USF Forces 7 Turnovers in 34-20 Win Over Cuse

B.J. Daniels threw 2 TD's to Carlton Mitchell of 33 and 85 yards, Mike Ford ran for 2 more, and the defense forced 7 turnovers, including a Jason Pierre-Paul 18 yard interception for a score as the Bulls improve to 5-0 with the 34-20 win over the Orange.

SYRACUSE, N.Y.(AP) B.J. Daniels hit Carlton Mitchell on scoring passes of 33 and 85 yards, Jason Pierre-Paul returned an interception 18 yards for another score, and South Florida remained unbeaten, 34-20 over mistake-prone Syracuse.

South Florida (5-0) picked off Syracuse's Greg Paulus five times in the Big East opener for both teams.

Syracuse (2-3) had won two straight behind Paulus, who entered the game completing nearly 70 percent of his passes. But against one of the top defenses in the country the former Duke point guard faltered badly, and the five interceptions tied a Syracuse record.

None of them was more critical than Pierre-Paul's late in the third quarter.

Pierre-Paul's touchdown on a poorly thrown dump pass at the line of scrimmage completed a 20-point South Florida blitz that broke open what had been a one-point game at halftime. Mike Ford had scoring runs of 26 and 5 yards for the Bulls.

The first 5 minutes of the game featured five turnovers. Syracuse lost two fumbles and Paulus was intercepted deep in USF territory. Orange nose tackle Arthur Jones recovered fumbles by the Bulls on their first two plays from scrimmage.

Daniels fumbled his first snap of the game and wideout Dontavia Bogan lost another fumble right after Nate Allen picked off Paulus' pass at the USF 17.

Daniels was 12 for 20 for 208 yards and gained 32 yards rushing in his second college start. Mitchell had six catches for 139 yards, more than offsetting another stellar performance by his counterpart on the Orange. Mike Williams had 13 catches for 186 yards and two scores for Syracuse.

Paulus was sacked three times but had adequate protection for most of the game in the face of South Florida's vaunted defensive front line. He finished 25 for 46 for 269 yards. His five interceptions equaled the school mark set by Todd Norley in a 28-7 loss at Penn State in 1982.

Daniels, mediocre in the opening half with just 2 yards rushing and 6 of 11 passing for 76 yards, showed the Orange his big-play capability on the first play in the second half. He hit a wide-open Mitchell in stride at the Syracuse 45 with a perfect spiral, and Mitchell raced untouched to give South Florida a 21-13 lead.

Paulus responded by guiding the Orange to the USF 24, converting on third-and-long situations three straight times. Third down had been Syracuse's weakness on offense with a dismal 20 percent conversion percentage, and against the best third-down defense in the nation the Orange figured to struggle some more.

But when Kayvon Webster picked off a third-down throw and Daniels guided USF on a 48-yard scoring drive capped by Ford's 5-yard run.

Paulus hit Williams on a 29-yard TD pass early in the fourth period for the game's final points. Paulus also hit Williams with a 54-yard gain that set up Ryan Lichtenstein's 40-yard field goal in the first period.

The Bulls, who forced and recovered four fumbles in their big 17-7 win a week ago at Florida State, settled down after their shaky start.

Jerome Murphy recovered a fumble by Orange tailback Mike Jones at the USF 38. Ford scored on a 26-yard run over right tackle for a 7-0 lead.

Cornerback Murphy made a nice sliding catch at the Syracuse 36 of a poorly thrown pass over the middle by Paulus. Three plays later, Daniels avoided the rush and hit Mitchell at the back of the end zone with a 33-yard pass for a 14-6 lead.

Syracuse struck back when Derrell Smith caused a fumble by Mo Plancher and Max Suter recovered at the USF 14. Three plays later, Paulus hit Williams on a pretty fade in the left corner of the end zone with 29 seconds left in the half.

Game Notes:

-With the win over Syracuse, the Bulls improved to 5-0 for the third straight year and just the fourth time in the program's 13-year history.
- Offensive starters for the game were: WR Carlton Mitchell, OL Jamar Bass, LT Jeremiah Warren, LG Chaz Hine, C Sampson Genus, RG Zach Hermann, RT Jacob Sims, WR A.J. Love, QB B.J. Daniels, FB Richard Kelly, RB Mo Plancher.
- Defensive starters were: DE Craig Marshall, NT Terrell McClain, DT Aaron Harris, DE George Selvie, LB Sabbath Joseph, LB Kion Wilson, LB Chris Robinson, CB Quentin Washington, S Mistral Raymond, FS Nate Allen, CB Jerome Murphy.
- In the first 10 plays of the game, USF forced three turnovers and Syracuse forced two. The Bulls picked up a pair of fumbles and had an interception while the Orange forced two fumbles.
- With seven turnovers gained in the game, USF takes the NCAA lead with 16 turnovers gained. Air Force is second with 15, as of Sept. 26. The seven turnovers for Syracuse ties a game-high mark for USF opponents. USF forced seven against Louisville in 2007 and Houston in 2002.
- USF forced and recovered two fumbles and had five interceptions in the game. Syracuse forced four and recovered three fumbles.
- The USF defense has intercepted a pass in 21 of the last 31 games and has 40 picks during that time. - The USF offense now has seven plays of more than 47 yards in 2009. The Bulls' longest passing play of 2008 was a 47-yard hookup between Grothe and Mitchell.

Individual Notes

- In the first quarter, S Nate Allen recorded his first interception of the season, and grabbed his second interception of the game, and seventh of his career in the third quarter.
- In the first quarter Terrell McClain forced a fumble and Quentin Washington recovered it for the first turnover of the game. USF has now forced and recovered a fumble in three of the first four games, forcing two against both Wofford and CSU and recovering one against CSU and two against Wofford.
- Sabbath Joseph forced USF's second fumble and third turnover of the game. Jerome Murphy recovered that fumble. Joseph has five career forced fumbles and Murphy racked up his second career fumble recovery on the play.
- On his 23rd birthday, senior RB Mike Ford ran over the Syracuse Orange defense for a 26-yard TD return, his second touchdown of the season and 19th of his career. In the third quarter, he stomped into the end zone on a five-yard run to tie Marquel Blackwell with 20 career rushing TDs. Andre Hall leads the category with 24 and Matt Grothe has 23.
- On his first carry of the game, RB Mike Ford picked up four yards to tie Vince Brewer's 1,099 career rushing yards, which is the eighth-most in USF history. One carry later, Ford added two more yards to take sole possession of the No. 8 spot in the record book with 1,163 yards.
- In the second quarter, Murphy made an interception, which led to USF's second TD of the game.
- B.J. Daniels connected on a 33-yard pass with WR Carlton Mitchell to score USF's second TD of the game. The completion is Daniels' fifth passing TD of the year and Mitchell's second TD of the season and seventh of his career.
- USF opened the second half with a one-play scoring strike as Daniels hit Mitchell for an 85-yard TD reception. The play was the longest of the season for the Bulls, surpassing the 77-yard pass from Daniels to Theo Wilson against Florida State.
- The 85-yard TD was also the second longest TD pass in school history. The longest was a 95-yard strike from QB Marquel Blackwell to DeAndrew Rubin against Northern Illinois on Sept. 7, 2002.
- The 85-yard reception by Mitchell is his fourth play over 50 yards this season, including two passes from Matt Grothe against Western Kentucky of 50 and 65 yards, and a 50-yarder from Grothe against Charleston Southern.
- KR Dontavia Bogan collected 109 kick return yards to surpass the career 1,000-yard plateau. He entered the game with 917 yards.
- Bogan also moves into second in career kickoff returns with 40. He passed Charlie Jackson and Taurus Johnson, who each had 39. Bogan now trails DeAndrew Rubin's 60 returns.
- In the third quarter, Kayvon Webster picked up his first interception of the season.

Carlton Mitchell notes
- Against Syracuse, Mitchell collected his fourth 100-yard receiving game, and set a personal best with 139 yards in the game. His previous 100-yard high was 130 yards against Western Kentucky in 2009. He also had two 100-yard games in 2007, with totals of 107 (vs. UCF) and 110 (vs. Cincinnati) yards. - Mitchell ended the game with 139 receiving yards. The school record is 149 yards in five catches by Clif Dell against Kentucky Wesleyan on Sept. 6, 1997.
- Mitchell moves ahead of teammate Jesse Hester and ties Scott McCready (1997-00) with eight career touchdown receptions. Mitchell now trails Hugh Smith (1999-02) and RJ Anderson (1998-99), who each have 10 career TD receptions.
- Mitchell moves past DeAndrew Rubin's 1,306 career receiving yards to take the fifth spot in the record book with 1,319 career yards. Mitchell now trails No. 4 Charlie Jackson's 1,373 yards.

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