Bulls Crush Orange 27-10 in Last Home Game

The Bulls final home game was a sweet one for the seniors as they soundly beat Syracuse 27-10 in their last home game at Raymond James Stadium. In the contest Matt Grothe set a new USF record with 364 yards passing, and Delbert Alvarado kicked a new BIG EAST record 56 yard field goal. Read on for the entire game summary. Only on USFNation.com

The Orange attempted to play spoiler for the Bulls' last home game, otherwise known as senior day, in front of 29,604 fans. They opened the game by returning the kickoff 32 yards to start the game with excellent field position. The Bulls' defense forced an early fourth and seven, but the Orange were able to convert after Perry Patterson hit Rice Moss for a 15 yard gain. The Bulls refused to allow Syracuse to gain another first down on the drive, and the Orange had to settle for a 29 yard field goal by Patrick Shadle.

The (7-3, 3-2BE) Bulls had an early answer for Syracuse though. On USF'S first play from scrimmage, Matt Grothe completed a 24 yard pass to S.J. Green. With this completion, Grothe passed Marquel Blackwell and set the USF record for passing yards as a freshman. Later in the drive, the Bulls faced third and 11 from the Syracuse 47 yard line. Grothe was able to find Taurus Johnson who gained just enough for the first down.

Grothe then hit Ean Randolph for a three yard gain, Will Bleakley for a 15 yard gain, and Marcus Edwards for an eight yard gain in consecutive plays.  Two plays later, Grothe dropped back and threw from his back after being dragged down by a defender. The result was a six yard touchdown reception by S.J. Green. Along with the score, Green caught four balls for 53 yards. This was Grothe's 11th touchdown pass on the season. For the game, Grothe would go on to complete 25 of 35 for 364 yards including two touchdowns and one interception while carrying the ball eight times for 45 yards.

The (3-7.0-5BE) Orange attempted to respond but struggled offensively and were only able to move the ball when flags were thrown on the Bulls. A questionable pass interference call against Trae Williams gave Syracuse the ball at the 47 yard line, but the Orange failed to gain another first down. Facing third and eight, Chris Robinson broke through the offensive line for a sack that forced a punt by Syracuse. Sacks were a theme for USF defense all game long. By the end of the game, they had recorded seven sacks for a loss of 63 yards as a unit.

After Syracuse forced Grothe to throw an incomplete pass on fourth and four, the Orange took over with the ball at their 30 yard line. After a ten yard completion to Moss on third and nine, the Orange struggle to move the ball. Facing second and 16 from the 35 yard line, Ben Moffett broke through the line before bringing down Patterson for a sack. Then on third and 22, Chris Robinson was able to get his second sack of the day on Patterson. Robinson came up huge for the USF defense all day long. He recorded three tackles, two sacks, and forced on fumble while five other Bulls each had a sack of their own.

On the ensuing possession, the Bulls' Matt Grothe broke two consecutive runs for gains of 13 and seven yards. Then he found a wide open Marcus Edwards for a 19 yard gain. The drive stalled from this point on and USF was forced to settle for a 47-yard field goal by Delbert Alverado to give the Bulls a 10-3 advantage.

Syracuse responded by quickly going on the attack. On the opening play, freshman Delone Carter scampered to the left side for a 47 yard gain. From there, the Bulls' defense refused to budge and Syracuse had to settle for a 45-yard field goal that failed after bouncing directly off the right upright.  

USF looked to take advantage of the Syracuse miss by driving all the way to the 13 yard line before having to settle for a 30-yard field goal attempt that was missed by Delbert Alverado.

Syracuse attempted to put a drive together, but the Bulls' defense completely harassed Patterson, sacking him three times. The Bulls regained possession after Patterson threw an incomplete pass on fourth and eleven. With 15 seconds remaining in the first half, Grothe hit S.J. Green for a nine yard gain and then found Marcus Edwards for a 13 yard completion. Then with 10 seconds left, Alverado nailed a career-long 56 yard field goal that also set a Big East record for longest field goal in conference history.

Leading 13-3 at halftime, the Bulls attempted to add to their lead on the opening drive of the third quarter. Beginning at their own 24 yard line, Grothe immediately hooked up with Will Bleakley for an 11 yard gain followed by a seven yard reception by Taurus Johnson. Amarri Jackson took an end around for a 15 yard gain to put the Bulls in Syracuse territory. After completing a pass to S.J. Green for a 13 yard gain, Grothe rushed for a seven yard gain to set the Bulls up with first down at the four yard line. Two plays later, Benjamin Williams fumbled after being hit in the backfield, which was abruptly recovered by Syracuse.

Syracuse was unable to do much offensively following the turnover. Patterson completed two consecutive ten yard passes to Moss, but failed to find another open receiver. On fourth and ten from the 33-yard line, punter Brendan Carney attempted a fake punt but was stopped three yards short of a first down.

It did not take too long before the Orange would get another chance though. The Bulls were unable to record a first down, and decided to attempt to convert when faced with fourth and three. Grothe's short pass was intercepted by defense and returned to the Syracuse 28 yard line. The Orange, once again, could not do much with the turnover, and were forced to punt after only three plays. The key to the defensive stop came on third and four when Tylerr Roberts sacked Patterson for a 14 yard loss.

The Bulls' ensuing drive showed promise initially after Ricky Ponton opened the drive with a 23 yard gain. On the next play, Amarri Jackson fumbled on an end around which was scooped up by Jerry Mackey of Syracuse. The defense came up huge yet again for the Bulls. Patrick St. Louis was able to sack Patterson, and Syracuse was forced to give the ball back to USF after only five plays.

This time USF made Syracuse defense pay. On the third play of the drive facing third and ten, Grothe found Taurus Johnson, who broke free for a 79 yard touchdown to give the Bulls a 20-3 advantage. The 79 yard pass was the longest completion in Grothe's career. Johnson ended the day with five receptions for 131 yards and one score.

Syracuse responded with their most impressive drive of the game. After returning the kickoff for a 35 yard gain, the Orange struggled before Patterson hit Moss for a 17 yard gain on third and 14. Patterson then completed an 11 yard pass to Paul Chiara followed by another 11 yard pass to Tom Ferron. Then on second and ten, Patterson hooked up with Mike Williams for a 26 yard touchdown to pull within ten.

The Bulls would add one more score to the board before time expired. After a USF punt forced Syracuse to start at their own three yard line, the offense stayed on the field for only two plays before Patterson's fumble was recovered by Chris Robinson. On the ensuing play, Pat Julmiste entered the game and scored on a three yard rush to give the Bulls a 27-10 lead. The Bulls' win became official late in the fourth quarter when Stephen Nicholas recorded an interception with less than five minutes remaining in the game.

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