Saturday, December 20, 2008

Bulls Blow Out Memphis in St. Pete Bowl

By JC De La Torre

I don't know if South Florida really wanted to be there...the fans sure didn't as a the paltry attendance of 25,205 would attest, but if they didn't, they at least decided to make the most of it by crushing their opponent, the Memphis Tigers, 41-14 in the inaugural (and possibly only) MagicJack St. Petersburg Bowl.

USF used "special" uniforms with a white helmet sporting the USF logo and a different shade of green making them resemble the New York Jets, and they played like the Jets as well as they jumped on the Tigers quickly. Dontavia Bogan returned the opening kickoff 56 yds to the Memphis 43 yd line. Two plays later, Matt Grothe found Taurus Johnson for a 26 yd score to put the Bulls up 7-0 just 1:02 into the ball game. After an exchange of punts (two by Memphis), USF marched back down the field on a 6 play 58 yd drive, capped off by Benjamin Williams 3 yd score to make it 14-0.

The Tigers finally came to life late in the first quarter, driving 73 yd on six plays, with quarterback Arkelon Hall keeping it into the end zone from 3 yd out to cut the USF lead to 7. The Bulls answered, moving into the second quarter with a 63 yd, 14 play drive the culminated in a 23 yd field goal by Maikon Bonani to increase the South Florida lead to 17-7. After the Memphis drive stalled at their own 42, USF would add yet another score with Grothe connecting with reserve tight end Ben Busbee for a 13 yd score to give the Bulls a commanding 24-7 advantage with 4:15 left in the half. To the Tigers credit, they wouldn't quit as Arkelon Hall led Memphis back down the field and connected with Duke Calhoun on a 2 yd score with 0:04 left in the half. The Bulls led 24-14 at halftime.

That would be as close as it got as the USF defense dominated the second half, shutting out the Tigers, while Matt Grothe connected with Dontavia Bogan on 24 yd touchdown, Maikon Bonani added another field goal, and Moises Plancher plunged in from 2 yds out, giving the Bulls a 41-14 advantage that they would not relinquish.

South Florida quarterback Matt Grothe had one of his best games of the season throwing for 236 yds, 3 touchdowns and most importantly - no interceptions. He also added 83 yds rushing, leading all rushers for the game. The Bulls earned their first bowl victory outgaining the Memphis Tigers 496 to 238 making the plays they needed to make and getting superb play from their quarterback.

No comments: