TSX Report: USF Bulls Inside Slant

The Sports Xchange gives its post game report on the Bulls opener Saturday against Stony Brook -- looking backwards and ahead.

INSIDE SLANT

Since taking over in January, USF coach Skip Holtz has said he didn't want the quarterback to be his team's leading rusher again.

Apparently, that was no idle chatter.

B.J. Daniels logged only five rushes in the Bulls' 59-14 dismantling of Stony Brook in the season opener, less than a third of his usual workload.

"Definitely, I like our style of offense," said Daniels, whose runs were good for 23 yards. "It takes some of the pain and hits off of me. It gives us an opportunity to show what athletes we have on our team. They did a good job today."

Daniels averaged about 16 rushes a game after taking over the starting job when Matt Grothe was lost to injury in the third game of last season. He did not miss the extra carries this time.

"No," he said. "Our receivers were getting open. They were doing a good job, so it's just my job to hit them."

Daniels completed 15 of 22 passes (68.2 percent), a marked improvement over last year when he completed 53.7 percent of his attempts. He didn't have an interception.

"I thought B.J. was really in it," Holtz said. "I thought he was really focused and I thought he made some great reads. He turned and made a couple checks on the line of scrimmage where he got us out of a bad play and into a good play.

"For the most part he did a nice job of taking what the defense gave him. He didn't try and force the ball. He never put the ball in danger tonight. He protected it and that is what we harp, protecting the football, and he did it."

Of course, the real test comes next when the Bulls travel to Gainesville to take on the Florida Gators.

"You've got to treat every game just like the other, but Florida is a great team," Daniels said. "They're athletic and they're fast. It will definitely be exciting to go down to Gainesville next week."

NOTES, QUOTES

--USF's first season under coach Skip Holtz couldn't have begun any better. WR Dontavia Bogan hauled in a 59-yard touchdown pass from QB B.J. Daniels on the first play of the game, the first time in the program's 14-year history that the Bulls have scored on the season's first play from scrimmage. It is the fourth time the Bulls have scored on their first play of the game.

--Five true freshmen played for USF, and three had a hand in touchdowns. QB Bobby Eveld threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Demetris Murray, RB Marcus Shaw scored on a 63-yard run, and S Mark Joyce (three tackles) returned an interception 33 yards for a score. The other newcomers who played were WR Stephen Bravo-Brown (four catches for 48 yards), and CB Terrence Mitchell (one tackle).

--USF is 13-0 against FCS teams since moving to the FBS level in 2001.

GAME BALL GOES TO: QB B.J. Daniels -- In his second season as a starter, Daniels showed poise and discipline in going 15-of-23 passing for 264 yards and no interceptions. With his two touchdown passes and his 4-yard touchdown run, it marks the fourth time he has thrown and run for a touchdown in a game.

KEEP AN EYE ON: WR Evan Landi -- The sophomore looked very much at home at wide receiver after catching a game-high six passes for 104 yards. Landi had time as Daniels' backup at quarterback last season but with the injury situation at receiver, he is needed more as a receiver.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It makes it easy -- sometimes too easy." -- Coach Skip Holtz, on the Bulls' scoring on their first play from scrimmage.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

LOOKING GOOD: After a stumbling start because of special teams' mistakes, the Bulls took command of the game in the second quarter. Three running backs led a solid rushing attack, with freshman Marcus Shaw ripping off a 63-yard touchdown run on his way to an 86-yard night on just four carries. Sophomore Demetris Murray had 46 yards on 10 carries, and senior Mo Plancher fought through a shoulder injury to add 27 on seven carries. Backup QB Bobby Eveld, a true freshman, came off the bench to go 9-of-12 passing for 119 yards and a touchdown. The Bulls also came up with four interceptions.

STILL NEEDS WORK: Early mistakes in the punting game cost the Bulls points. They muffed two punts, and a fumble at the end of a return led to a Stony Brook touchdown. Another mistake -- P Justin Brockhaus-Kahn's knee touched the ground when he went to scoop up an errant snap -- gave Stony Brook a short field to work with for its second touchdown. That mistake came on a re-kick after a penalty had nullified the previous punt, which was downed inside Stony Brook's 5-yard line.

ROSTER REPORT:

--PK Eric Schwartz, who won the job over Maikon Bonani in the fall, kicked a 37-yard field goal in the second quarter but missed wide right from 32 yards in the fourth. Bonani handled kickoffs and had one go out-of-bounds, setting up Stony Brook at its 40-yard line.

--RB Mo Plancher (shoulder) did not start but did play. He had seven carries for 27 yards with a long run of 11 yards.

--DE Ryne Giddens sat out the game because of a foot injury.


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