A bunch of turnovers and the early exit of their star quarterback sent #5 West Virginia Mountaineers to a loss to the upstart South Florida
No. 18 South Florida is not only basking in the national spotlight, the Bulls are thriving in it. Matt Grothe upstaged West Virginia stars Pat White and Steve Slaton for the second straight year, leading rapidly rising USF to a 21-13 victory over the mistake-prone, fifth-ranked Mountaineers on Friday night.
West Virginia (4-1, 0-1) averaged 357 yards rushing in its first four games, but only managed 188 on the ground after surprisingly opening the game throwing on seven of its first 11 offensive plays.
The Mountaineers lost White late in the second quarter after the junior quarterback was hit in the right knee on a running play. He limped off the field and remained on the sideline, but did not return.
The victory before a record crowd for a USF home game (67,018), figures to propel the Bulls to unprecedented heights for a program that has only been in existence for 11 seasons. They moved up to the Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-A, in 2001 and entered the Top 25 for the first time two weeks ago.
“It’s a big win for everybody around here,” USF coach Jim Leavitt said as he waved his left arm toward the on-field celebration. “Pretty neat stuff.”
Although many will view the result as an upset, USF is not a stranger to taking down ranked opponents. The Bulls upset Louisville at home two years ago and knocked West Virginia out of contention for a BCS bowl berth with a 24-19 upset at Morgantown last November. They moved to the brink of cracking the Top 25 for the first time with a 26-23 overtime victory at Auburn earlier this month.
In a season of stunning upsets, it may not even be surprising anymore. That’s especially true for a Florida team, where they seem to grow more top flight college football players than the other 49 states combined.
AP Photo/Chris O’Meara
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