The USF Bulls returned home to defeat Western Kentucky, 24-12, after a loss to the Florida Gators two weeks ago. The Bulls (2-1) expected more offense from B.J. Daniels and Co. considering the Hilltoppers (0-4) give up nearly 50 points per game.
Although the Bulls came out with the victory, their passing game continued to struggle. Daniels, a redshirt sophomore and former All-Big East freshman, has not thrown the ball well in his last two games.
His first poor performance was against an excellent Florida Gators secondary in which he threw four interceptions and completed only 25 percent of his passes. He fared better in the WKU game as he completed 7 of 11 passes for only 57 yards. He added an interception, as well.
It is somewhat understandable that Daniels would not play well during the Florida game, but WKU is another story. The team that has lost 24 straight games and have given up nearly 300 yards in passing offense, were starting four new players in the secondary, three of them being freshman.
Two weeks from now, South Florida will open its Big East conference play. If the team is to be successful in the Big East, Daniels will need to utilize his receivers, limit turnovers, and get the ball down the field.
Although the passing game did not really get going, the rushing game for the Bulls is another story. Demetris Murray, a sophomore out of Buford, Ga., led the team with 115 yards on 15 carries. Moise Plancher, a sixth-year senior, added 79 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.
The Bulls, who have gone by a running-by-committee approach throughout this season, may have found their top running back in Murray. The 5'10", 206-pound Murray was very impressive throughout the game, especially in the first half when he ran for 83 yards on eight carries. He also added an impressive 39-yard run.
Being able to find a reliable and talented running back in Murray will only help the Bulls out in the future. Having a superb rushing attack will take pressure off B.J. Daniels' legs and will allow the passing game to open up.
In Daniels' defense, he has been without top receivers A.J. Love and Sterling Griffin to injury. He was also without another top receiver in senior Dontavia Bogan this past game. However, Daniels needs to build a rapport with the likes of Evan Landi, Stephen Bravo-Brown, and T.J. Knowles if this team is going to be successful in the Big East.
South Florida will look to improve on their 2-1 record as the Bulls remain in Tampa for their next game against another Sun Belt conference team in Florida Atlantic (1-2).