The Pirates opened the game with the ball but were not able to hold on to it for too long. On the second play of the game, quarterback James Pickney attempted to give the ball to the running back for a draw play but the hand off was bobbled.
Linebacker Ben Moffitt was waiting to jump on the fumble to give the Bulls great field possession to open with. On the ensuing play, Benjamin Williams rushed up the middle for a 16-yard touchdown to give the Bulls an early 7-0 advantage.
After forcing the Pirates to go three and out, the Bulls put together a nice drive to add to their lead. On third and one from the Pirate's 47-yard line, Benjamin Williams broke free for a 20-yard gain. A few plays later, USF once again were faced with third and one at the one-yard line. Benjamin Williams received the call again and scored on a one yard score to put the Bulls ahead 14-0. By the end of the game, Williams was the difference maker with 17 rushes for 68 yards and two touchdowns.
East Carolina were quick to respond though with a 12 play, 81 yard drive that resulted in Pinkney completing a 48 yard touchdown pass to Ben Hartman to pull within one score. Pinkney struggle for the length of the game and completed only 8 of 25 passes for 1yards and one score before leaving due to an injury.
Early on in the second quarter, the Bulls were able to strike yet again. After running six consecutive short yardage plays, Grothe went deep for the first time on third and ten and found Amarri Jackson for a 37 yard touchdown to increase the Bulls' lead to 21-7.
USF would attempt put another score on the board midway through the second quarter. Facing fourth and two from the Pirates' 38-yard line, Grothe hit Carlton Hill for a 19-yard gain. This helped set up a 38 yard field goal by Delbert Alverado to put the Bulls up by three scores. On that drive, Grothe appeared to injure his ankle on a quarterback draw up the middle. He was able to return to the game with two minutes left for a few more plays before heading into the locker room for the game prior to halftime with a 24-7 lead.
Grothe was unable to return to the game and came out of halftime with a walking boot on his right foot and was diagnosed with a hairline fracture on his right shin. Grothe left the game after completing 6-10 for 81 yards and one touchdown while rushing the ball seven times for 15 yards.
The Bulls opened the second half with Pat Julmiste under center and quickly found Ean Randolph on the second play of the drive for a 21-yard gain. Later in the drive, Julmiste successfully completed two fourth down conversions with a sneak up the middle of the line. The drive quickly ended though after the Pirates jumped on a Ricky Ponton fumble. Julmiste had a good game replacing Grothe, completing 6-8 for 49 yards while carrying the ball 12 times for 52 yards.
The Pirates responded with an impressive drive beginning with a 29-yard rush by Dominique Lindsay. After driving into USF territory, Pinkney was faced with a third and nine from the South Florida 25-yard line. Pinkney took the snap and dropped back while a receiver broke free downfield. As Pinkney waited to launch the ball downfield, he looked like a deer in headlights as Louis Gachette unloaded on the quarterback. The sack pushed back East Carolina out of field goal range and gave the Bulls the ball back.
Early on in the fourth quarter, the Pirates would get another chance to score after missing a 46-yard field goal and forcing the Bulls to go three and out. The drive looked promising for the Pirates, beginning at the USF 42-yard line, but running back Brandon Fractious fumbled after only two plays and Woody George quickly jumped on the ball to help seal the fate of the Pirates.
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