for this game

South Florida wins sloppy battle with West Virginia

Sep 29, 2007 - 5:41 AM TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- No. 18 South Florida won its second game of the season against a ranked opponent, jumping out early and holding on for a 21-13 victory over No. 5 West Virginia.

South Florida took a 14-3 lead at the half, held the powerful Mountaineers offense to 196 yards - 71 on the ground - and knocked out star quarterback Pat White.

Matt Grothe completed 11-of-20 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown, connecting with Carlton Mitchell for a 55-yard score in the second quarter to put the Bulls on top 14-0.

"It was ridiculous," Grothe said. "I'm speechless. It's awesome with all those people there, it's only going to make the future even better. It's only going to get better from now on."

The two teams combined for 10 turnovers in the game, with West Virginia (4-1, 0-1 Big East) giving the ball back six times. Mountaineers junior quarterback White had a rough first half, throwing an interception to South Florida (4-0, 1-0) linebacker Ben Moffit, who rumbled 26 yards to score the game's first touchdown.

"I stepped up and he threw it right to me," Moffit said. "It was easy. I just took off and had a free shot at the end zone, and I took it."

White was injured at the end of the first half and did not return.

The Bulls extended their lead to 21-3 in the third quarter, when Jamar Taylor completed the first drive of the second half with a 19-yard run.

"I thought it would be a pretty good game," South Florida coach Jim Leavitt said. "I thought the matchup was there. I thought we had a real good shot. They were as good as what I thought, and what you think. They're that good, they're extremely well coached and they're awfully good. They have talent all over the place."

White's replacement, Jarrett Brown, completed 11-of-20 passes for 148 yards and rushed for 69 yards but threw two interceptions. He was picked off at the South Florida nine-yard-line and again in the fourth quarter while driving for a score.

The turnovers effectively killed any chance the Mountaineers had of getting back into the game. South Florida sacked Brown twice on West Virginia's final drive of the game and forced a pair of incompletions with less than a minute remaining to clinch the win.

The Mountaineers outgained the Bulls by 183 yards, but their Heisman Trophy hopeful, running back Steve Slaton, carried the ball 13 times for just 52 yards and fumbled twice.

"When we started this season our goals were not to beat necessarily West Virginia," Leavitt said. "Our goals were to win a Big East championship. Let me tell you something, that is very difficult to do, and I won't let my guard down because were only 1-0 in the Big East.

"Everybody is good, and at the end of the season we'll look back and see how good we were. We're good enough to win the first four games. That's all we got. I know that stinks. I know you want me to take off my shirt, and dance, and hug, and kiss, and all that. I feel good like that but I'm really thinking about the next game."