Gator QB losing grip on Heisman to USF rising star

Move over Tim Tebow. There’s another quarterback in Florida who may steal the Heisman Trophy away from you.

With his outstanding performance last Friday night at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, University of South Florida quarterback Matt Grothe has exploded into the national limelight as a bona fide Heisman Trophy contender. Even Sports Illustrated is now taking notice after Grothe threw for 338 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 30 yards and another touchdown. While it was freshman kicker Maikon Bonani who got the winning field goal against the 13th ranked Kansas Jayhawks, the win would not have been possible without Grothe’s efforts.

What was even more impressive was that Grothe led the Bulls back to the victory even though USF trailed 20-3 at one point. That’s the largest comeback win in school history.

Amazingly SI’s Gene Menez has Tebow ranked higher in his Heisman Watch list than Grothe. (He’s got Missouri QB Chase Daniel in the lead right now.) Maybe this is what we call in politics the advantage of being the incumbent.

While Tebow has been solid, he hasn’t put in the kind of performance that should elevate him ahead of Grothe. By the numbers, Tebow has put up nearly 500 yards of offense in two games. But it’s reasonable to argue that the Gators would have probably beaten the Canes and Hawaii with or without Tebow. I don’t think the same can be said for USF. Grothe has been a difference maker, helping the team with two tight back-to-back close victories over the University of Central Florida and Kansas. And Grothe will get a chance to enhance his reputation in the next few weeks as USF is scheduled to be on national television at least three or four more times.

Tebow gets his chance to prove that he deserves a second Heisman Trophy when he takes on Tennessee this weekend. But right now the top quarterback in the Sunshine State doesn’t wear orange and blue, he wears gold and green.

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