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Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Unpredictable Grothe legs out win
By BRENDAN GALELLA, Times Correspondent
Published October 7, 2007
South Florida quarterback Matt Grothe (8) runs the ball in for a touchdown in the second half against Florida Atlantic in Fort Lauderdale, Saturday.
FORT LAUDERDALE - Unable to move the ball effectively through the air, USF quarterback Matt Grothe was forced to revert to his freshman ways.
Instead of the pinpoint passing that helped him complete 63.7 percent of his passes in 2006, the sophomore had to rely on his legs to lead USF to a 35-23 victory Saturday over Florida Atlantic.
"We're struggling throwing the ball. Matt's struggling throwing it," offensive coordinator Greg Gregory said. "He missed a touchdown tonight, missed a crossing route that should have been a big play.
"He's just not throwing well, but it shows you what kind of competitor he is, because he cranked it up running the ball."
For the past two games, Grothe has set a new low for passing yards in any game he has finished, aside from a 47-yard effort against Cincinnati last season.
During the Bulls' upset win Sept.28 over West Virginia, Grothe was held to 135 yards and threw his first two interceptions of the season.
A subpar performance in Saturday's second half almost let the Owls pull off the upset. Grothe threw eight times, completing three for 20 yards, in the final 30 minutes. He had 122 yards passing overall, going 17-of-27.
"They dropped eight or nine guys and it was hard to find passing lanes," Grothe said. "When the defensive end gave me a corner (to run), it worked out well."
The combination of dropped passes and misjudged throws made Grothe's running mandatory.
He finished with a career-high 120 yards on 14 attempts. Saturday was the first 100-yard game of his career.
Because Grothe demonstrated his rushing skills previously, USF knew its quarterback could handle the burden of becoming one of the primary runners.
"I'm real comfortable with him. Grothe is a great quarterback," defensive end George Selvie said. "I'm really happy with him and I wouldn't take anybody else over him."
In the second half, with the Bulls facing fourth and 1 from the FAU 32-yard line, Grothe ran a keeper and scrambled down the left sideline, cut back to find the end zone and gave USF a lead it wouldn't surrender.
The highlight reel run is something the Bulls have become accustomed to but are trying to avoid so Grothe doesn't have the injury problems he suffered last season.
"He pulls that stuff all the time. The play is never over with Grothe," Bulls center Nick Capogna said.
"It makes my job a lot easier because with him back there you never know what he's going to do, but he'll find a way to get what we need."