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AP game report

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Matt Grothe threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Ean Randolph with 3:27 left in the fourth quarter to lift South Florida over Central Florida 24-17 on Saturday.

The Golden Knights (1-2) missed a chance to tie with 30 seconds left, but their 70-yard drive ended when Chris Robinson sacked Steven Moffett, forcing a fumble the Bulls recovered.

Grothe, a redshirt freshman who won the starting job in the South Florida's first game after Pat Julmiste got hurt, won his third straight. He accounted for 375 of South Florida's 433 total yards, completing 21-of-31 passes for 302 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

Moffett looked rusty from the start, ending UCF's first two possessions with interceptions and nearly tossing another shortly afterward on a botched timing route. He repeatedly over and underthrew, missing an open receiver in the end zone on the final drive that could've tied the game, and finished with 219 yards on 19-of-44 passing and one TD.

Central Florida was without leading rusher and last year's C-USA freshman of the year Kevin Smith, held out of the game for disciplinary reasons. Jason Peters racked up 98 yards on 20 carries in his absence.

Both the Bulls' Trae Williams and UCF's Sha'reff Rashad recorded their third straight game with an interception.

South Florida's 3-0 start is its second in the program's 10-year history (the team opened 5-0 in 1998). UCF remains winless against the Big East (0-10 since 2000).

UCF drew a crowd of 46,000, the third-highest in school history, with some help from their opponents. A big group of South Florida fans made the 85-mile trip from Tampa, at times out-shouting the home crowd.

Central Florida tied the game at 17 with 7:14 left after Jordan Richards blocked a bobbled punt snap, which Blake Carter scooped up and ran 31 yards for a touchdown.

But Grothe led South Florida right back on a 90-yard drive culminating in Randolph's score.

Randolph finished with five catches for 126 yards and the TD, while UCF's Mike Walker caught 12 for 133 yards.

South Florida set up its second touchdown with a 31-yard flea-flicker from wide receiver Amarri Jackson to Amp Hill, scoring a play later on Grothe's 2-yard completion to Benjamin Williams.

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