the first time this season, Matt Grothe was not called upon to do everything for
the Bulls' offense. Having a balanced rushing attack allowed Grothe to have
one of his most productive games of the season. For the game, he completed 14 of
21 for 158 yards and one touchdown, a 21 yard strike to S.J. Green early on in
the second quarter, while rushing for 43 yards on 12 carries including one
fumble. Considering the fact that he missed two days of practice with a
protective boot on his foot, Grothe played a great game. His lone mistake was a
fumble during the second quarter which led to a North Carolina field goal.
USFNation Staff Grade: B+
WR: Eight different receivers recorded catches on Saturday which is great considering the team passed for only 158 yards. The leader of the pack was S.J. Green who caught three passes for 76 yards including a 21 yard touchdown. Ean Randolph had three receptions for 27 yards while Amp Hill had three catches for 17 yards. Jackie Chambers caught only one pass for six yards in his return from a six game suspension. There were a few dropped passes throughout the game, but and overall great effort by all the receivers
Staff Grade: B
RB: Of the three returning players to USF, Ricky Ponton made the biggest debut. On Saturday, he proved how dangerous the Bulls are running the ball with him as the feature back. He rushed for a career-high 101 yards and two touchdowns on only 17 carries. That equals 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. The previous starter, Benjamin Williams, was second on the team with 14 carries for 57 yards and one touchdown, a one yard run. Together they performed well as blockers and were one the reason why the Bulls only allowed one sack for the game.
USFNation Staff Grade: A+
Offensive line: The front five had played a good game against North Carolina and allowed the Tar Heels to sack Grothe only once. They also gave Grothe more than enough time to throw the ball which is one reason why he was so productive on the day. On the ground, the big men up front paved the way for USF to rush for a combined 234 yards on 47 carries. It was perhaps the most successfully balanced offensive game of the season
USFNation Staff Grade: B+
DB's: The secondary of the Bulls were all over the receivers for North Carolina all day long. They gave the offense of the Tar Heels problems because of their speed and agility. For the game, the Tar Heels quarterback completed only nine passes out of 26 attempts for 117 yards and a score. The lone touchdown came on a 7 yard completion late in the third quarter. They did give up a pass play for 28 yards, but they stepped up when the team needed them the most. Jeremy Burnett was the leading tackler for the group with six tackles including two tackles for a loss while Carlton Williams added five tackles of his own. Trae Williams had four tackles but was held without an interception for the game which does not happen too often. Instead the one pick came courtesy of Danny Valpaele who then retuned the turnover for a 26 yard gain. This led to a Ricky Ponton one-yard score.
USFNation Staff Grade: A
LB: The most dominant part of the Bulls' defense had yet another great game against North Carolina. Ben Moffitt led the team in tackles with eight and also added one tackles for a loss, one pass breakup, and one sack for a two yard loss. Second on the team was Patrick St. Louis who finished the game with seven tackles and one tackle for a loss. While he may not have been the team leader in tackles, Stephen Nicholas made the play of the day for the Bulls' defense. With the score tied at seven, Nicholas made his first career interception in the second quarter at the UNC 35-yard line. Five plays later, the Bulls scored and took their first lead of the day. This was the first time since 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.
Staff Grade: A+
D-line: Overall, the front four had a good game. They seemed to constantly pressure the quarterback and harasses and back that attempted to break through the line of scrimmage. George Selvie led the unit with five tackles, one and a half tackles for a loss, and one sack for a three yard loss. Allen Cray also had a sack on the day as well as two tackles for a combined 12 yard loss. Josh Julmiste had two tackles in his first game of the season. The Tar Heels' running backs were held to 168 yards on 39 carries with an average of 4.3 yards per rush. That number is a little high for my taste. USFNation Staff Grade: B
Special teams: The everlasting problems on the special teams unit continued on Saturday. Mike Benzer struggled throughout the game until being replaced by Delbert Alverado. Prior to leaving the game, Benzer missed a 46 yard field goal as well s an extra point. Alverado though nailed a 26 yard field goal late in the game. Justin Teachey only punted three times with and average of 40.0 yards per punt. This number needs to improve if USF wants to win the field position battle. Amarri Jackson struggled as the punt returner and was able to gain only 10 yards on a combined three returns. Taurus Johnson had one nice kick return for 28 yards while he Gained a total of 28 yards on his two other returns
USFNation Staff Grade: F