USF hoping to solve third-and-long problems
Not leaving for Muncie until Friday night, but here's a story for Friday's Times, previewing USF's game at Ball State and the importance of the Bulls improving their defense on third downs. Rutgers converted four third downs where it needed 10 yards or more -- and gained a fifth first down on a penalty on third-and-10 -- and that came five days after the Bulls gave Nevada three first downs with penalties on defense.
One additional note: Junior receiver Sterling Griffin, whose season ended with a knee injury at Nevada, underwent surgery Thursday to repair a torn ACL in his right knee. A normal timetable for rehabilitation would allow him to return healthy for the 2013 season, and because he now has qualified for two medical redshirts (he missed the 2010 season with an ankle injury) he should be in position to be granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA.
Griffin's first career catches came from Matt Grothe in 2009, so with a full recovery, he'll have the rare honor of catching passes from a four-year starting quarterback, as well as the starting quarterback before and after him.