SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 03: B.J. Daniels #7 of the University of South Florida Bulls throws a pass against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on September 3, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

USF Crushes Ball State 37-7

B.J. Daniels has a huge passing night and the Bulls have no trouble with the Cardinals, moving to 2-0 on the season.

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USF Vs. Ball State: Bulls Cruise To 37-7 Win

The South Florida Bulls showed no ill effects from their mentally exhausting week, setting a school record for first downs and moving the football at will on their way to a 37-7 win over the Ball State Cardinals at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday night.

B.J. Daniels only played about two and a half quarters as the Bulls raced out to a 30-0 halftime lead. He ended up completing 28 of 39 passes for a career-high 359 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Daniels and the USF first-team offense made it look easy all night long — Darrell Scott ran for 85 yards and a score, and receivers were open for Daniels all over the field. In all, the Bulls established a school record with 33 first downs, and rolled up 519 yards of total offense.

The defense also stepped up, holding the Cardinals to just 216 yards and recovering two Keith Wenning fumbles. Only after the backups started coming into the game for USF did Ball State have any sustained success moving the ball, or stopping the Bulls on offense. In fact, Skip Holtz had his backup offense on the field for one series in the third quarter, watched them go three and out, and then immediately put the first team back on the field to drive for another touchdown. The second team finished the game, but couldn’t add any more points to the total. Bobby Eveld was especially wild throwing the football, going just 3-for-11 for 13 yards and an interception.

Depth could ultimately be an issue for USF, but for right now the Bulls are 2-0 and likely to move up in the polls after an easy win. They can now look forward to another favorable matchup against the Florida A&M Rattlers next Saturday in Tampa.


USF Takes On Ball State In Home Opener Saturday Night

Tonight the Ball State Cardinals pay a visit to Tampa for their first-ever matchup with the South Florida Bulls, ranked #22 in the Associated Press poll. Game time is a little after 7:00pm, with tickets still available at the Raymond James Stadium box office. TV coverage is on Bright House Sports Network, ESPN 3, and various regional sports channels for anyone without access to those other options.

The Bulls have had an emotionally taxing week — a six-hour marathon win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in coach Skip Holtz’s return to his alma mater, and then the untimely passing of former athletic director Lee Roy Selmon, without whom there might not even be football at USF. The entire team attended Selmon’s memorial service on Friday, after Holtz told reporters that he was looking for way to ease off the throttle a little bit to give his team a chance to recharge and refocus for tonight’s game.

Ball State is coming off an emotional week of their own after knocking off Indiana 27-20 on a neutral field in Indianapolis. The Cardinals controlled the tempo in coach Pete Lembo’s debut, keeping the ball for over 36 minutes and converting 10 of 14 third downs. Quarterback Keith Wenning completed 23 of 29 passes for 173 yards and ran for another 61, accounting for three touchdowns as Ball State picked at the Hoosiers with short, effective plays. It was their second straight win over Indiana in their ongoing series, following a 42-20 whipping back in 2008, the year the Cardinals went 12-0 in the regular season under former coach Brady Hoke before losing the MAC championship game.

Lembo has coached against USF before — he spent the previous five seasons at Elon, an FCS school, and fell to the Bulls 28-13 in both teams’ 2007 season opener. Ball State has 17 returning starters and is not the pushover they were in Stan Parrish’s two seasons in Muncie. They can put quite a scare into USF if the Bulls aren’t able to get themselves focused on the game following this highly unusual week.

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