USF football has completed their non-conference schedule for the 2013 season with the Bulls agreeing to play FCS McNeese State, according to Adam Adkins of the Tampa Tribune. USF will be paying the Cowboys $400,000 for the one game series. Adkins is reporting that USF is close to a deal with UT-Chattanooga to finish off their 2012 non-conference schedule.
The Bulls opened with McNeese State for the 2006 season, and the game featured the ultimate Wally Pipp moment in USF history.
Senior QB Pat Julmiste started the game at QB, but was largely ineffective against the Cowboys. Pat went 5-8 for 38 yards and an interception before he was taken out in the second quarter because of a leg injury. Matt Grothe was called into action, and the rest was history.
Five snaps later, Grothe called his own number at the 1-yard line and scored the first of many touchdowns to make it a 7-7 ballgame. Near the end of the third quarter, McNeese was holding on to a 10-7 lead and an embarrassing upset was on the table when Grothe threw a beautiful pass to Marcus Edwards.
The Bulls took the lead on that play and never looked back. Grothe threw another touchdown to Ean Randolph in the 4th quarter, and USF beat MSU 41-17. Grothe finished the game a respectable 9-for-13 for 171 yards and three touchdowns through the air, and added 58 yards and a score on the ground.
Grothe gave USF someone to build their offense around. With Andre Hall off to the NFL and Moise Plancher out for the year after the first series of the season, the coaching staff was forced to run everything off the quarterback. Even as a freshman, Grothe's mobility, durability and ability to improvise allowed the staff to lean on him while trying to find a competent running back, which never really happened that season.
While we had a lot of highs and some lows with Grothe, that night in Tampa gave USF fans hope with their new quarterback.
Barring anything major happening to B.J. Daniels between now and then, the Bulls will break in a new QB against McNeese State again in 2013. If he's anything like Matt Grothe, we will be in good shape.