Injured Grothe regains footing

Published October 8, 2006

TAMPA - The uncertainty lasted only three offensive plays, but USF fans held their breath for a few uneasy moments as quarterback Matt Grothe was helped off the field after injuring his right foot.

Grothe wasn't so sure himself.

"When I first did it, I thought I broke something. It was the worst pain ever," said Grothe, who said he sprained ligaments in his foot on a 2-yard run on the first play of the second quarter. "I've broken a few bones before, and in the past, it's gone numb, and that's how it went. I thought I'd messed something up pretty bad."

Coach Jim Leavitt had his worries, too.

"They told me it was more serious than it was. I thought he was out," Leavitt said. "Then they said he was going to come back. That's a pretty good medical staff."

With Grothe out, senior Pat Julmiste made his first appearance since the season opener. On USF's next drive Grothe, his right foot freshly taped, returned to the field to cheers from the Raymond James Stadium crowd.

The injury hardly limited Grothe's running, as he added rushing touchdowns of 8 and 6 yards in the third quarter. Grothe rushed four times for 36 yards on one drive, his touchdown giving the Bulls a 28-9 lead.

After throwing a touchdown to Amarri Jackson with 12:29 left in the game, Grothe sat the rest of the game, with Julmiste and sophomore Grant Gregory taking over for the Bulls.

Senior receiver Ean Randolph left with a hip injury in the second quarter. Jackson took over punt-return duties.

FLAGS FLYING: USF and Connecticut entered the game ranked among the nation's most and least penalized teams, respectively, and both teams upheld their reputations in the opening half.

USF had nine penalties for 79 yards by halftime, exceeding its per-game average, with defensive end George Selvie and cornerback Mike Jenkins each contributing three flags in the first half.

USF finished with a season-high 15 penalties for 113 yards, still three flags short of the school record, matched last season against Cincinnati.

NEW LINE: USF had its fifth different starting offensive line in six games, with sophomore Ryan Schmidt getting his first career start at right guard, as junior Walter Walker slid over to start at right tackle. Junior Marc Dile, who had started four games at right tackle, did not play in the first half but took over at right tackle in the second.

THIS AND THAT: Safety Nate Allen, one of six true freshmen to play this season, did not dress. No reason was given for the decision. ... Another freshman, defensive tackle Aaron Harris, made his first start. ... Plant High quarterback Robert Marve, who has made an oral commitment to Alabama, was among the recruits USF hosted. ... Leavitt challenged an official's ruling for the first time. The call on a completed UConn pass was upheld after review.