We’ve made more than our fair share of jokes around here that South Florida quarterback B.J. Daniels has been with the Bulls for seemingly forever. Unfortunately, his time with the program has indeed come to a disappointing and premature end.
Daniels suffered a broken ankle in USF’s 13-6 win over UConn Saturday night. His season and his collegiate career are likely over. It appears that even in victory, something USF hasn’t had often this year, there’s a loss.
Daniels finishes his career with over 8,000 passing yards and 52 passing touchdowns. He will be replaced by backup quarterback Matt Floyd, who has filled in for Daniels before. Floyd will need to guide USF to three straight victories if the Bulls are to make the postseason.
Daniels is, by all accounts, a likable and good guy. He’s had an up-and-down career at USF, but no one should ever have to see their collegiate playing days end like this.
We don’t believe in superstition around these here parts, but South Florida’s 2012 fate was perhaps sealed for the worst when we gave the Bulls a realistic chance at winning the Big East title.
Obviously, it’s a long season, but USF didn’t help itself Thursday night by losing to Rutgers 23-13. Dropping early-season conference games has become somewhat of a tradition for the Bulls. When I’ll learn that for good and stop having preseason faith in USF, I can’t say.
Anyway, the battle for the Big East’s second-best team belongs to Rutgers — at least for the time being. The Scarlet Knights forced four turnovers and kept USF from under 100 yards rushing. That put more pressure on Bulls quarterback B.J. Daniels to get the passing game going. While Daniels had 242 yards through the air, at least half came on two or three attempts where he simply chucked it downfield and relied on broken coverage.
But mostly he threw it up for grabs. For better or worse, the tip drill was B.J. Daniels, defined. Two of Daniels’ three interceptions were tips, as was a long completion that put the Bulls deep in the red zone.
Skip Holtz hasn’t turned the corner with USF yet. There are growing doubts if he ever will.
Not that Rutgers was much better. The Scarlet Knights had 11 penalties (that were accepted) for 85 yards. Rutgers can run the ball well even without Savon Huggins and plays solid defense. There are some big, talented receivers on the team and even quarterback Gary Nova looked better tonight than he had in the first two weeks of the season.
But the penalties. Rutgers can’t seem to put it all together somehow.
If Rutgers can clean up even a little bit, they may — may — challenge Louisville for the Big East crown, but as of today the Cardinals still look like the class of this league. It’s not all that close, either.
As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.
A true American hero
If you don’t know the story of Daniel Rodriguez, you are truly missing out on one of the most inspirational narratives of the 2012 college football season. Short version: Rodriguez’s father passed away mere days after his son graduated from high school, a tragic turn of events that pushed the aspiring college football player into a military career. Rodriguez ultimately served two tours of duty in the Middle East — one in Iraq in 2007 and another in Afghanistan in 2009 — and received the Bronze Star Medal of Valor and the Purple Heart for his time during the latter tour. After leaving the military, he worked his way into becoming a walk-on wide receiver at Clemson. On Saturday, Rodriguez caught the first pass of his collegiate career [/goosebumps], a mere four-yard reception during the No. 12 Tigers’ 52-27 beatdown of Ball State that was the culmination of well over five years of hard work, dedication and sacrifice. God bless you, Daniel Rodriguez, for what you’ve done for this country and for the inspiration that you’ve surely become to the countless individuals who’ve become aware of your uplifting story over the past few months.
No. 1 holds serve. No. 2? Meh
No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 USC were favored by a combined 64.5 against Western Kentucky and Syracuse, respectively; only the former truly held up its end of the bargain. The Tide, which vaulted past the Trojans into the top spot in the polls following its season-opening thumping of Michigan, had little trouble with 39-point underdog Western Kentucky, easily handling the Hilltoppers 35-0 in posting its fourth shutout in the past 15 games. Quarterback AJ McCarron was again his quietly productive and efficient self, passing for 219 yards and four touchdowns in the win, while the Tide defense limited WKU to 224 yards and just 1.6 yards per rush attempt. The Trojans, on the other hand, struggled mightily for 45 minutes against Syracuse in a “neutral-field” game in New Jersey. Leading just 21-16 after three quarters of play, the Trojans ultimately pulled away from the unranked Orange in what became a 42-29 win. Matt Barkley tied a school record — his own school record — with six touchdown passes, although he may have lost his starting center to injury for an extended period of time in what would prove to be a significant development given USC’s NCAA-related depth issues. Add the two results together, and it’s very likely the Tide will do nothing but extend its lead over the Trojans when the next set of polls are released early Sunday afternoon.