NC State Falls to South Florida
Sept. 27, 2008
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -Matt Grothe threw for 259 yards and a touchdown, completing his first 11 passes during No. 13 South Florida's 41-10 win over of North Carolina State on Saturday night.
Jamar Taylor and Mike Ford added 1-yard touchdown runs, and the Big East's only nationally ranked team had the look of a legitimate contender even without All-America defensive lineman George Selvie, who was in uniform but sat out with an ankle injury.
The Bulls (5-0) didn't need him. They scored touchdowns on their first three possessions, recorded two safeties, built a 31-10 halftime lead and had 354 of their 514 total yards in the first half against a Wolfpack team seeking its second straight upset of a top-15 team.
Grothe wasn't about to let that happen. Standing tall behind an offensive line that kept him well-protected, he completed passes to six different receivers - most of whom were wide open - during his perfect start against a defense that was missing its top playmaker, injured linebacker Nate Irving.
His first incompletion came with 33 seconds left in the first quarter when he overthrew A.J. Love down the left sideline, but by then, it didn't matter - the Bulls led 14-3 and were well on their way to a blowout. Each of their previous three wins were decided by eight or fewer points.
Grothe completed 20 of 29 passes, threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Carlton Mitchell and rushed nine times for 68 yards. He exited after Moise Plancher's 10-yard touchdown run with 9:49 left stretched the lead to 31.
Andre Brown had a 1-yard scoring run and Harrison Beck, replacing the injured Russell Wilson, was 9-of-32 for 239 yards with three interceptions in his first start this season for N.C. State (2-3), which was coming off an overtime upset of then-No. 15 East Carolina.
A downpour that began midway through the first half led to some ugly halftime stats for the Wolfpack.
South Florida outgained N.C. State 307-22 at one point midway through the second and by halftime had surpassed the 320 total yards they gained last week at Florida International. Had Beck not connected on passes covering 48 and 41 yards, the Wolfpack would have had negative total yards through 30 minutes.
Coach Tom O'Brien's team at halftime had minus-33 yards rushing and 63 total yards - numbers deflated by a pair of fouled-up long snaps that led to USF safeties on consecutive series.
A fourth-down snap sailed over punter Bradley Pierson's head and into the end zone for two points and a loss of 27 yards, and the Wolfpack's next possession ended similarly when a snap from the 17 got past Beck and he kicked it through the back of the end zone for another safety.
Maikon Bonani kicked field goals covering 20, 32 and 44 yards for South Florida. Josh Czajkowski had a 32-yarder for N.C. State.