On paper this was supposed to be an easy victory, but during an ugly first half mired with an interception, a muffed punt, stalled drives and two missed field goals, it seemed like it would be anything but easy.
The first half wasn't pretty, but by the time it was over the Bulls cruised to a 35-13 win over the Hilltoppers, their 13th straight regular season nonconference win, and USF QB Matt Grothe became the Big East's all-time leader in total offense. Grothe threw for 208 yards and two touchdowns, and added 53 yards rushing for a career total yardage of 10,702, breaking former West Virginia star Pat White's record of 10,329.
Grothe broke the Conference total offense record with 10 minutes to go in the first half on a 12-yard scramble, and finished with two touchdown passes, a 14-yard fade to Theo Wilson and a 17 yard toss to Ben Busbee in the back of the end zone. was classic Grothe, He was almost sacked, ducked down, scrambled and hit Busbee in the back of the end zone for a 28-13 lead.
Helping the Bulls overcome a sluggish start was senior running back Moise Plancher had 115 yards rushing and two touchdowns for USF, becoming the first Bulls rusher to go over the century mark since November 2007, and Carlton Mitchell who had 124 yards on 4-catches. Also helping the cause was slew of 13 WKU penalties for 124 yards.
At the half WKU trailed the Bulls by only 14-6, and the score remained the same midway through the third until Grothe hit Carlton Mitchell for a 65-yard pass that set up a touchdown run by redshirt freshmen BJ Daniels. Daniels came in, Grothe went wide in a version of the wildcat and B.J. showed his speed on the 7-yard scamper.
The pesky Hilltoppers wouldn't go away, and thanks to a personal foul penalty by the Bulls Tyson Butler on an incomplete third-down pass WKU got within 21-13 when Marell Booker scored on a 15-yard run with 27 seconds left in the third. But that's as close as they got.
On the ensuing drive the Bulls drove the field 60 yards on 7 plays and capped it with a 17-yard toss to TE Ben Busbee. The touchdown to Busbee was classic Grothe; he was almost sacked, ducked down, scrambled and hit Busbee in the back of the end zone for a 28-13 lead.
On the next series, LB Chris Robinson made a big stop when WKU went for it on fourth-and-2 from its 42. On the ensuing drive the Bulls marched the field and finished the drive with a 20-yard Mo Plancher TD, his second of the night and a 35-lead with just over 6-minutes to play.
The Bulls defense applied pressure all night and WKU quarterback Brandon Smith ran for 105 yards but only completed 13 of 26 passes for 84 yards and was sacked three times.
Matt Grothe - 14-23 for 214 yards with 2 TDs and 1
Mo Plancher - 18 rushes for 116 yards with 2 TDs
Matt Grothe - 11 rushes for 55 yards
Lindsey Lamar - 7 rushes for 54 yards with a 7.7 average
Aston Samuels - 1 rush for 13 yards
BJ Daniels - 4 rushes 11 yards
Carlton Mitchell - 4 catches for 129 yards with an average of 32.3
AJ Love - 3 catches for 32 yards with an average of 10.7
Ben Busbee - 1 catch for 17 yards, 1 TD
Theo Wilson - 1 catch for 14 yards, 1 TD
Patrick Richardson - 2 catches for 14 yards
Evan Landi - 1 catch for 4 yards
Lindsey Lamar - 1 catch for 3 yards
Mo Plancher - 1 catch for 1 yard
Chris Robinson - 8 tackles, 2 tackles for loss
Nate Allen - 5 solo tackles, 2 assists, 1 pass breakup
Kion Wilson - 3 solo tackles, 4 assists
Sabbath Joseph - 4 tackles
George Selvie - 3 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 pass breakup
Kayvon Webster - 3 tackles, 1 pass breakup
Terrell McClain - 3 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack
Craig Marshall - 2 solo tackles, 1 assist, 1 pass breakup
Mistral Raymond - 1 solo tackle, 2 assists, 1 interception
David Bedford - 2 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack
Ryne Giddins - 1 solo tackle, 1 assist, 0.5 sack, 1.5 tackles for loss
Tyson Butler - 1 solo tackle, 1 assist, 0.5 sack
Quenton Washington - 1 solo tackle, 1 assist
Delbert Alvarado - 0-2 FGs, 5-5 PAT, 2 punts a 45.5 average