Before anyone gets upset, let me say that I am very happy and proud of the Bulls for this signature win that will surely take them into the Top 15. However, this wasn't the Bulls' finest hour on offense and with the offensive coaching. The defense gave up a lot of yards, but it was in between the 20s and they came up with stop after stop so they deserve a friendly curve.
QUARTERBACK (C): This is the toughest grade to give out because Matt Grothe's athleticism directly led to a touchdown pass that gave the Bulls a 14-0 lead. However, the middle post play needs to be scrapped because it was the cause of two interceptions and a third errant pass that was thrown in triple coverage to Taurus Johnson. That being said Grothe made exceptional plays with his feet and did not turn the ball over in the second half.
RUNNING BACKS (B-): Mike Ford got the start and rushed for a 35-yard gain on his first carry then he got careless with the football and found himself on the bench. Jamar Taylor was called into action and had a strong night with 58 tough yards on 19 carries. Taylor's 19-yard touchdown was a perfect example of his tough, powerful running style and his underrated speed. Ben Williams lined up in several different positions and made an excellent, juggling catch in the first half. Taylor should get the start against FAU and he could prove to be the guy that is breaking away from this logjam at the position.
WIDE RECEIVERS (C-): Carlton Mitchell showed smarts and discipline to break open on Grothe's scramble and equally impressive balance to score the touchdown. Otherwise the receivers had a lackluster night catching just eight passes total. Amarri Jackson had a couple of drops on plays that he could have picked up solid yards. Jessie Hester was never able to find the ball. In general the unit didn't make plays when they had the opportunity and didn't do enough to create opportunities for Grothe to get them the ball when the original route wasn't there.
OFFENSIVE LINE (B-): Another solid performance from this unit. They continue to be consistent although they aren't dominate. Overall they gave Grothe decent time to throw the ball and did a respectable job on run blocking. The coaches should continue to challenge them with running game because that's where the strength lies in the offense.
COACHING (C-): Last week the offense hit a wall during a period in the game despite a season-high total in yardage. This week it was similar and the missed opportunities kept the Bulls from at least a three-score lead going into the half. The interceptions could've been avoided by exercising a little patience and putting more trust in a running game that could be very good. The Bulls have the talent at running back and the receivers that would lend itself to more I-formation and single-back formations than the spread. 274 yards against West Virginia is a season low and it's against a team they should have had much more success against. It's up to Coach Gregory to find an identity for this offense and less hits Grothe takes in the process, the better.
DEFENSIVE LINE (B+): The pass rush was excellent and they did a good job of bottling up Steve Slaton. George Selvie recorded another sack to bring his total to 9.5 and the Bulls had three sacks overall, including two on the Mountaineers' final drive. The majority of the running yards the Mountaineers gained were due to excellent individual efforts from Pat White and Jarrett Brown.
LINEBACKERS (A+): What can you say about Ben Moffit that hasn't already been said about electricity, ice cream and denim mini skirts? Life would not be as fun without any of them. Eight tackles, two interceptions (should have been three) and a touchdown that sent the record-crowd into a frenzy this program has never experienced. Moffit's play was two fold, obviously he took it upon himself to inspire this defense, but his touchdown also helped calm the nerves of the offense, who had already had three turnovers by that point in the game and were started to panic. In the end, Moffit proved himself to be this team's undisputed leader. I don't want to forget to mention the strong performance turned in by Tyrone McKenzie, who made some key open-field tackles.
SECONDARY (B): Nate Allen had 11 tackles, a fumble recovery that SHOULD have led to points (instead it led to an interception) and an interception at the goal line that saved at least a field goal. The secondary was solid. Trae Williams and Mike Jenkins were up for the challenge of covering the dangerous Mountaineer wide receivers and Carlton Williams (seven tackles, fumble recovery) had one of the hardest hits you will see in a college football game this year.
COACHING (B+): It took a while for USF to adjust to Brown, who is almost as athletic and a far better passer than Pat White, but Wally Burnham called two blitzes on West Virginia's final series to preserve the victory. The Bulls took Steve Slaton out of the game early and he wasn't a factor. USF forced six turnovers. The Bulls defense won the biggest game in the program's short and sweet history. If the Bulls win the Big East and play in a BCS Bowl, it will be because of this defense.
ATMOSPHERE (A+): I had a feeling people would take half days at work and really enjoy this experience for what it was. When I was stuck in traffic on Dale Mabry at 3:30 p.m., I knew I was right. It was a festive pre-game atmosphere and a fiery home crowd during the game. As disappointed as I was in last week's crowd, I was inspired by the green & gold dominated crowd of 67,018 at RayJay. I expect to see a similar crowd in two weeks for UCF. Sold out USF games don't have to be a novelty, this team could have the best home-field advantage in the Big East if the fans want it.