Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Daniels deftly delivers

TAMPA — There were enough wild ups and downs to match USF's promising, frustrating season in a single afternoon, but in the end, there was enough B.J. Daniels for Bulls fans to breathe a collective sigh of relief.

Daniels threw for 304 yards and rushed for 141, both personal bests, and the Bulls escaped with a 34-22 victory against Louisville, a win that assures USF of playing in a bowl game for a fifth consecutive year.

"You know, we got a win," said Bulls coach Jim Leavitt, unhappy with his team's uneven performance before a Raymond James Stadium crowd announced at 49,388. "I guess it's always good to win a game. I mean that. I don't mean that in a bad way. I'm thinking about some mistakes we've got to correct and get better."

Still, the Bulls (7-3, 3-3) have more Big East wins than last season, and some much-needed momentum on offense heading into a final home game against Miami on Saturday.

A week after the Bulls were held to 159 yards in a 31-0 loss at Rutgers, they piled up 160 yards on their first two drives, finishing with 538.

Daniels, who ran for two touchdowns and threw for another, became the first Big East player to throw for 300 yards and rush for 100 in the same game.

"It's big for our morale and our team confidence," Daniels said. "It was really important for us to get back on a winning track, click on all cylinders and come out with a win."

The Bulls jumped to a 14-0 lead, with Daniels engineering two 80-yard touchdown drives, the first ending on a pass to Dontavia Bogan, the second on a 2-yard run by Mo Plancher after Daniels converted a fourth and 1.

"They knew we didn't play very well last week," offensive coordinator Mike Canales said. "I was embarrassed by the way we played, but we showed we can rebound, that we have the ability to do that. Our kids executed, and I'm just so proud of them."

But Louisville (4-7, 1-5) stormed back in the second quarter, first with a field goal, then a touchdown to receiver Scott Long, then a 16-14 lead after a 60-yard punt return by Trent Guy.

USF got the lead back on a field goal just before halftime, but the Bulls so needed an emotional boost that Leavitt cut a bloody gash in the bridge of his nose giving a motivational headbutt to a player's helmet (see separate story).

The sacrifice worked, as USF opened the second half with another 80-yard touchdown drive, with Daniels converting two third downs on passes to receiver A.J. Love, then scoring on a 20-yard scramble.

USF led 27-16 late in the third, but went for it on fourth and 2 from the Louisville 24 and missed, and Louisville went 77 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth, cutting the lead to 27-22.

The Cardinals had one chance for a go-ahead touchdown, but USF's defense didn't allow them past midfield.

Daniels capped a 75-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run, two plays after he hit tight end Ben Busbee for a crucial 28-yard gain.

Bouncing back from a stretch of three losses in four games, the win takes some pressure off USF heading into a much-anticipated home game against Miami, another shot to beat a major in-state opponent.

"We've got a big one coming up this week," said safety Nate Allen, who had his fourth interception for USF's only takeaway. "It should be fun this week."

Greg Auman can be reached at Check his blog at

Daniels deftly delivers 11/21/09 [Last modified: Sunday, November 22, 2009 12:35am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Why the Lightning would consider trading Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — This summer, the Lightning could trade one of its most dynamic young players ever.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) celebrates with his team on the bench after beating Chicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling (33) to score his second goal of the period and to tie the score at 4 to 4 during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (03/27/17).
  2. Why the Lightning should keep Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    Keep him.

    Jonathan Drouin is live bait. The Lightning is ready to run the hook through him and cast him out there again. Drouin has enough talent for the Lightning to meet some defensive needs in a deal.

    Keep him.

    Lightning wing Jonathan Drouin celebrates after beating Los Angeles Kings goalie Peter Budaj during the first period of Tuesday's win in Tampa. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  3. This Tampa Bay Lightning wing rides the newest wave of fan interaction

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There are photos of Lightning fan Shaun Egger as a toddler at center ice at the then-Thunderome, aka Tropicana Field. He's played in the Lightning's high school hockey league for Palm Harbor University. But his closest personal encounter with players had been waving through a crowd after a training camp …

    Tampa Bay Lightning player J.T. Brown wears his anti UV glasses as he talks over the headset with a hockey fan while they play against each other on line in an XBOX NHL video game in Brown's game room at his home in south Tampa. The fan chose to be the Washington Capitals and Brown, of course, was the Tampa Bay Lightning. Brown interacts with fans through video game systems as he streams the games live on Twitch with plans for the proceeds to go to charity.
  4. ‘Biggest fight' behind her, Petra Kvitova returns ahead of schedule


    PARIS — Five months after a home invader's knife sliced into her left hand, Petra Kvitova will return to competitive tennis at the French Open, a last-minute decision to make her comeback earlier than expected.

    Petra Kvitova adjusts her hair during a news conference at Roland Garros Stadium, where she will make her tennis return at the French Open. Kvitova's left hand was badly injured by a knife-wielding intruder in December; she has recovered ahead of schedule. [Associated Press]
  5. Video: Rays Souza on that oh-so-bad dive, and reaction from Twins fans


    What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking when he made that oh-so-bad dive for a ball in the seventh inning Friday? Well, we'll let him tell you ...