The Bulls won their first big road test of the season, beating FSU 17-7. It was the type of performance that Bulls fans can sink their teeth into and relish for years to come, so let's get to the grades.
QUARTERBACK (A-): USF QB B.J. Daniels, making his first career start in his hometown of Tally, accounted for 341 of the Bulls' 368 yards of total offense. He threw for 215 yards and two passing touchdowns, including two completions for 70-plus yards. Daniels also ran for 126 yards, becoming the first quarterback since 1986 to run for 100 yards against the Seminoles. In the first half Daniels was on fire, going 4-9 for 166 yards with 2 TD's, and had 87 yards rushing, but finished the game 8 of-21 and had two INT's. He still has some improving to do, and it may have been more of a ‘B+' performance, but considering the circumstances, his grade is bumped up a notch.
RUNNING BACKS (B): The Bulls running backs only had 14 carries for 34 yards, but with the read option, that's what the Seminoles were giving and B.J. ran for 126 yards. Mike Ford had some power runs when needed, and had a solid effort blocking, blowing up a few LB's/DB's with some vicious hits. The one negative was giving Lindsey Lamar the ball when they were backed up in the end zone, and almost getting a safety. His speed is great, but they need to give the ball to either Ford or Richard Kelly in that situation.
RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS (A): There weren't a lot of catches (8), but the receivers made big plays when needed and provided the spark for the offense. Theo Wilson caught a Daniels' 77 yard pass, the longest play of the season that led to a beautiful an 8-yard TD by TE Ben Busbee for the first touchdown of the day. True freshman WR Sterling caught a 73-yard pass from Daniels for his first-career TD reception. A.J. Love only made one catch, but it was a great one-handed catch for 23-yards, and Colby Erskin returned from two knee surgeries, making a one-handed 8-yard catch and just missing on a long bomb. The blocking was solid as well, and at times helped B.J. out.
OFFENSIVE LINE (B): With all the question marks entering the season about the line, they played a very solid game, allowing time for B.J. to find his receivers en route to a 14-0 lead, and only allowed 2-sacks. They didn't open many holes for the RB's, but B.J. ran for 126. They still have to clean up the penalties, but considering the atmosphere of the Doak, they played hard and are improving with every game played
DEFENSIVE LINE (A+): The Bulls' front dominated against Florida State in the 17-7 win with 5 sacks, 7 TFL's, 1 forced fumble, 2 recovered, and limited the Seminoles to 19 rushing yards. George Selvie, Jason Pierre-Paul, Craig Marshall, Aaron Harris, and Terrell McClain played lights out football. Selvie had 1 sack, a fumble recovery, four solo tackles, 2 TFL's, and a QB hit. Pierre-Paul was a force to be reckoned with all day long and had four tackles, three tackles for loss and a pivotal fourth-quarter sack for a fumble after a turnover. Marshall had 2 huge sacks and a fumble recovery, and Harris had a sack that led to a missed 44-yard FG. If there were any questions about the D-line, there aren't any now.
LINEBACKERS (A+): What an inspired game effort from the unit. Sabbath Joseph had his best day as a Bull, forcing a fumble on the eight yard line, and forcing another fumble that FSU recovered, finishing with 7 tackles, 6 solo, 1 sack and had a pass break-up. Kion Wilson returned from the locker room and had a fumble recovery that he took for a 19-yard gain, and forced a fumble, killing a FSU drive. True freshman Sam Barrington came up huge on the goal line stand with Kion & C-Rob out, finishing with 4 tackles.
SECONDARY (A-): The secondary played a bend but don't break defense, allowing Ponder to throw for 269 yards, and no touchdowns, but were in on some big plays. Redshirt freshmen John Lejiste crushed Tavares Pressley with a vicious hit, forcing a fumble in the first quarter. Nate Allen recovered the fumble and had 3 tackles, 1 TFL, and two pass break-ups, while Jerome Murphy led the team with 9 tackles, 7 solo, and laid some monster hits.
SPECIAL TEAMS (D+): The special teams unit continues to struggle in the kicking game with two missed 37-yard field goals in the first half, but Eric Schwartz did hit a 27-yarder to secure the win with 3 minutes to go. The return game was nothing special and the coverage team allowed some big gains by Greg Reid. The punting game should get an 'A', with Delbert Alvarado averaging 43 yards per punt and hit a 57-yard punt from the end zone. He also had a touchdown saving tackle on Greg Reid.