USF vs Oregon: Sun Bowl Quarterback Breakdown

The Sun Bowl is two weeks away and while the Bulls are practicing for their third straight Bowl game. Take a look a closer look at the quarterbacks that will play in El Paso. Only on USFNation.com

 

Scouting the Bulls quarterbacks

 

The heart and soul of the Bulls offense is sophomore Matt Grothe, a 6 foot 200 pound duel threat quarterback that hails from Lakeland, FL. Grothe is not necessarily the prototypical quarterback, but does what it takes to win and led a Bulls offense that has scored a program record 430 points (35.7ppg) and 5,059 yards (421.6tpg) this season, and they still have another game to go.  In the last four games leading up to the bowl, the Bulls also have averaged 43.4 points and 474 yards.

 

During the season Grothe did it all for the Bulls. Throwing for 2,473 yards with 13 scores, while setting USF quarterback season records for rushing yards (832), rushing TD's (10), 100 yard rushing games (3) and total offense (3,305).  He also set a new school record for yards passing in a game with 382 vs. Cincinnati. Against Pittsburgh, Grothe had an 80-yard TD run, the longest TD run of his career, and the longest TD run by a quarterback in USF history. Grothe's 19 career rushing TDs, is one shy of the USF record for QBs.

In a 64-12 win over UCF, Grothe completed 15-of-28 passes with two touchdowns, rushed for over 100 yards, adding two scores, and was awarded a MCS Nike game Ball. Against UConn he rushed for career high and USF quarterback record 146 yards, the ninth best rushing day by a QB in BIG EAST history. Grothe is one of those special quarterbacks, a gamer, a competitor, and a warrior. He's not very big, but has got that something. Call it spunk, moxie, or whatever, but he's got it. When he's on the field He can beat you with his arm, legs or his pure will to win.

 

Next in line for the Bulls is Junior Grant Gregory, a 6'1 210 pound gun slinger from Athens, OH, and son of USF offensive coordinator Greg Gregory. Gregory has only seen limited action this season, but has made the most of the four games he's played in. For the season Gregory completed 11 of 19 pass attempts for 241 yards and three scores, and an impressive 216.55 rating, while rushing 9 times for 43 yards. He had his best outing in relief against UCF, going 4-6 for 125 yards and two scores including a 75 yard touchdown score to redshirt freshman Carlton Mitchell. Against Louisville Gregory went 2-4 for 57 yards including a 34 yard pass to A.J. Love that was fumbled into the end zone and recovered by Dontavia Bogan.

Grant might have gotten his biggest fame against Syracuse, when he took a QB draw, collided with a safety, giving as much as he got, but emerged from the pile with blood pouring down his face from a cut on the bridge of his nose. The image was played and replayed on TV, before finding its way to the internet where it was viewed even more. Gregory has proven that like Grothe he is a warrior, and when needed can step in and lead the Bulls.

 

Fifth year senior Anthony Severino 6'2-185, is listed as third string quarterback for the Bulls. Even though he has been a back-up for his career and not been called on to throw many passes, he also serves as holder on field goals. Against UCF Severino threw his first touchdown as a Bull, A 28-yard toss to Jessie Hester Jr.

 

 

Scouting the Ducks quarterbacks  

Heisman Trophy candidate Dennis Dixon led the Ducks to an 8-1 record and for a little while, a No. 2 ranking. He also helped the Ducks achieve the Pac-10's top offense that is ranked No. 12 in the nation, and averaged 462.1 yards per game and recorded 55 touchdowns on the year. In that span that Dixon played he completed 171 of 243 for 2,129 yards with 20 touchdowns and 4 picks. His season was derailed when he injured his knee against Arizona State, and then tried to play at Arizona on Nov. 15 before getting knocked out for the year with a diagnosed torn ACL.

Senior Brady Leaf 6'5-225, was listed as second string and completed 164-of-298 (55 percent), with 1,615 yards, nine touchdowns and nine interceptions in his career. Leaf entered late in the first quarter at Arizona after Dixon was finally unable to play through the injury. Leaf went 22-of-46 for 163 yards with two interceptions in the loss, but suffered a sprained left ankle in the game that eventually required surgery, and ended his season.


Oregon's third-string quarterback was sophomore Nathan Costa 6'1-220, who tore the ACL and MCL ligaments in his left knee during practice that required surgery. and ended his season.

Red shirt freshman Cody Kempt
a 6-foot-2, 210-pound south paw from Portland was listed as fifth string but saw his first significant action at UCLA after Leaf went down. Kempt finished that day 6-for-23 for 52 yards, with three turnovers. Kempt started against Oregon State, but didn't make it through the first quarter before suffering a concussion and left the game with 0-3 completions, one rush and one sack, and  minus-three yards of offense. For the season Kempt was 6 of 26 for 52 yards and two interceptions.


Redshirt freshman Justin Roper a 6-6, 205-pound right-hander from Georgia with a strong arm was listed as fourth string, Roper also saw some time at UCLA when leaf went down going 1-5 for 8 yards and a pick Even though Kempt earned the start at Oregon State. Roper replaced him after the concussion knocked him out of the game. Roper had an early interception on a tipped pass before finishing with 144 yards and two touchdowns on13-for-25 passing, and ran for a score. On the season Roper is 15 of 31 for 161 yards with two scores, and two interceptions.


Before the injuries to the top three at the position, both redshirt freshmen were fourth and fifth string, meaning that most of the season they worked with the scout team in practice, simulating opposing team's offenses rather than practicing the Ducks playbook.

During bowl practice Justin Roper and Cody Kempt each took turns running the first-team offense, and Coach Mike Bellotti, has not yet named a starter for the bowl game, but says they are both getting better and becoming more familiar with the offense as they continue to practice.

Even without Dixon the ducks are still dangerous. In the last loss to Oregon State, Justin Roper threw for 144 yards on 13-for-25 passing with two touchdowns, and ran for one. Oregon likes to run the spread with a mobile QB. We may not know will be starting yet, but we know that one of these ducks will be throwing at the Sun Bowl.

Interesting stat: USF quarterback Matt Grothe actually averaged more yards of total offense per game than injured Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon for the season (275.4 yards to 271.9), but Dixon's limited play at Arizona plays a part.

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