It wasn't the prettiest of wins, but the #18 USF Bulls (4-0) built up a two touchdown lead early and coasted to a 52-24 win over the UTEP Miners (2-2) tonight at Raymond James Stadium.
After piling up a Big East record 745 yards last week against Florida A&M, the Bulls offense racked up 575 yards, including 373 yards on the ground. B.J. Daniels had another strong game tonight, throwing for 202 yards and 2 touchdowns while also rushing for a team high 130 yards and a score. Darrell Scott added 87 yards and a touchdown, with Demetris Murray and Victor Marc adding scores through the ground as well. Marc's 67-yard run had to be the play of the night. Victor shed multiple tackles and made a couple really nice moves on the way to the endzone.
Daniels spread the ball out through the air, hitting 8 different receivers on the night. WR/RB Lindsey Lamar was the leading receiver on the night, collecting 4 catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns. Evan Landi had 3 catches, while Sterling Griffing caught 2 balls.
It was quite a different story for the Bulls defense, who let reserve QB Carson Meger throw for 240 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Miners negated the USF's quick defensive line with a lot of quick 3-step drop passes, and the Miners capitalized on missed assignments in the Bulls' secondary. USF was without starting CB Quenton Washington, who missed the game due to lingering knee injury. Backup safety Tyson Butler also missed the game with a hamstring injury. Washington should be ready the Pitt game on Thursday while its unknown when Butler will be ready to return to the field.
USF was able to get 3 interceptions off Meger, which lead to 21 big points for the Bulls. Kayvon Webster, Ricardo Dixon, and Sam Barrington each had an interception, with Barrington returning his 30 yards for a touchdown to finish off the scoring in the 4th quarter.
There was a very scary moment in the 4th quarter on a UTEP fake punt when WR Terrence Mitchell and UTEP P Ian Campbell slammed into each other on a helmet to helmet collision. Mitchell was at full speed after sprinting for 40 yards, and the impact left Terrence motionless on the field for a few moments. Mitchell was able to move his arms and feet after a few minutes, but was carted off the field as a precautionary measure. Mitchell was diagnosed with a concussion shortly after leaving the stadium.
The Bulls will have a short week, as they head to the Steel City to start Big East play against the Pitt Panthers on Thursday.