Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

USF Bulls receiver Sterling Griffin returns from broken ankle with touchdown catch

Bulls wide receiver Sterling Griffin snares a 20-yard touchdown in front of Mountaineers defensive back Brodrick Jenkins.

WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times

Bulls wide receiver Sterling Griffin snares a 20-yard touchdown in front of Mountaineers defensive back Brodrick Jenkins.

TAMPA — Sterling Griffin landed on his back at the side of the south end zone, perhaps 20 feet from where he had last been seen for USF.

After an absence of nearly six weeks, USF's leading receiver made a resounding comeback in the second quarter Thursday night, reeling in a 20-yard touchdown pass from QB B.J. Daniels, not far from where he broke his ankle in late October.

Griffin was initially ruled out of bounds, but replays showed that he tapped his foot down in the end zone before landing on his back out of bounds. His catch capped a nine-play, 80-yard drive as USF's offense woke up after three straight three-and-out possessions against West Virginia.

When Griffin injured his ankle on a pass in the same end zone, he was said to be out six to eight weeks, which left little room for a return, except for a bowl game. But he returned to practice last week and was cleared to play, making the most of his first catch.

Despite missing four games, Griffin remained the team leader in receptions (40) and receiving yards (493) entering the game.

Griffin wasn't the only receiver making a comeback from injury. Sixth-year senior A.J. Love, who was honored with his classmates before his final home game, caught a 6-yard pass on the game's opening drive.

ROUGH START: USF's recent struggles in the first quarter mirror the team's overall struggles since the first month of the season.

After the opening quarter ended 0-0, the Bulls had scored a total of three points in the first quarters of their past four games.

That's a stark contrast to the start of the season, when the Bulls scored 13, 10, 21 and 21 points in the opening quarters of their first four wins; they've totaled 20 first-quarter points in eight games since.

IRON KIND: For the second week in a row, USF was spared when an opponent's first-quarter field goal bounced off an upright for a miss. Louisville did that off the upright in the north end zone last week, and West Virginia's came in the south end zone. A week before Louisville's miss, USF's Ryne Giddins blocked a Miami field goal in the Bulls' 6-3 loss.

PLAYING IT SAFE: Both teams played it conservative early, with USF punting from the West Virginia 38-yard line and West Virginia returning the favor from the USF 37. The field-position battle ended when the Bulls' Justin Brockhaus-Kann hit a 16-yard punt, setting up the Mountaineers in USF territory.

SENIORS HONORED: USF honored 17 seniors playing in their final home game.

Among them were eight local high school products, including starting C Chaz Hine (Newsome), DE Claude Davis (Lake Gibson), DE Rony Delisca (Wharton), WR Love (Bradenton Southeast), WR Joel Miller (Wharton), long snapper Mike Walsh (Plant), LB Curtis Weatherspoon, who is from St. Petersburg, and starting S Jerrell Young (Gibbs).

Times correspondent Ian Lanphier contributed to this report. Greg Auman can be reached at auman@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3346. View his blog at blogs.tampabay.com/usf. Follow him on Twitter at @GregAuman.

USF Bulls receiver Sterling Griffin returns from broken ankle with touchdown catch 12/01/11 [Last modified: Thursday, December 1, 2011 11:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Longest home run at Trop and Erasmo Ramirez's pitching doom Rays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem was, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Seattle Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso (10) scores on the double by Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  2. Rays journal: Kevin Kiermaier returns, Mallex Smith sent to Triple A

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It didn't take CF Kevin Kiermaier long to make his presence felt during his return Friday to the Rays lineup. Kiermaier pretended to have Mariners DH Nelson Cruz's first-inning line drive lined up even as the ball went past him to his right and to the wall.

    Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) flies out in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  3. Rays vs. Mariners, 6:10 p.m. Saturday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    6:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    This is a 2017 photo of Jake Odorizzi of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. This image reflects the 2017 active roster as of Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  4. Bucs journal: Starting defense disappointed holding Jags to 1 rushing yard

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — The Bucs' starting defense held the Jaguars to a total of 1 rushing yard on seven carries in the first half of Thursday's 12-8 preseason win.

    And its members were disappointed.

    Jacksonville Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon (24) is thrown for a 1-yard loss as he is stopped by Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David (54) and defensive end Robert Ayers (91) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) JVS102
  5. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    Jameis Winston, left, tries to hang on to the ball as Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler tries to strip it from him.