TAMPA — In one way, USF redshirt freshman B.J. Daniels bears a strong resemblance to Raymond James Stadium's other rookie quarterback. You know, the one who plays on Sundays.
Much like the Bucs' Josh Freeman, Daniels has had his greatness arrive in spurts.
A week after single-handedly outgaining Louisville's offense, Daniels sputtered (116 total yards, one interception, one fumble) in Saturday's 31-10 loss to Miami. On the Bulls' lone touchdown drive, he ran five times for 47 yards and finished things with a 12-yard touchdown strike to WR A.J. Love on third and goal.
But Daniels fumbled on a run up the middle on the Bulls' second possession and slightly telegraphed a crossing route that led to a pick by Miami DB Brandon Harris.
"You have to protect the football. You know, you can't do that," coach Jim Leavitt said. "But one thing about B.J., he's a battler, he's a warrior. He fights, he tries."
And for the time being, he'll probably be splendid for one stretch and subpar the next. Aren't most rookies?
In USF's past two wins — West Virginia and Louisville — Daniels totaled 536 passing yards and 245 rushing yards with no interceptions. In the Bulls' past three defeats — Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Miami — he rushed for 100 total yards, threw for 260 and was intercepted five times.
"It's not all B.J.," Leavitt said after Saturday's loss. "I've got to look at film and just see. I thought he competed hard. During the game there were some things we felt were there. But you know, he's always going to compete."
Senior swoon? Unlike some of the 15 other seniors recognized before Saturday's game, RB Moise Plancher would have his name mentioned by the stadium's public address announcer again during the afternoon.
On a day when the Bulls' outgoing senior class — the winningest in program history — was mostly inconspicuous, Plancher ran for 78 yards on 15 carries, earning praise from Leavitt. LB Kion Wilson had seven tackles, but of the nine other seniors who played, few distinguished themselves.
DE George Selvie had three tackles, WR Jessie Hester had a catch, and P Delbert Alvarado had a 27-yard punt from inside his red zone that Miami converted into its fourth touchdown.
Final word: "I'm not trying to make excuses. I'm one who will never do that. But we haven't always recruited the same guys (as Miami). And all those guys over there, we tried (to get). And games like this don't help; well, they might help a lot. (The recruits) see that we have some needs." — Leavitt, after the Miami loss
Joey Knight can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3350.