USFNation Game Balls

USFNation.com rewards three players, who were key contributors for the Bulls during Saturday's impressive 37-20 win on the road against North Carolina. Read on to find out who we handed out game balls to this week. Only on USFNation.com!

1. Stephen Nicholas- In nearly every game this season, Nicholas has proved to be worthy of game balls. This week, he may have had one of his more impressive performances yet. In the second quarter with the score tied at seven, Nicholas made his first career interception at the UNC 35-yard line. The Bulls scored five plays later and took their first lead of the day. This was the first time sin October 4, 2003 that one of USF's linebackers recorded an interception. He also added five tackles, one and a half tackles for loss, and one sack for a three yard loss. USF fans enjoy Nicholas while you can because it will not be too long until he is wearing an NFL uniform.

 

2. Matt Grothe- Entering Saturday's game, questions swirled regarding the health of Grothe especially after he missed two days of practice with a protective boot on his right foot. When it came time for kickoff, Grothe seemed to be as calm and collective as ever. Grothe was finally given the time he needed to make the important throws. For the game, he completed 14 of 21 for 158 yards and one touchdown while carrying the ball 12 times for 43 yards. His lone score came off of a 21 yard completion to Taurus Johnson. It was a nice change to see Grothe having proper run support that will allow him to be even more productive in the near future.

 

3. Ricky Ponton- After serving a six-game suspension, Ponton had a successful return to the Bulls' backfield against the Tar Heels. For the game, he carried the ball 17 times for a career-high 101 yards and two touchdowns with an average of 5.9 yards per carry. His initial touchdown came off of 1 yard rush which put the Bulls on top 20-7 in the second quarter. Ponton's final score came on a two yard rush late in the third quarter. He also performed well during pass protection and was one of the many reasons USF only allowed one sack.

 


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