Torn ACL sidelines USF’s Grothe for the season

September 21st, 2009 by

USF senior quarterback Matt Grothe, the Big East’s career leader in total offense, will miss the remainder of the 2009 season with a torn ACL in his left knee, USF announced Sunday.

Grothe, who had started 41 consecutive games for the Bulls, injured his knee on a scramble late in the second quarter of USF’s 59-0 win against I-AA Charleston Southern. The injury was initially diagnosed as a sprain, but an MRI exam Sunday morning confirmed the season-ending injury.

“Obviously, I am disappointed because you never think this could happen to you,” Grothe said in a statement. “It’s a team game and I am still going to be very involved with my teammates and the coaches. I am going to do everything I can to help the Bulls continue to win.”

Redshirt freshman B.J. Daniels stepped in Saturday in relief of Grothe and played well, throwing for 149 yards and rushing for 105, accounting for three total touchdowns. He will make his first start Saturday in his hometown of Tallahassee as the Bulls face Florida State, which just upset No. 7 BYU 54-28.

Grothe finishes his USF career with 10,875 yards of total offense, the most in school and Big East history. His 52 career touchdown passes and 8,669 passing yards are both second in USF history behind former quarterback Marquel Blackwell. He also rushed for 2,206 yards, leading USF in each of the last three seasons, and rushed for 23 touchdowns.

“Injuries are part of the game, but we’re still devastated for Matt,” USF offensive coordinator Mike Canales said in a statement. “It’s tough losing a player and leader of Matt’s caliber.”

Many have asked about the possibility of Grothe getting a medical redshirt — he qualifies for a medical redshirt because he played in only three games before the injury, but the larger issue is needing a sixth year of eligibility. College athletes have a window of five years in which they can play in four seasons, and for that window to be extended to a sixth year, a player must show evidence that he qualifies for two medical redshirts.

Grothe redshirted his first year at USF in 2005, and there were no injuries reported as reasons for why he did not play that season. If USF has documentation of an injury that led to his not playing that season, he would have a case for a sixth year and a chance to play in 2010, but that seems very unlikely.

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