"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
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
On the next play, Grothe kept the ball and scampered past
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
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
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
In overtime, the Bulls won the coin toss and elected to play defense first.
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.
USFNation.com - Get it First, Get it Fast!