USF did just about everything right Saturday night, but the Bulls still came away with a major loss.
The Bulls’ 59-0 victory over Charleston Southern at Raymond James Stadium was overshadowed by Sunday’s news that senior quarterback Matt Grothe will miss the remainder of the season with an ACL tear in his left knee.
Grothe was sandwiched between two Charleston Southern tackles on a quarterback keeper – a play that the Lakeland native specialized throughout his career – late in the second quarter. His knee appeared to buckle under him as his body twisted around.
“I saw it right away. It was almost like something told me to sprint out before it happened. I don’t know what,” said USF coach Jim Leavitt. “It was a tough moment.”
With players and coaches kneeling and a quiet Raymond James Stadium, Grothe lay on the ground for nearly five minutes before wincing in pain as he limped off the field with the help of trainers.
The initial diagnosis was a sprain, but Sunday’s evaluation revealed a torn ACL in Grothe’s left knee. Grothe, who had 41 consecutive starts, finishes with 10,875 career total yards offense – the most in Big East history – and 52 passing touchdowns, the second in program history.
“Obviously, I am disappointed because you never think this could happen to you,” Grothe said in a statement. “It’s a team game and I am still going to be very involved with my teammates and the coaches. I am going to do everything I can to help the Bulls continue to win.”
With Grothe out, redshirt freshman B.J. Daniels will quarterback the Bulls on Saturday against Florida State in Tallahassee. Daniels stepped in Saturday and hooked up with junior Dontavia Bogan for a 50-yard touchdown pass, on his first drive, giving USF a 35-0 lead at the end of the second quarter.
“B.J. did a very good job of executing the offense,” USF offensive coordinator Mike Canales said. “You can see he can do some electric things with his ability. He’s special. He’s been training all spring and fall, had a good camp, and now he’s got to step up and be the guy we hope him to be, expect him to be.”
Daniels helped USF rack up 547 yards and score on eight of nine drives in the game. He also had 105 yards rushing on 10 carries, the most rushing yards by a USF quarterback since Grothe had 146 against Connecticut in 2007. Redshirt freshman Evan Landi moves into the backup spot at
The USF football program has been to bowl games every year Grothe has led the offense. The Bulls also rose to No. 2 in the country in 2007. Grothe has accounted for 46.3 percent of USF’s offense this season.
“Matt’s a franchise guy. We all know that,” Leavitt said. “What he’s done in college football is extraordinary. He’s one of the great names out there. I feel real bad for him. He’s a special guy.”