The offense that had been missing in action for the previous two games showed up in a big way for USF in its 38-30 victory over Cincinnati.
After being kept from the end zone for nine consecutive quarters -- their only touchdown against Syracuse came on a kickoff return -- the Bulls erupted for five touchdowns over a span of eight possessions starting in the second quarter.
One of the three times they failed to punch it in came when time ran out in the first half.
One other series ended with a field goal and the other with a punt.
Quarterback B.J. Daniels was the triggerman.
The sophomore rushed for 35 yards and two touchdowns and threw for 286 yards and two more scores. He didn't throw an interception, and he wasn't sacked.
"The offense has had a lot of pressure on it this past week," Coach Skip Holtz said, "and I think B.J. came in as focused and dialed-in as any quarterback I've ever been around. He was really special tonight, and I was really impressed with him."
Defensively, however, the Bulls had some problems, particularly on fourth down. The Bearcats converted a fourth-and-six with a 32-yard touchdown pass to make it 31-23, and they kept alive their last touchdown drive by converting a fourth-and-eight in USF territory.
The Bulls, who held the Bearcats to just 78 yards rushing but gave up 512 through the air, finally held on Cincy's final fourth down, getting a heavy rush on Bearcats backup quarterback Chazz Anderson to force an incompletion with just seven seconds remaining.
"We got a stop at the end of the game when we needed it," defensive coordinator Mark Snyder said. "Our kids persevered. They left everything on the field, and that's what I'm most proud of.
"Whether we gave up a thousand yards or two yards, it's about the win."
The victory snapped USF's two-game losing streak and gave the Bulls, who are 4-3 overall, their first Big East win after two losses.
They are back home for their next outing, a Thursday night appearance against Rutgers.
--After going into the game ranked No. 117 out of 120 FBS teams in third-down conversion rate (26.15 percent), the Bulls were effective against Cincinnati. They made good on seven of 12 third-down opportunities, getting the necessary yardage four times on rushes and three times on passes.
--Senior CB Mistral Raymond had his first career game in double-digits in tackles with 10 and played a key role in USF's pass defense. He had one interception and just missed on three others. He also was victimized for a touchdown by the Bearcats, but television replays showed the receiver pushed off a bit just before making the catch and offensive pass interference could easily have been called.
--Senior WR Dontavia Bogan moved into seventh place on USF's all-time receiving yards list with his 85 yards on three receptions. He now has 1,263 yards. No. 6 on the list is DeAndrew Rubin with 1,306.
GAME BALL GOES TO: QB B.J. Daniels showed poise and maturity in directing the Bulls to their biggest scoring night since their opening 59-14 win over Stony Brook. He was an efficient 13-of-16 passing for 286 yards and two touchdowns (no interceptions) and he also rushed for two touchdowns. He had touchdown passes of 70 yards to WR Faron Hornes and 31 to Evan Landi plus a 64-yard strike to WR Dontavia Bogan to set up another score.
KEEP AN EYE ON: WR Evan Landi, after spending time learning as a backup to B.J. Daniels at quarterback, is beginning to make his presence felt at wide receiver. He had two catches at Cincinnati, including a 31-reception for a touchdown. He is USF's second-leading receiver with 15 catches for 251 yards.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We really weren't able to drive the ball without the run game. We put the ball in B.J.'s hands and probably ran a lot more play-action this week than we had up until this point. I thought he was really dialed-in, and he did a nice job of it. I'm really proud of him." -- Coach Skip Holtz, on quarterback B.J. Daniels' play against Cincinnati.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
LOOKING GOOD: The passing game was clicking with QB B.J. Daniels throwing for 286 yards, including four plays of more than 30 yards and two more than 60 (70 to WR Faron Hornes and 64 to WR Dontavia Bogan). The Bulls had two fumbles but recovered both for a turnover-free night. The defense held Cincinnati to just 78 yards rushing and came up with four sacks, two by LB Sabbath Joseph. The Bulls had no turnovers.
STILL NEEDS WORK: The running game produced only 92 yards, the third straight game the Bulls have failed to rush for at least 100. TB Demetris Murray netted only 12 on 13 carries and TB Moise Plancher had only 11 on four runs. The Bulls gave up 590 yards in total offense to the Bearcats, the most any team has compiled against the Bulls in the program's 14 seasons.
--WR Terrence Mitchell, moved from the secondary to bolster the receiving corps, didn't catch a pass and fumbled on his only carry. He recovered and ended up with a net six-yard loss.
--Walk-on Jonny Sitton had one punt return for 12 yards in taking over for Terrence Mitchell.
--TE Kevin Gidrey came up with his first reception of the season for a 14-yard gain.