnett each had 4 tackles, and corner backs Trae Williams and Mike Jenkins each added two of their own.
Grade C

LB: The linebackers played very well, and were led by a stellar game by Stephen Nicholas, who had 15 tackles, including 10 solos and two for losses. Ben Moffitt had 8 tackles with 1 for a loss, but too many times was forced to cover a receiver, and Pat St. Louis had 5 tackles. As usual they were a crucial part in keeping Kansas to only 13 points.
Grade: A

D-line:  There was simply not enough constant pressure from the D-line. Losing Josh Julmiste to suspension, and the injury to Richard Clebert, who did not make the trip to Kansas, has proved the Bulls lack of depth at the position. One bright spot was DT Allen Cray who had 4 tackles, 2 for a loss, 2 sacks, a forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery. DE George Selvie  had 6 tackles,  DT Woody George and DE Treco Bellamy each had 3 tackles, and DE Chris Robinson had an assist on a tackle and a fumble recovery. They gave up over 100 yards of rushing and had trouble shutting down the quarterback.
Grade: B-

Special teams: The Bulls special teams have had their problems this season, missed field goals, blocked punts for touchdowns and penalties that had negated 4 punt returns for touchdowns. Against Kansas everything went pretty smoothly. There was no field goal attempted, or blocked punts for touchdowns. For punting duties at Kansas, the Bulls got creative.  Matt Grothe quick kicked a punt that went out of bounds on the Kansas 5, and caused Kansas to use a time out. The Bulls also used walk-on kick-off specialist Justin Teachey as punter this week. Teachey used a rugby style kick that averaged 45.2 yards on 4 punts and was also hard to return, resulting in a 41.8 yard net average, the best punting of the season. Kansas only had 1 punt return for 5 yards, and one kick-off return for 20 yards. Taurus Johnson also had a nice 41 yard kick return.
Grade: B

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