for this game

South Florida wins sloppy battle with No. 17 Auburn

Sep 9, 2007 - 6:11 AM AUBURN, Alabama (Ticker) -- South Florida announced its presence on the National stage Saturday night.

The Bulls forced five turnovers and finally prevailed in overtime, 26-23, over No. 17 Auburn.

Sophomore quarterback Matt Grothe completed 18-of-27 passes for 184 yards, rushed for a score and tossed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Jessie Hester in overtime to clinch the upset and give South Florida its first-ever win against a Southeastern Conference opponent.

"We had tried a couple of times to run that play in the game," Grothe said of the game winner. "They are mostly a cover-two or man team but when we ran those plays earlier they were in two and only gave us the underneath. Jessie (Hester) made a good move on his man and made the play."

The Bulls squandered three separate opportunities to tie the score or take the lead in a disastrous third quarter.

Auburn fumbled the ball away three times, leaving South Florida with drives beginning at the Tigers' 41-, 21- and 23-yard lines. Bulls' kicker Delbert Alvarado's tumultuous night began with a missed 37-yarder with 7:43 remaining in the third.

He missed a 45-yarder five minutes later and had another 37-yarder was blocked before the end of the quarter. As a result, South Florida entered the fourth quarter still trailing 17-14.

Alvarado, who also serves as the team's punter momentarily redeemed himself in the fourth, converting a 38-yard try to even the score at 17-17. However, another Bulls' drive failed to result in any points when he missed a 21-yarder with 6:37 left in the game.

"I really didn't want him punting because I didn't want him to overdo it," South Florida coach Jim Leavitt said. "I don't want to use that as an excuse and neither would he. There is no excuse for the one that got blocked and the next one got tipped, I think, so we have a lot to work on in that area."

The Tigers took advantage of that miss and embarked on a 3:19 drive that resulted in a 39-yard field goal by Wes Byrum and a 20-17 advantage with 2:53 remaining in the game.

South Florida used a 33-yard kickoff return and a 26-yard drive to set Alvarado up for yet another field goal try. This time the sophomore converted the 19-yard attempt and set the contest into overtime.

"I really didn't want to go for that field goal at the end when it was fourth-and-inches, but I felt like we needed to drive, but I was concerned," Leavitt said.

Auburn was burned by the inconsistent play of fifth-year senior quarterback Brandon Cox, who completed just 16-of-35 attempts for one touchdown and a pair of interceptions. He was also responsible for one of the Tigers' fumbles.

"We beat ourselves," Cox said. "We had five turnovers. You can't win games like that. I just want to apologize to our defense. They did their part. Offensively we didn't.

"When we weren't turning the ball over, we were putting together some pretty good drives. I think we got better in some parts of our offense. Turning the ball over like that, you can't win games."

Cox was erratic in the opener last week against Kansas State as well, completing just 17-of-30 attempts for 229 yards and a pair of interceptions.

"It was a good effort," Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said. "We made a little improvement. We played a good football team, and I thought our guys hung in there well. We just didn't execute well enough tonight to win."

Mike Ford rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries for the Bulls.

"Of course (the win) is going to give you confidence, there is no doubt about that," Leavitt said. "We have probably the toughest schedule that we have ever had and we are going to have to play just as good as we did tonight to continue to win."






  • 173
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    South Florida vs. Auburn(17)Sep 9 6:21 AM


  • NCAAF FINAL IN OT
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -- -----
    SOUTH FLORIDA 14 0 0 6 6 26
    AUBURN (17) 3 14 0 3 3 23 FINAL IN OT
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: SOUTH FLORIDA - TD, MATT GROTHE 1 YD RUN (DELBERT
    ALVARADO KICK), 5:58. SOUTH
    FLORIDA 7-0
    AUBURN - FG, WES BYRUM 49 YD, 10:41. SOUTH
    FLORIDA 7-3
    SOUTH FLORIDA

    Sep 9 12:50 AM


  • NCAAF
    TD SOUTH FLORIDA
    JESSIE HESTER JR. 14 YD PASS FROM GRANT GREGORY
    SOUTH FLORIDA 26
    AUBURN (17) 23 IN 1ST OT POSSESSION

    South Florida vs. Auburn(17)Sep 9 12:50 AM
  • 168
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    RUWTbot Added 28 roots (Upset, Close Finish)

    South Florida vs. Auburn(17)Sep 9 12:50 AM


  • NCAAF
    FG AUBURN
    WES BYRUM 39 YD
    SOUTH FLORIDA 20
    AUBURN (17) 23 IN 1ST OT POSSESSION

    South Florida vs. Auburn(17)Sep 9 12:46 AM
  • 140
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 53 roots (Close Finish)

    South Florida vs. Auburn(17)Sep 9 12:46 AM


  • NCAAF END, 4TH QTR
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    SOUTH FLORIDA 14 0 0 6 20
    AUBURN (17) 3 14 0 3 20 GOING INTO OVERTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: SOUTH FLORIDA - TD, MATT GROTHE 1 YD RUN (DELBERT
    ALVARADO KICK), 5:58. SOUTH
    FLORIDA 7-0
    AUBURN - FG, WES BYRUM 49 YD, 10:41. SOUTH
    FLORIDA 7-3
    SOUTH FLORIDA - TD, MIKE FORD 2

    Sep 9 12:39 AM
  • 193
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 62 roots (Overtime, Upset, Close Finish)

    South Florida vs. Auburn(17)Sep 9 12:39 AM


  • NCAAF
    FG SOUTH FLORIDA
    DELBERT ALVARADO 19 YD
    SOUTH FLORIDA 20
    AUBURN (17) 20 0:55 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    South Florida vs. Auburn(17)Sep 9 12:36 AM
  • 131
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    RUWTbot Added 56 roots (Upset, Close Finish)

    South Florida vs. Auburn(17)Sep 9 12:36 AM


  • NCAAF
    FG AUBURN
    WES BYRUM 46 YD
    SOUTH FLORIDA 17
    AUBURN (17) 20 2:54 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    South Florida vs. Auburn(17)Sep 9 12:28 AM
  • 75
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    South Florida vs. Auburn(17)Sep 9 12:23 AM
  • 44
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    senorpepr Added 5 roots

    South Florida vs. Auburn(17)Sep 9 12:16 AM


  • NCAAF
    FG SOUTH FLORIDA
    DELBERT ALVARADO 38 YD
    SOUTH FLORIDA 17
    AUBURN (17) 17 7:46 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    South Florida vs. Auburn(17)Sep 9 12:10 AM
  • 39
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    South Florida vs. Auburn(17)Sep 9 12:10 AM


  • NCAAF END, 3RD QTR
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    SOUTH FLORIDA 14 0 0 14
    AUBURN (17) 3 14 0 17 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: SOUTH FLORIDA - TD, MATT GROTHE 1 YD RUN (DELBERT
    ALVARADO KICK), 5:58. SOUTH
    FLORIDA 7-0
    AUBURN - FG, WES BYRUM 49 YD, 10:41. SOUTH
    FLORIDA 7-3
    SOUTH FLORIDA - TD, MIKE FORD 2 YD RUN

    Sep 8 11:47 PM
  • 5
    roots
    pdxguy96 Added 5 roots

    South Florida vs. Auburn(17)Sep 8 11:36 PM


  • NCAAF HALFTIME
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    SOUTH FLORIDA 14 0 14
    AUBURN (17) 3 14 17 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: SOUTH FLORIDA - TD, MATT GROTHE 1 YD RUN (DELBERT
    ALVARADO KICK), 5:58. SOUTH
    FLORIDA 7-0
    AUBURN - FG, WES BYRUM 49 YD, 10:41. SOUTH
    FLORIDA 7-3
    SOUTH FLORIDA - TD, MIKE FORD 2 YD RUN (DELBER

    Sep 8 10:47 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD AUBURN
    GABE MCKENZIE 3 YD PASS FROM BRANDON COX
    (WES BYRUM KICK)
    SOUTH FLORIDA 14
    AUBURN (17) 17 0:29 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    South Florida vs. Auburn(17)Sep 8 10:43 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD AUBURN
    MARIO FANNIN 4 YD RUN
    (WES BYRUM KICK)
    SOUTH FLORIDA 14
    AUBURN (17) 10 14:15 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    South Florida vs. Auburn(17)Sep 8 10:06 PM


  • NCAAF END, 1ST QTR
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    SOUTH FLORIDA 14 14
    AUBURN (17) 3 3 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: SOUTH FLORIDA - TD, MATT GROTHE 1 YD RUN (DELBERT
    ALVARADO KICK), 5:58. SOUTH
    FLORIDA 7-0
    AUBURN - FG, WES BYRUM 49 YD, 10:41. SOUTH
    FLORIDA 7-3
    SOUTH FLORIDA - TD, MIKE FORD 2 YD RUN

    Sep 8 10:00 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD SOUTH FLORIDA
    MIKE FORD 2 YD RUN
    (DELBERT ALVARADO KICK)
    SOUTH FLORIDA 14
    AUBURN (17) 3 1:56 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    South Florida vs. Auburn(17)Sep 8 9:54 PM


  • NCAAF
    FG AUBURN
    WES BYRUM 49 YD
    SOUTH FLORIDA 7
    AUBURN (17) 3 4:19 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    South Florida vs. Auburn(17)Sep 8 9:46 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD SOUTH FLORIDA
    MATT GROTHE 1 YD RUN
    (DELBERT ALVARADO KICK)
    SOUTH FLORIDA 7
    AUBURN (17) 0 9:02 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    South Florida vs. Auburn(17)Sep 8 9:25 PM