Bulls roll up 745 yards in 70-17 rout of Florida A&M
TAMPA -- For those of you scoring at home, the Marching 100 is Florida A&M's famous marching band, not the USF offense, which seemed to be only stopped by halftime Saturday night.
The No. 20 Bulls (3-0) set all sorts of offensive records Saturday, jumping out to a 49-14 halftime lead and cruising with backups to a 70-17 victory against the I-AA Rattlers before an announced crowd of 50,128 at Raymond James Stadium.
Quarterback B.J. Daniels was prolific again -- after throwing for a career-best 359 yards last week against Ball State, he had 355 at halftime, including four touchdown passes and another on the ground. And running back Darrell Scott had a breakout game, getting a 56-yard touchdown run and an 84-yard score on a screen pass on the way to a 197-yard first half.
To find a higher scoring total for the Bulls, you have to go all the way back to the first game in the program's history, an 80-3 win against Kentucky Wesleyan back in 1997.
The Bulls were so in control that coach Skip Holtz inserted his second-string offense in the first quarter, only to see backup Bobby Eveld hit as he threw, and Florida A&M returned the interception to the USF 7, setting up the first first-half points the Bulls allowed this season. The Rattlers added a second score, but that was little compared to the way the Bulls marched down the field. One gripe in USF's first two wins was too often, they settled for field goals instead of touchdowns in the red zone; kicker Maikon Bonani was limited to extra points (9) through three quarters.
It was the kind of game that left you scrambling through the record books -- USF's previous record for total offense in a game was 580 yards (Liberty, 2001), and USF got that on the opening drive of the second half, which ended with a 30-yard Scott touchdown. The Big East record of 729 yards, set by Louisville in 2007, fell as well, with USF finishing with 745.
USF has one more tuneup on the schedule, hosting UTEP next week, before the Bulls open Big East play at Pittsburgh on Thursday, Sept. 29. That game picked up an added level of intrigue Saturday with news that Pittsburgh and Syracuse had applied to leave the Big East and join the ACC, a move that leaves the future of Big East football uncertain as college football's major conferences continue to reshuffle their lineups.