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No late-game heroics for Grothe

It was just one wish that couldn’t be answered.

Junior quarterback Matt Grothe has made a career out of dodging tacklers, keeping plays alive and finding open receivers.

He’s become nationally recognized for his ability to make something out of nothing.

On Saturday — while playing a team USF scored 55 points against last year — Grothe ran out of miracles.

With time winding down and the Bulls running out of chances, Grothe tried to save the day once again. He was being pressured and forced a pass to avoid taking a sack.

He avoided the sack, but threw an interception to linebacker Johnny Patrick and sealed USF’s fate.

“When (Grothe) threw that interception, he was just trying so hard to make something happen,” coach Jim Leavitt said. “I know you can’t throw the interception, but the poor guy was just battling for his life, and he didn’t want to take a sack.”

Grothe was trying to make a play with the game — and any hopes of a Big East title — on the line.

Down by four with time winding down, he had little choice. The Bulls’ defense allowed Louisville to march down the field late in the game after Grothe orchestrated a scoring drive that gave the Bulls a 20-17 lead.

The offensive line also allowed Grothe to get sacked five times, putting the team in a position that forced risky plays.

“We just didn’t protect enough — that’s what I thought was a big problem,” Leavitt said. “I thought Matt Grothe did some great things. I thought he was courageous. I thought he played extremely well.”

Grothe said an injury to starting right tackle Marc Dile could have hurt the Bulls.

“We got some guys knocked out and had some other guys in there who haven’t always been in there,” he said.

Grothe threw for 344 yards and two touchdowns, but threw two interceptions and was held to minus-27 yards on the ground.

He said the team can’t afford to focus on the loss, however.

“Losing is part of life, and so is winning,” Grothe told the St. Petersburg Times. “It’s already in the past. We just need to worry about our next game.”