Saturday’s game between USF and the University of Louisville Cardinals was a national showcase for two of the top quarterbacks in the Big East conference. Both have been compared to some of football’s best quarterbacks. Only one played like one.
Matt Grothe – who has been compared to a young Steve Young for his ability to make a play out of a seemingly impossible situation – led an offensive attack that saw USF put up 41 first-half points – one point shy of tying the Bulls’ record for points in a half.
Grothe did this by doing what he has done all season. He mixed well-timed runs with an efficient passing attack.
“I think he (Grothe) played really well, maybe his best game,” USF offensive coordinator Greg Gregory said. “He was real efficient throwing. And he scrambled well.”
During the first half, Grothe was nearly flawless. He completed his first seven pass attempts of the first half, and went into halftime 13-of-16 for 142 yards and two touchdowns.
Grothe also contributed on the ground. He carried the ball nine times for an additional 71 yards in the first two quarters.
“He ran the ball well, and I thought he played real well,” Gregory said.
The other quarterback in this game didn’t have a night he wants to remember. UL’s Brian Brohm – who figures to be a first-round pick in the National Football League draft in April – had one of the worst outings in his collegiate career.
Brohm, despite setting school and Big East Conference records for career passing yards, had a game he’s likely going to want to forget.
Brohm, who has been compared to great pocket-passers like Peyton Manning, threw for a career-high three interceptions – one of which was taken 63 yards for a touchdown by senior cornerback Trae Williams – and a season-low 213 yards.
The game against the Bulls was also the first time this season that Brohm failed to complete at least 50 percent of his passes, and the first time since Nov. 10, 2004, when he went 4-of-10 as a freshman against TCU.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Grothe had a game that he needed. After taking a lot of heat during USF’s three-game losing streak, Grothe was back to his early-season form for the second straight game.
“I think he plays well most of the time,” Gregory said. “I think that there were maybe two games where he hadn’t been at the top of his game this year. For the most part, he’s been pretty sharp.”