The South Florida Bulls finally got their first win in Big East conference play against the Cincinnati Bearcats Friday night. In a game where defense was non-existent, the Bulls were the team to not make mistakes and not turn the ball over for a change. That has been the Achilles’ heel of the team all year and they finally got it taken care of, at least for the time being.
B.J. Daniels!!!! This is the kind of game Bulls’ fans have been waiting for. He went 13 of 16 for 286 yards and two scores through the air. He added another touchdown and 35 yards on the ground. B.J. really stepped up in a high scoring affair in which the running could not get going. Daniels was finally able to put this team on his shoulders and carry them to a victory.
I mentioned that USF’s biggest problem this season has been mistakes and turnovers. This was about as clean a game that a team could ever play. South Florida had 3 penalties for 40 yards while Cincinnati had 12 penalties for 115 yards. USF had no turnovers while the Bearcats had one. Again lets give it up for B.J. Daniels for not turning the ball over! Cincinnati outgained the Bulls 590 yards to 378 yards. One can never be too pleased with giving up that kind of yardage, but it was the mistake free football that the Bulls played that allowed them to overcome the disparity in yardage to still manage to find a way to win.
The Bulls’ running game struggled again like it has for the last three weeks, failing to reach 100 yards in all three affairs. It is obvious that the early season success of the USF rushing attack has caused teams to really key in on stopping the Bulls on the ground. This has been extremely successful for USF opponents until this week because B.J. Daniels was finallyyyyyy able to take advantage of teams stuffing the box and leaving throwing lanes for big plays in the passing game. As a team the Bulls averaged an anemic 2.6 yards per carry, with B.J. leading the team in rushing with 35 yards.
The defense, or lack there of for USF was the most disturbing part of the game if you are a Bulls fan. With all the things USF did well in this game, the defense definitely wasn’t one of them. The rush defense did good job, holding the Bearcats running game to just 78 yards on 29 carries, but the pass defense got absolutely SHREDDED. Zach Collaros, much like he did against USF coming off of the bench last year after the Pike injury, went off. Collaros went 30 of 53 for 463 yards and 3 touchdowns. Collaros’s fantasy owners are pleased. USF did manage to intercept Collaros once but that was the only good thing they did all night. The defense seemed like they tried to do everything they could to lose this game but B.J. refused to let it happen. Overall the defense still ranks in the top 25 in the nation in points allowed, but u wouldn’t have been able to tell from watching this game.
This was with out a doubt a breakout game for this Bulls’ offense. B.J. stepped up and showed why there have been such high hopes for him in the future with this South Florida team. Yes the defense struggled mightily, but USF found a way to win and it has to feel good to get that first conference win under the belt. This “mistake free” brand of football could really be crucial for South Florida as the year goes on if the Bulls could continue to play that way.