tampabay.com

Grothe hobbled, but again not expected to miss any games

By GREG AUMAN
Published November 5, 2006


TAMPA - For the second time in four games, freshman quarterback Matt Grothe left a game in the final quarter with an injury to his right foot, though the injury isn't expected to keep him from playing in Saturday's home finale against Syracuse.

Grothe, who ran for one score and a team-high 51 yards Saturday and put the game away with a 46-yard touchdown pass, suffered the injury on the third play of the fourth quarter, a 7-yard run.

He was helped off the field without putting weight on his right leg, then was carted off the field for X-rays. He had a boot on his right foot after the game, but declined requests for interviews.

When Grothe injured his foot Oct. 7 against Connecticut, he wore the boot for two days at practice and still returned healthy enough to lead USF to a win at North Carolina.

Senior Pat Julmiste, who has 24 career starts, took over for Grothe on Saturday and had two key plays in the final quarter, recovering Ricky Ponton's fumble and converting on fourth and 1 to help salt away the clock. He rushed 10 times for 45 yards.

NOT TOO SMART: With his team down 16 points, Pittsburgh tight end Darrell Strong caught a touchdown with 6:22 left in the game, knowing the Panthers needed a 2-point conversion to pull within a single score.

Strong was flagged for a personal foul when he raised his middle finger to the crowd. That forced Pitt to try the conversion from the 18-yard line, and Tyler Palko's pass sailed out of bounds.

Saturday night, the Associated Press reported that coach Dave Wannstedt suspended Strong indefinitely.

"Our football program and university have very high standards and we will not tolerate the behavior Darrell Strong displayed today," Wannstedt said in a statement.

Strong apologized in a separate statement.

Pittsburgh was penalized 11 times for 96 yards, both more than double its average.

NOT AGAIN: USF's kicking woes continued, as freshman Delbert Alvarado, who took over on kicks last month after Mike Benzer was ineffective, had a 37-yard field goal blocked and missed an extra point wide.

Alvarado lined up for a 47-yard field goal in the fourth quarter but took the snap directly and punted into the end zone.

ONE MORE: Linebacker Stephen Nicholas had two sacks, moving him into second place on USF's career tackles-for-loss list, tied with Terrence Royal at 47.5. Nicholas has three games to catch Greg Walls, who set the record of 48 from 1999-2002.

THIS AND THAT: Grothe's 76 percent completion percentage (19-for-25) is the second-best in USF history for 20 or more attempts. ...Trae Williams' fourth-quarter interception gave him six this season, tying J.R. Reed for the second-best season total in USF history. Reed also has the record, with seven in 2003. ... Senior safety Jeremy Burnett had his first career interception and junior cornerback Mike Jenkins had his first of the season, off a deflection by Williams.