Sunday, December 21, 2008
The Magicjack St. Petersburg Bowl in Florida was not one of the more anticipated bowls for college football fans this season. For the University of South Florida Bulls however, it was an opportunity to go out on a high note after a season that produced many disappointments. Go out on a high note they did, as USF trounced the Memphis Tigers 41-14 in front of an announced crowd of just over 25,000 at Tropicana Field.
USF quarterback Matt Grothe was unquestionably the player of the game going 17/24 for 236 yards and three touchdowns (no interceptions). Grothe also put up numbers on the ground by rushing for 83 yards on 15 carries, including a 32 yard scamper. For his troubles, Grothe was named "most outstanding player" for the game.
ESPN this evening incorrectly reported that "The Bulls have made a bowl game the last four seasons, which is every year they've been in the Big East, but this is their first win." In fact, USF is now 2-2 in bowl games since 2005. They defeated East Carolina in Papajohns.com Bowl in 2006.
This win starts the Big East Conference on an auspicious note for this year's bowl season. The next bowl involving a Big East team comes next Saturday in the Meineke Car Care Bowl, when West Virginia takes on North Carolina.
- USF rocked some white helmets this evening; a look they had not previously donned. I liked it and think the white helmet/green uniform combo should become a USF staple.
- I think this bowl was a first step in what I feel will be a larger point that Big East teams will make this season: that the conference needs to negotiate better bowl tie ins. Memphis did not deserve to be on the same field as the Bulls this evening and it showed from the opening drive when Matt Grothe hit Taurus Johnson for a quick fade rout to begin what would be a USF rout of the Tigers.
Photo credit: AP