USF Starts to Fulfill Expectations

After three consecutive close wins, no one knew which USF Bulls team would show up against NC State on Saturday night: last year’s Bulls, who started the season 6-0 and pulled off upsets against high-ranked teams, or this year’s squad who continues to scrape by lesser opponents. USF’s 41-10 win over NC State in Raleigh better resembled last year’s team.

“I don’t think we’ve put our A game together yet,” USF center Jake Griffin, a senior, told The Tampa Tribune. “I think that’s what we need to do to prove we are a pretty good team.”

As they did in a win against Kansas two weeks ago, the Bulls earned their rank with a win over a tough ACC opponent. Hopefully the victory gave Bulls fans peace of mind for the remainder of the season, leaving little doubt which team will take the field this Thursday as Big East play kicks off.

Despite battling both the Wolfpack defense and a torrential downpour, USF scored on its first three possessions and set the tempo early while former Countryside high school standout quarterback Harrison Beck struggled to get NC State’s offense rolling.

Entering the game, the USF defense ranked fourth from the bottom in the nation in forced turnovers, causing only three all season. NC State, on the other hand, ranked sixth-best in Division I with twelve.

But Saturday defied these figures.

The Wolfpack turned the ball over twice in the second quarter, leading to two USF safeties. Even with key defensive players Brouce Mompremier and George Selvie out with injuries, the Bulls defense and special teams gave an equally impressive showing.

Looking ahead to Thursday, USF’s biggest concern is staying healthy. Carlton Williams left Saturday’s game in the third quarter with a badly bruised left hip, leaving his status against Pittsburgh uncertain, along with that of Mompremier and Selvie.

Matt Grothe continues to pick apart defenses each week, as USF dominates opponents in first-half total offense. In Saturday’s game at NC State, Grothe totaled 327 out of the team’s 502 yards of total offense by himself – let’s hope Thursday’s game at Raymond James continues the winning trend.

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