Friday, December 19, 2008

St. Petersburg Bowl: Memphis vs. USF


December 20 * 4:30 PM * ESPN2

It’s how you finish. Whenever South Florida steps onto the field, the play of their quarterback Matt Grothe is a key factor. Grothe has improved his completion percentage but has yet to overcome mistakes and lower his interception total. For the third consecutive year Grothe has thrown 14 interceptions, including three in late season losses to Rutgers and Cincinnati. The Bulls lost four of their last five games and Grothe threw eleven interceptions and only three touchdowns in those games. Keep an eye out for Tiger Clinton McDonald who is an effective pass rusher and will look to force Grothe into some errant passes. Memphis is led by running back Curtis Steele. The junior rushed for 1,175 yards and seven touchdowns. He has been strong down the stretch rushing for 100 plus yards in three of his last four games – all wins – including 178 yards versus Southern Miss. It’s fairly obvious the Tigers will need big plays and big points from their running back. When he tops 100 yards they win – 6-0 – and when he doesn’t they lose – 0-6. The Tigers needed to win three of four to end the season just to become bowl eligible. The Bulls will be geared up to stop the run led by linebacker Tyrone McKenzie. The senior leads the team with a 105 total tackles and was named all-conference. Defensive End George Selvie has improved against the run.

Inside the Numbers – Pass, Run & Catch:

Memphis Tigers (6-6, 4-4)

Pass: Arkelon Hall – 2,121 yards, 11 TDs
Run: Curtis Steele – 1,175 yards, 7 TDs
Catch: Carlos Singleton – 50-759-5 TDs

South Florida Bulls (7-5, 2-5)

Pass: Matt Grothe – 2,675 yards, 15 TDs
Run: Matt Grothe – 508 yards, 4 TDs
Catch: Jesse Hester – 53-557-3 TDs

Photo Credit: USF Athletics Communications