TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Matt Grothe came off the bench to throw for
two touchdowns and run for a third, helping South Florida shrug off
early mistakes to beat McNeese State 41-10 on Saturday night.
Grothe replaced injured starting quarterback Pat Julmiste early
in the second quarter and completed nine of 13 passes for 171
yards, including TD throws of 47 yards to Marcus Edwards and 10
yards to Ean Randolph.
The redshirt freshman's 1-yard TD run wiped out a 7-0 lead
McNeese State took when Jared Dolan recovered punter Ilia Petrov's
fumble in the end zone for a touchdown in the first quarter. The
Division I-AA Cowboys (0-1) led 10-7 before Grothe's first TD pass
in the third quarter.
Walt Smith scored on runs of 3 and 24 yards as USF scored on
five consecutive possessions over the last 18 minutes of the game.
Keeley Dorsey finished the rout with a 52-yard TD burst on the last
Grothe's ability to spark an offense that struggled early with
an interception, fumble, missed field goal and Petrov's botched
punt will spur a quarterback controversy that's been brewing since
the end of last season.
Julmiste started 11 of 12 games as a junior and led the Bulls to
the first bowl appearance in school history. But the Bulls were
inconsistent on offense, and the strong-armed quarterback faced a
stiff challenge from Grothe for the starting job in spring drills
and practice this summer.
Coach Jim Leavitt declined to declare who was No. 1 in the weeks
leading up to Saturday's game, saying only that if the players were
equal he'd likely go with Julmiste because of the senior's
When Julmiste came up limping after scrambling for 18 yards to
the McNeese State 22, Leavitt didn't hesitate to turn to the
Five plays later, Grothe finished a 66-yard drive with a 1-yard
TD dive that made it 7-7. His scoring pass to Edwards with 2:04
remaining in the third quarter atoned for a fumble the quarterback
lost to stop a promising drive that included a 64-yard completion
to Cedric Hill on USF's previous possession.
Julmiste, who limped up the sideline to congratulate Grothe
after the go-ahead TD, went 5-of-8 for 38 yards and was intercepted
The Bulls also lost starting running back Moise Plancher to
injury. The replacement for USF's all-time leading rusher Andre
Hall carried four times for 26 yards on the opening drive of the
game and didn't play again.
As with Julmiste, there was no announcement on the nature of