And for a week things were back to normal.
USF dominated Louisville for the second time in three years and completed a 5-1 home record while drawing record attendance. It was a special senior night for a lot of the guys who were responsible for the emergence of this program. Walter Walker, Ben Moffitt, Amarri Jackson, Mike Jenkins, Trae Williams and even those forgotten prospects like Courtney Denson. They all played a big role into to something that is on the cusp of something special.
As for the game, like I said, USF dominated Louisville
QUARTERBACK (B+): Matt Grothe was almost perfect for the first half and only a silly interception in the second half kept this grade from being an 'A'. The first half was beautiful and he threw some beautiful passes, especially the 30-yard scoring strike to Carlton Mitchell. For the first half Grothe was 13-of-16 for 142 yards and two touchdowns and finished the game with over 194 yards. He didn't throw much in the second half with the Bulls ahead 41-10 and trying to bleed the clock. Grothe also continued to run well and added a 14-yard touchdown. Midway through the fourth quarter Grant Gregory was able to get some snaps with the second team.
RUNNING BACK (A): Mike Ford set the pace with a 43-yard run on the Bulls' first offensive play and it looked like he was headed towards a 200-yard game. His carries were reduced for the middle portion of the game but he finished with 140 yards on 24 carries and scored twice. Ford has definitely established himself as the top running back in the program right now.
WIDE RECEIVERS (A-): Hard to find much fault with these guys as they put in another strong effort catching and blocking. Taurus Johnson still doesn't look like he is 100% but he's getting closer. Carlton Mitchell ran a beautiful route and scored on a 30-yard post pattern while Marcus Edwards also grabbed a touchdown pass in the back of the end zone. The younger guys continue to get involved in the offense with freshman Jason Sherman making a nice grab on a scoring drive.
OFFENSIVE LINE (A+): It was a stellar performance by this unit and it was great to see Walter Walker back on the field. There's little doubt the offensive line is so much better with him in there even if he's just 75% and wearing a huge knee brace. The running lanes were wide enough for a truck to drive through on occasion and the pass blocking was superb. Louisville's defense doesn't put up much resistance but consistency is the key with any offensive line.
OFFENSIVE COACHING (B+): I only had one issue with the offensive playcalling and it was on the series in which Grothe threw the interception. It started off with a nice Ford run but inexplicably USF went to the spread again and Grothe loss yards on consecutive carries before throwing the pick. It was frustrating because that drive had the looks of being a perfect drive to eat the clock and close out the game. Obviously patience with the running game doesn't come overnight but it is getting much better.
DEFENSIVE LINE (B): The pass rush wasn't around on every play but the defensive line gave Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm a consistent problem to deal with throughout the game as Jarriet Buie and George Selvie put him on the ground several times. Buie had two sacks but one was nullified by a defensive hold.
LINEBACKERS (B+): Tyrone McKenzie had the play of the game for this group, a jarring hit and fumble recovery on Anthony Allen. Ben Moffitt had three opportunitys to make big plays and surpringly he didn't make any of them the way he would have wanted to. Still we know what Moffitt can do and now we are starting to see what McKenzie and Brouce Mompremier can do and will continue to do in 2008.
SECONDARY (A-): Well Nate Allen caused a fumble, recovered it and scored a touchdown on the opening kickoff and Trae Williams closed the first half with a 64-yard interception return for a touchdown. Mike Jenkins also had a first half interception and Louis Gachette picked off Brohm in the second half. Jerome Murphy also had an interception. The dynamic duo dominated Louisville receivers one-on-one but backup Ryan Gilliam was victimized on a 59-yard scoring play.
SPECIAL TEAMS (B): I hate missed extra points and Delbert Alvarado missed one! Allen's touchdown keeps the grade high.
DEFENSIVE COACHING (A+): Louisville isn't the Louisville of last year but anytime you can shut down one of the nation's top quarterbacks and probable first-round NFL draft choice you deserve a salute. Coach Burnham, I salute you!
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