USF Shocks No.17 Auburn 26-23 in OT

The Bulls pulled off the upset at No.17/14 Auburn when Matt Grothe Hit Jessie Hester Jr. for a 14 yard score in overtime Saturday night. USF's defense forced the Tigers into five turnovers in the amazing victory at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Read all about the Bulls thrilling overtime win. Only on USFNation.com - Get it First, Get it Fast!

Bulls quarterback Matt Grothe threw a 14 yard touchdown pass to sophomore Jessie Hester Jr. to give the Bulls a stunning 26-23 overtime win over No. 17 Auburn Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

 

"That was a play we just put in this week," Hester says of his touchdown catch. "We had worked so hard to come back and I had so many people counting on me that I knew I had to catch it." .

 

The Tigers got the ball first in OT, but the Bulls defense held them to only two yards and had to settle for a 40 yard filed goal by Wes Byrum, his third of the night.

 

USF got the ball and gained 11 yards including a quarterback sneak on 4th and one, and then Grothe found Hester for the game winning score, and the biggest win in the programs history.

 

The Bulls jumped out to an early lead with 9:06 left in the first on a one yard rush TD by Grothe, his 10th rushing touchdown of his career after getting great filed position.

 

Jerome Murphy retuned the opening kick-off 26 yards, and then after the offense stalled, Delbert Alvarado kicked a 40 yard punt to the Auburn one-yard line. After a three and out the Bulls got the ball back on the Tiger 45 yard line.

 

The Bulls scored in just five plays thanks to a great run by Mike Ford, and the drive was kept alive on a third down pass interference call on Jonathan Wilhite. Lining up in the shotgun, Matt Grothe faked the hand-off and scored the touchdown off a quarterback keeper from a yard out.

The Tigers got on the board with a field goal with 4:19 left in the first. After driving 48 yards on nine plays, the Tigers were hit with an illegal procedure penalty and settled for a 49-yard field goal by Wes Byrum. That cut the USF lead to 7-3.

The Bulls then put together a very impressive drive, driving 69 yards on seven plays including a fantastic one-handed catch by receiver Taurus Johnson for 23 yards to the Auburn 31 on third and eight that is destined for the highlight reel.

On the next play, Grothe kept the ball and scampered past Auburn defenders for a 27-yard gain. Two plays later the drive was capped by a two-yard TD run by Mike Ford out of the two-back set that gave the Bulls a 14-3 lead with 1:56 left in the opening quarter and silenced the crowd.

Auburn responded on their next possession by driving 65 yards on seven plays capped by a four yard touchdown by Mario Fannin with 14:15 left in the second quarter. His first college score that cut the Bulls lead to 14-10.

First year starting free safety Nate Allen recorded his second interceptions in as many games when he picked off Bryan Cox in the end zone to stop a Tiger scoring drive. Against the Bulls defense Cox struggled through out the night, going 16-for-35 for 165 yards and two interceptions.

The Bulls were pinned deep in their own territory for most of the second quarter and the Tigers took advantage of the good field position. They drove 37 yards in eight plays including a fourth and four on the USF 31, a 15 yard run by Fannin to the three, capped by a three-yard score by tight end Gabe McKenzie from Cox to put the Tigers up 17-14 with 29 seconds left in the half.

Auburn got the second half kickoff, but on a fourth and inches play Cox lost ball on a QB sneak that was recovered by Nate Allen at the USF 41, his first ever fumble recovery as a Bull.

Late in the third the Tigers got off lucky an escaped without giving up points after South Florida drove the ball deep into Auburn territory before Delbert Alvarado missed a 37-yard field goal try that was wide left with 6:59 left in the third. His first of four misses in the second half

On the ensuing drive, Nate Allen stripped Mario Fannin his first career fumble deep in Auburn territory, recovered by Tyller Roberts, who made his first career start. Allen had an interception, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble in the game. That set up USF for another field goal attempt with 1:01 left, a 45-yarder that Alvarado missed wide left again.

Linebacker Tyrone McKenzie's first fumble recovery as a bull made it the third time the Bulls were in the red zone in a seven minutes span. Alvarado had another chance to tie the game but had a field goal try blocked by Sen'Derrick Marks.

The Bulls finally tied the game with a 38 yards field goal by Alvarado with 7:46 to play to end an 11-play, 44-yard drive.

On their next offensive play Cox was intercepted by Mike Jenkins, who returned the pick to the Auburn three before being pushed out of bounds. The Bulls couldn't punch it in and again the Tigers escaped harm when Alvarado was wide left on a 21-yard field goal try with 6:15 left in the game.

In all the Tigers had five turnovers, but the Bulls weren't able to convert them into a single point.

The Tigers responded by driving into Bulls territory to set up a 46-yard field goal by Byrum with 2:54 left in regulation.

On the ensuing kick-off Jerome Murphy's had a dazzling 59-yard kickoff return to the Auburn 32. The Bulls then drove to the Tigers two, and Alvarado hit a 19-yard field goal with 55 seconds remaining to tie the game.

In overtime, the Bulls won the coin toss and elected to play defense first. Auburn could only muster 2 yards, but Wes Byrum then hit a line drive 40-yard field goal to put Auburn ahead 23-20 with 2:56 left in the game.

The Bulls got the ball and gained 11 yards including three runs Grothe, and a quarterback sneak on 4th and one. Grothe then found Hester for the game winning score, a huge win, and a great birthday present.

 

Playing on his birthday, Grothe completed 18-of-27 passes for 184 yards and also rushed for 31 yards and a touchdown.

This is by far the biggest win for the program and it should have all kinds of implications from National votes in polls to recruiting for the Bulls.

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