University of South Florida sophomore Sterling Griffin, the team's leading receiver, left the game in the third quarter of Saturday's 37-34 loss to Cincinnati after injuring his right ankle, the same ankle he broke during offseason conditioning drills in the summer of 2010 that cost him all of last season.
Griffin suffered the injury while trying to make a catch in the south end zone at Raymond James Stadium. He was taken into the locker room after the play and later returned to the sideline on crutches, but USF coach Skip Holtz said after the game the severity of the injury wasn't immediately known.
"I know he started to get stiff. They've (trainers) got some concerns," Holtz said. "He said he felt some popping. It was tightening up on him. They don't know how much it's swelling. We're just going to have to wait and see."
Griffin had eight receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown, a 14-yard grab from QB B.J. Daniels in the first quarter, prior to leaving the game. On the season, Griffin has 40 catches for 483 yards and two touchdowns.
Griffin has the benefit of some extra time to heal with USF on a bye next week. The Bulls don't return to the field until Nov. 5 at Rutgers.
More penalty problems
Penalties again were an issue for USF on Saturday, with the Bulls being flagged 10 times for 109 yards, both numbers being the most for a Holtz-led USF team. That comes on the heels of being penalized nine times for 89 yards in last week's loss to Connecticut.
Holtz had taken issue with some of the calls against the Bulls in the loss to the Huskies, and even sent a letter to the Big East office to dispute them. Holtz said league officials agreed some of those penalties shouldn't have been called, so he wasn't ready to say the Bulls are undisciplined.
"Until I put on the film and watch the penalty happen, I'm not willing to tell you this team is undisciplined because that's been so uncharacteristic of us since we've been here," Holtz said. "(The) 90 yards in penalties were the most we've ever had last week, and 45 the conference office agreed shouldn't have been called. That's half your yardage.
"So I'll reserve the right to make a comment on whether this team is undisciplined with penalties until I have an opportunity to see the film and see what they're doing to cause a penalty."
Not so special teams
USF made a change at punt returner this week, with WR Victor Marc stepping in for TE Evan Landi, who had handled the duties the previous two games after regular return man Terrence Mitchell was sidelined after sustaining a concussion against UTEP.
Marc provided the longest return of the season for the Bulls with a 40-yard scamper in the third quarter that set up a Bulls touchdown, but the positive plays on special teams were outweighed by the mistakes.
Among the more notable blunders, all of which occurred in the second quarter, were DE Ryne Giddins being called for a personal foul penalty that kept a Cincinnati drive alive that eventually resulted in a field goal, holder Justin Brockhaus-Kann being unable to handle a snap that negated a short field goal attempt by K Maikon Bonani, and a handful of USF players having a chance but being unable to recover a loose ball after Cincinnati's Danny Milligan muffed a punt.
USF committed four turnovers for the second straight game and now is minus-4 in turnover differential in Big East play. … With the Bulls beginning in their nickel defense, sophomore CB JaQuez Jenkins made his first career start. Jenkins also notched his second career interception. … Sophomore WR Stephen Bravo-Brown (knee), junior FB Chris Breit (shoulder) and sophomore TE Isaac Virgin (shoulder) were held out with injuries. … Junior CB Ricardo Dixon injured his right knee in the fourth quarter and did not return.