USF coach Skip Holtz said before the season he didn't want his quarterback to be his leading rusher.
Mission accomplished, though very likely not in the fashion Holtz would have preferred.
In his pass-first, run-second mode, B.J. Daniels struggled in a 13-9 loss to Syracuse, completing only nine of 23 pass attempts while having two intercepted. He finished with minus-1 yard on 13 rushes, gaining 33 yards but losing 34 on four sacks.
After starting by completing five of his first seven passes, he finished by going only 4-for-16 the rest of the way. The completions were good for only 124 yards.
Holtz defended the approach he and the staff have taken with the sophomore, saying the Bulls are trying to build the offense around him.
"Right now, we're not having a lot of success with what we're doing," Holtz said. "It's not trying to put a square peg in a round hole."
If the Bulls, who fell to 3-2 on the season in dropping their Big East opener, are going to find the answer, they are going to have to do it in a hurry.
They have only five days between games before going to West Virginia, which is looking like the conference favorite after its 4-1 start.
"It will be difficult," Daniels said of the quick turnaround, "but you've got to put it behind you to move on, at least to give yourself a fighting chance next week."
The game against the Mountaineers will be the first of back-to-back conference road tests. After going to Morgantown, the Bulls are at Cincinnati. They are not home again until Nov. 3, when Rutgers visits for a midweek game.
--One of the fastest players on the team, WR Lindsey Lamar gave USF a rare bright spot with his 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Syracuse. The return, which matched the third-longest in Bulls history, gave USF a 9-6 lead in the third quarter.
--The 14-play, 98-yard drive Syracuse engineered in the fourth quarter was the longest against USF this season.
--The loss was the Bulls' first to Syracuse after five consecutive wins over the Orange.
GAME BALL GOES TO: DE Craig Marshall -- Marshall had three sacks in the loss to Syracuse, tying for third-most ever in USF history and just one off the school record shared by George Selvie and Shurron Pierson. But Marshall's were the most the Bulls have had against a Big East opponent. Marshall was credited with eight tackles overall. The senior has four sacks on the season and nine in his career.
KEEP AN EYE ON: WR Dontavia Bogan -- After missing one game with an ankle injury, Bogan seems back on track. In his second game back from the injury, he had four catches for 67 yards, including a spectacular one-handed grab for a 32-yard gain that led to USF's second-quarter field goal.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was like a dream at the time." -- Sophomore WR Lindsey Lamar, on his 94-yard kickoff return.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
LOOKING GOOD: The Bulls held Syracuse to just 129 yards passing and got to QB Ryan Nassib for four sacks. DE Craig Marshall had three and LB Sabbath Joseph got the other. WR Dontavia Bogan had 67 yards receiving on just four catches.
STILL NEEDS WORK: Kicking woes continued. PK Maikon Bonani missed a field goal attempt from 47 yards, and the Bulls had the extra point blocked after their touchdown. Syracuse also rushed for 178 yards, averaging better than four yards a carry. QB B.J. Daniels was only 9-for-23 passing (124 yards) with an interception. He was sacked four times. The Bulls had only 95 yards rushing with Moise Plancher's 58 yards on 15 runs leading the way.
--CB Mistral Raymond left the game with a bruised quad in the first half but returned in the fourth quarter.
--LT Jamar Bass (ankle) did not play. He was injured late in the week in practice before the game.
--WR Sterling Griffin (ankle), who was considered a possibility for his season debut, did not play.