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Carlton Mitchell, still limited by ankle, returns for USF Bulls

USF coach Jim Leavitt greets Matt Grothe before the injured QB is announced as one of 16 seniors in their last home game.

WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times

USF coach Jim Leavitt greets Matt Grothe before the injured QB is announced as one of 16 seniors in their last home game.

TAMPA — Playing for the first time since suffering a high ankle sprain against West Virginia on Oct. 30, USF receiving leader Carlton Mitchell had one catch in a limited role Saturday.

Mitchell entered on the Bulls' second drive of the second quarter. His catch, a 21-yard scamper up the sideline on a crossing route, made him USF's top receiver of the day as the offense produced only 77 passing yards.

"I was being monitored out there a little bit," said Mitchell, who has 563 receiving yards this season. "I'm not 100 percent but at the same time I'm trying to do my part."

Mitchell said he had all the confidence in his team to do well while he was sidelined. The Bulls were shut out Nov. 12 at Rutgers but responded well in a 34-22 win against Louisville.

After the performance against Miami, however, he said it's important for the offense to respond Saturday at Connecticut.

"It's an important game for our seniors," he said. "Yeah, it's an away game and it's going to be cold, but it's something we've got to push through."

ONE LAST OVATION: Injured QB Matt Grothe and future NFL draftee George Selvie were neck-and-neck on the ovation meter when each of USF's 16 seniors were recognized before the game.

Grothe entered from the southwest tunnel (in his jersey, cap and game pants) to a roar. Selvie, who had only three tackles and was unavailable to reporters after the game, got a reception equally loud.

NO RECORD CROWD: Saturday's announced attendance of 66,469 was the second-largest in Bulls history. Technically, this was the third home sellout in USF history. The record for a home contest: 67,012 against West Virginia in 2007.

RECORD WATCH: With four kick returns for 98 yards Saturday, junior Dontavia Bogan has 62 career returns, most in school history. His 1,454 career return yards are 80 shy of DeAndrew Rubin's all-time mark. … Mitchell needs only 19 yards to break Hugh Smith's school mark of 1,523 career receiving yards.

D-LINE REINFORCED: DT Cory Grissom was one of three Bulls to return from injury on the defensive line. Grissom, who had not played since Oct. 3 at Syracuse because of an ankle injury, made his second career start and finished with one tackle.

ODDS AND ENDS: K Eric Schwartz, who booted a 36-yard field goal in the second quarter, has six field goals longer than 30 yards this season. … Redshirt freshman Mark Popek started at right tackle as the Bulls restructured their offensive line because junior Zach Hermann missed his second consecutive week with a neck injury.

HE SAID IT: "Probably the very last. Well, second to last. My last one would be to run." — Bulls QB B.J. Daniels, when asked where WR A.J. Love ranked on his list of options on their 12-yard TD pass. Daniels scrambled before finding Love in the back of the end zone.

Times correspondent Kerry Klecic contributed to this report.

Carlton Mitchell, still limited by ankle, returns for USF Bulls 11/28/09 [Last modified: Saturday, November 28, 2009 10:58pm]

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