USFNation Game Grades: USF vs. ECU

On Saturday, The Bull's won their first ever bowl game in dominating fashion over East Carolina 24-7. USFNation.com hands out game grades position-by-position for the final game of the season. Read on to see how they graded out. Only on USFNation.com!

Quarterbacks: Matt Grothe's first ever bowl game certainly did not end like the true freshman had hoped. After completing 6-10 passes for 81 yards and one touchdown and rushing he ball seven times for 24 yards, Grothe had to leave the game in the second quarter with a hairline fracture in his right leg. His replacement was Senior and previous starter Pat Julmiste. Julmiste looked great in relief completing 6-8 for 49 yards while rushing the ball 12 times for 55 yards. Most importantly neither quarterback was intercepted. Both players looked good and did just enough to lead the Bulls to a win at the inaugural PapaJohns.com Bowl.
USFNation Staff Grade: B+

Wide Receivers: Although no single receiver stepped up to become the top playmaker, each player contributed during Saturday's victory. Nine different play recorded receptions, but the biggest came courtesy of Amarri Jackson. Early on in the second quarter leading 14-0, Grothe went deep and found Jackson who made his only catch of the game for a 37-yard touchdown. While Jackson was the only wide out to reach the end zone, Ean Randolph led al receivers with two catches for 27 yards while Cedric Hill was a close second with two receptions for 22 yards.
USFNation Staff Grade: B

Running Backs: Benjamin Williams was key in giving the Bulls early momentum against the Pirates. On the first offensive play from scrimmage, the sophomore running back broke free for a 16 yard score to give the bulls and early 7-0 advantage. On the ensuing drive, Williams attempted to reenact is previous performance. Carrying the ball four times for 21 yards during a 56-yard drive that helped the Bulls reach the end zone yet again. The drive concluded with a one yard score by Williams on fourth and goal from the one-yard line. By the end of the day, Williams gained 68 yards on the ground off 17 carries with an average of 4.0 yards per carry. It was his two first quarter score although that gave the Bulls an early spark during Saturday's victory. Backup running back Ricky Ponton carried the ball only four times for 12 yards.
USFNation Staff Grade: B+

Offensive Line: Overall as a unit, the big men up front played an excellent game. They allowed both Matt Grothe and Pat Julmiste more than enough time needed to be successful. Most importantly, the offensive line only allowed one sack all day long and paved the way for the offense to pick up 156 yards on the ground and 130 yards in the air.
USFNation Staff Grade: A-

Defensive backs: USF entered the game without their starting safety Jeremy Burnett. However Danny Verpaele had a great game with 5 tackles, 3 pass break-ups and almost had two interceptions. Louis Gachette had a huge sack for an eleven yard loss on 3rd down that took ECU out of field goal range, and Carlton Williams had 6 tackles and a hit on Pickney. Also cornerback Mike Jenkins had 3 tackles, 3 pass breakups, and held Aundrae Allison to 24 yards on 3 catches. The only score given up was a 45 yard Td to Bobby Good defended by Trae Williams.
USFNation Staff Grade: B+

Linebackers: With Patrick St. Louis playing with an injured ankle, linebackers Steven Nicholas and Ben Moffitt came up huge against East Carolina. Although St. Louis showed tremendous dedication and heart in his final game in a Bulls' uniform, the senior ended his career with only one tackle on the day but assisted in harassing the Pirates' quarterback all day long. Stephen Nicholas proved to be the most impressive defensive player of the game though with six tackles and three tackles for a combined loss of 22 yards. He also added two sacks on the day, which helped him in breaking Terrance Royals' USF record of 19.5 sacks in a season. Nicholas finished the year with 20 sacks. Junior Ben Moffitt was the main reason Benjamin Williams was even given a chance to score his first touchdown. On East Carolina's second play of the game, quarterback James Pinkney attempted to hand off to his running back but the ball was fumbled during the play. The ball bounced away from the Pirates and towards the Bulls' defense where a Ben Moffitt was waiting to scoop up the turnover at the 16-yard line. Later on in the fourth quarter, the pirates were attempting a comeback, but once again Moffitt derailed their efforts. After the Pirates drove down to the four-yard line, linebackers Nicholas and Moffitt registered back-to-back sacks for a combined loss of 20 yards. By the end of the game, Moffitt had six tackles, one tackles for a loss, one fumble recovery, and one sack.

The linebackers were one of the main reasons why the Pirates were held to –6 yards in the first half and only 54 total rushing yards for the game.
USFNation Staff Grade: A+

D-line: The defensive line that was a question mark early in the season came up huge against the Pirates. They applied pressure throughout the game and held ECU to 53 yards rushing. George Selvie led the Bulls with 9 tackles, 3 of them for loss, and a forced fumble. Josh Julmiste had sack for a 9 yard loss, a forced fumble to go with 3 tackles. Chris Robinson and Allen Cray each had a sack, and Woody George recovered a fumble.
USFNation Staff Grade: A+

Special teams: The Bulls special teams had a solid game. Freshmen kicker Delbert Alvarado made a 38 yard field goal, his only attempt of the day. Ean Randolph had 3 returns his longest a 28 yard punt return. Justin Teachey had 6 punts with a 36.0 average, and the Bulls held ECU to 113 yards on eight returns.
USFNation Staff Grade: B-

 

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