Daniels leads offense with 381 yards, 5 TDs
TAMPA -- It's against a "very vanilla" defense that wasn't allowed to so much as tackle him, but Saturday was an impressive night for USF quarterback B.J. Daniels, who threw for 381 yards and five touchdowns in leading the "South Florida" team past the "Bulls" team, 49-31 at Raymond James Stadium.
"I really didn't want it to be this much of a passing fest," said first-year coach Skip Holtz, who set limitations on his defense to help limit injuries. "We kind of opened it up, but I was really impressed with the job that B.J. Daniels did tonight as a quarterback. We all know he's a great athlete and what he can do, but I think he's starting to do some good things from a mental standpoint."
Four of Daniels' touchdowns went to senior receiver Dontavia Bogan, who had 228 receiving yards on nine catches, including 77 down the sideline on the first touchdown of the game.
"Bogan really stepped up and did some great things. Obviously he had a huge game as well," Holtz said.
Daniels wore a red non-contact jersey as he's recovering from surgery on his non-throwing shoulder, but he'll be fully recovered in time for the start of fall drills in August.
LOVE INJURED: Another starting receiver, senior A.J. Love, had to be carted off the field after injuring his right knee with 4:33 left in the game.
Love, who tore the ACL in his left knee in the 2008 St. Petersburg Bowl, took two hard hits on the opening possession as well, but the knee injury kept Holtz from being too excited about the game overall.
"That kind of puts a downer on it, because everybody has such love and affection and knows how hard A.J. Love has worked to get back from his knee to have a valuable place on this football team," he said.
Holtz said he didn't know the severity of the injury, but said he did not know "if it is as serious as I'm afraid it might be."
ATTENDANCE: Despite early rains, Saturday's game brought a record crowd of 6,357 to Raymond James Stadium, up about 800 from last year's game. It's the fifth year in a row the attendance has risen from the previous year's game.
DEFENSE SHINES, TOO: USF's first-team defense gave up far too many big plays, even being limited to no blitzing and only certain coverages, but the defense did account directly for two touchdowns -- redshirt freshman safety JaQuez Jenkins of Lakewood returned an interception for a score, and linebacker Mike Lanaris returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Linebacker DeDe Lattimore returned another fumble to the 10, setting up a Mo Plancher touchdown.
MR. VERSATILE: Sophomore Evan Landi caught a 57-yard pass on the first play of the scrimmage, from walk-on quarterback Ryan Eppes of Largo, and Landi spent every other series as the No. 2 offense's quarterback. Landi completed 11 of 24 passes for 152 yards, including a touchdown to tight end Andrew Ketchel. Landi looked especially sharp in engineering a 90-yard touchdown drive just before halftime. He'll be a full-time receiver in the fall, but could step in as an emergency quarterback should anything happen to Daniels.
THIS AND THAT: Tight end Andreas Shields of Wharton watched the game from a wheelchair after undergoing surgery on both ankles, but he's expected to be fully recovered in time for summer voluntary workouts. ... Linebacker Armando Sanchez, a Northeast graduate, had an interception on a two-point conversion. ... Redshirt freshman receiver Derrick Hopkins showed off his track-star speed, scoring on a 16-yard reverse for a touchdown.