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USF defeats Charleston Southern 59-0

TAMPA — USF did just about everything right Saturday night, but the Bulls still came away with a major loss.

USF scored touchdowns on eight of its nine drives, quarterback B.J. Daniels had 105 yards rushing and 149 yards passing and USF blew out Charleston Southern 59-0 at Raymond James Stadium Saturday night.

But the biggest story of the night came on a scary moment came in the second quarter for USF, when senior quarterback Matt Grothe appeared to get sandwiched between tacklers on quarterback keeper, causing his left knee to buckle.

USF coach Jim Leavitt and the trainers sprinted out to Grothe.

“I saw it right away. It was almost like something told me to sprint out before it happened. I don’t know what,” Leavitt said. “It was a tough moment.”

Grothe limped off the field with the help of trainers and did not return. The initial diagnosis is a sprained knee. Leavitt said the team will know more Sunday or Monday and didn’t put a timetable on the injury.

Daniels stepped in and hooked up with junior Dontavia Bogan for a 50-yard touchdown pass right before halftime, giving USF a 35-0 lead. It was Bogan’s second touchdown reception of the game.

“He’s a playmaker. He has big-time ability,” said wide receiver coach Phil McGeoghan. “He didn’t have a catch last week and came with the right attitude. He was determined to make an impact and did just that.”

If Grothe can’t play against FSU next weekend, Daniels will assume full-time quarterback duties with redshirt freshman Evan Landi as his backup, Leavitt said.

Daniels’ 105 yards on eight carries were the most rushing yards by a USF quarterback since Grothe had 146 against Connecticut in 2007.

“I felt like I had a pretty good handle on the offense,” Daniels said. “I’m confident in my athletic ability.”

There’s no denying Grothe’s athletic ability. No. 1 concern, Leavitt said, is his health.

“Matt’s a franchise guy,” Leavitt said. “He’s a special, special guy. He’s one of the great names out there. I feel real bad for him. Hopefully, it won’t be too bad but we’ll have to wait and see what happens.”

More on this story in the Oracle Monday.