Bulls Roll Over UNC, 37-20

South Florida now moves to 5-2 on the season which matches the best start through seven games in the teams' relatively short ten year history. The last time the Bulls opened this strongly was in 2002 and 1998 prior to that. The (1-5) Tar Heels now find themselves in the middle of a four game losing streak after losing in the first ever meeting between the two schools.

The biggest news for South Florida was not Matt Grothe for once. After being suspended for the first six games, Ricky Ponton, Jackie Chambers, and Josh Julmiste all successfully returned to the field on Saturday. Ponton made perhaps the biggest statement of the trio by leading USF in rushing with 102 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries.

The Tar Heels were able to strike first in the contest on only their second drive of the game. After driving 55 yards in only five plays, starting running back Ronnie McGill scored on a 15 yard rush after breaking three tackles to give North Carolina an early 7-0 lead. The Bulls responded with a nice drive, but once again they had to deal with problems on special teams after Mike Benzer missed a 47 yard field goal.

On the next drive for the Bulls, they made sure to get the ball in the end zone this time around. The score came on a 19 yard reverse by Taurus Johnson which tied the game at seven. As North Carolina attempted to drive on the following possession, Stephen Nicholas gave the Bulls the ball back by intercepting a pass thrown by freshman Cam Sexton.

In only his fourth start of his career, Sexton ended up only completing 9 of 26 for 115 yards including one touchdown and two interceptions. The second pick came on the Tar Heel's next possession courtesy of Danny Verpaele. Both turnovers led to touchdowns for the Bulls which extended their lead to 20-7 after Mike Benzer missed the second extra point. The first score came off of a 21 yard pass from Matt Grothe to S.J. Green. The second score was a one yard rushing touchdown by Ricky Ponton, his first on the year.

Grothe, who missed a couple of practices this week due to injuries, played a great game overall. He completed 14 of 21 for 160 yards and one touchdown while rushing 12 times for 39 yards. His favorite receivers on the day were S.J. Green, who had 3 catches for 76 yards and a touchdown, and Ean Randolph, who had three receptions for 27 yards.

Prior to the second half, the Bulls and Tar Heels both had gained over 215 yards, but the score remained 20-10. In the second half, the USF defense completely dominated North Carolina and allowed only 42 yards while the Bulls gained another 200 yards. Along with a dominating defense, the Bulls showcased a tricky offense. On the first drive of the second half and facing fourth and one at the North Carolina 26 yard line, Grothe faked a handoff up the middle and then tossed the ball to Amarri Jackson who then completed a 26 yard pass to Cedric Hill at the one yard line. This set up a one yard rushing touchdown by Benjamin Williams, who along with the score had 52 yards on 14 carries.

UNC responded with a career long 52 yard field goal by Conner Barth after the Tar Heels recover a fumble by Amarri Jackson during a punt return. The Bulls extended their lead on the following drive with a 2 yard rushing touchdown by Ricky Ponton. Delbert Alverado was successful on the extra point after replacing Mike Benzer. Alverado would later seal the game with a 26 yard field goal. This came after the Bulls ran over seven minutes off the clock thanks to 17 play drive that resulted in 71 yards.


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