TAMPA — USF got its first conference win of the season in a 13-6 battle with UConn, but it paid a steep price.
After four seasons of leading the Bulls offense, quarterback B.J. Daniels is expected to miss the rest of his final season with an apparent broken left ankle sustained in the fourth quarter.
Leading 7-6 and on the Huskies 23, Daniels ran up the middle on a draw play behind running back Marcus Shaw. He hurdled over Shaw for a gain of 15 yards but remained on the ground, clutching his lower leg. He was helped to the sideline by trainers and was eventually carted off the field.
"With his injury (Saturday) it is, from what I'm being told at this point, it is likely a broken ankle, and B.J. will be done for the year," an emotional coach Skip Holtz said after the game. "As nice as it is to win … it comes with the other part of your heart (that's) broken for a young man that has competed his tail off and given everything that he's had to this university for the last four years. It's just painful. It's hard."
Daniels' absence will be a problem for USF the rest of the season, and the immediate impact was obvious as backup Matt Floyd fumbled his first snap under center, which was recovered by tight end Jeff Hawkins. Floyd did make an accurate throw to Andre Davis two plays later, but it fell incomplete.
"I thought he threw a great ball in the back of the end zone on the little slant pass. … He can do some things; he's a good football player," offensive coordinator Todd Fitch said. "Now it's my job to get him ready to play if that's what we have to do."
Fitch added that USF's upcoming bye week will help further prepare Floyd for his new role as starter. Floyd's only completion on three attempts was a 3-yard dump to Shaw. Holtz even instructed Floyd to take the victory formation snap out of the shotgun out of fear he might bobble it under center.
The unfortunate end of Daniels' USF career mirrors that of his predecessor, Matt Grothe, who went down in his final season, forcing a young Daniels into the lineup. Before going out, he had thrown for 199 yards on 19-of-29 passing and one interception. His first-quarter touchdown run put him atop the USF leaders in career rushing touchdowns with 25. Daniels will finish third all time in the Big East in total offense with 10,501 yards, and second on USF's list behind Grothe.