USF Downs No. 20 West Virginia, 30-19
TAMPA (AP) -South Florida's B.J. Daniels gave West Virginia fits with his arm and his feet.
The entertaining redshirt freshman quarterback threw for 232 yards and rushed for 104 more to account for more offense than the 20th-ranked Mountaineers managed as a team in the Bulls' 30-19 victory Friday night.
Daniels threw for three touchdowns, and the Bulls rebounded from two subpar defensive performances to frustrate West Virginia running back Noel Devine and beat their Big East rival for the third time in four years.
The Bulls (6-2, 2-2) allowed 75 points and 887 yards in conference losses to Cincinnati and Pittsburgh the previous two weeks, yet found a way to hold Devine to his lowest rushing total of the season.
In stopping their two-game slide, they hope they have pulled out of a funk that contributed to midseason swoons that also followed promising starts that lifted them into the Top 25 in 2007 and 2008.
''I guess a lot of people doubted us and thought we were going to go down the same patch we did the last two years,'' said Daniels, who had 336 yards total offense to West Virginia's 323. ''That was a lot of garbage that our team didn't listen to.''
West Virginia (6-2, 2-1) drove 80 yards after the opening kickoff to take a 7-0 lead, but never really got into a rhythm offensively.
''There's some young hurting guys in there, both physically and mentally. And they should be,'' West Virginia coach Bill Stewart said. ''That was a hard-fought game. I cannot fault our effort.''
Daniels threw TD passes of 49 yards to Carlton Mitchell, 11 yards to A.J. Love and 6 yards to Sterling Griffin. Eric Schwartz's third field goal, a 44-yarder 3 minutes into the fourth quarter put the Bulls up 30-19.
Jarrett Brown scored on runs of 3 and 11 yards, however West Virginia's senior quarterback had sporadic success throwing against a defense geared to stop the run.
Devine, who grew up 2 hours south of Tampa, was limited to 42 yards on 17 carries in what was a homecoming of sorts for him and a number of other Mountaineers from Florida, including Brown and leading receiver Jock Sanders.
Devine entered averaging 130.3 per game - third in the nation - and 89 shy of topping 1,000 for the second straight season.
''We talked a lot about him,'' South Florida coach Jim Leavitt said. ''We didn't want to let him get outside - we wanted to keep him hemmed up inside. ... He's such a great back. If he gets out, he's gone.''
Down two scores in the fourth quarter, the Mountaineers were forced to throw on virtually every down. Brown finished 19 of 32 for 205 yards and one interception, while Devine only carried the ball twice in the fourth quarter.
In a come-from-behind victory over Connecticut last week, the speedy 5-foot-7, 176-pound Devine set up one second-half touchdown with a 62-yard run, then scored the winning TD on a 56-yard burst.
West Virginia was trying to remain unbeaten in the Big East, along with Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. The Mountaineers lost to South Florida in 2006 and 2007 and have lost three of five games overall in the budding rivalry.
Daniels improved to 3-2 since replacing Big East career total offense leader Matt Grothe, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the third week of the season. He kept West Virginia offbalance with his mobility and made some of his biggest throws while scrambling to buy time.
''They were expecting me to run once I got outside the pocket, so a lot of the DB's had their eyes on me, and our guys got behind them,'' Daniels said.
Besides his 49-yard catch for a touchdown, Mitchell nearly scored on a 69-yard reception. Officials ruled he was pushed out of bounds at the West Virginia 9 as he tightroped up the sideline and into the end zone.
Three plays later, Daniels rolled to his right and - looking like a threat to run - found Love wide open for an 11-yard TD pass as the Mountaineers converged on him as he broke containment.
Daniels also had a 45-yard completion to Love and finished 13 of 26 without an interception.
''We haven't seen a guy like that (this year), but at the same time that's no excuse for our defense,'' West Virginia safety Robert Sands said. ''We've still got to go out there and make plays. He broke contain too many times, and he burned us.''
USF Football Post Game Notes
USF 30 (6-2, 2-2 BIG EAST) vs. No. 20/20 West Virginia 19 (6-2, 2-1 BIG EAST)
Friday, Oct. 30 2009, 8 p.m.
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.
- USF's win over West Virginia improves the Bulls' record to 6-2 for the third consecutive year and the sixth time in the programs 13-year history ... USF was also 6-2 through eight games during the 1998, 1999, 2002, 2007 and 2008 seasons.
- The Bulls' victory tonight improves their all-time record over West Virginia to 3-2 ... USF has won three of its last four games against the Mountaineers with the only loss during that four-game stretch coming last season in Morgantown, 13-7, on Nov. 24 ... In addition, the Bulls are now 2-1 against West Virginia at Raymond James Stadium.
- This season USF will honor former player Keeley Dorsey by wearing his No. 10 jersey ... Tonight, senior S Nate Allen donned the jersey ... Dorsey passed away after a team conditioning workout on Jan. 17, 2007 ... This season would have been his senior year.
- After a 12-game streak of 40,000 or more fans coming through the turnstiles at Raymond James Stadium to see the Bulls play was snapped against Charleston Southern on Sept. 19 (39,798), tonight's attendance of 56,328 marks the second consecutive home game of better than 50,000.
- Tonight's attendance is the seventh largest to ever see a USF home game ...
- West Virginia was the fourth ranked opponent USF has played, which is the most in a single season in program history ... In addition to West Virginia being ranked No. 20 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Top 25 polls, the Bulls also took on No. 18/25 Florida State, No. 8/8 Cincinnati and No. 19/20 Pittsburgh.
- USF has never played three consecutive ranked opponents, let alone three in a span of 16 days or even in a single season ... The Bulls took on No. 8/8 Cincinnati on Oct. 15 and No. 19/20 Pittsburgh on Oct.. 24, in addition to No. 20/20 West Virginia tonight.
- By the end of the weekend, USF will be one of only eight teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision to have faced four ranked opponents this season, joined by Miami, USC, Oregon, Virginia Tech, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Vanderbilt.
- The USF defense came up big against the BIG EAST's top rusher Noel Devine ... Devine came into the game averaging 130.3 yards per game, however was held to just 42 yards on 17 carries ... It was the first time in nine games - dating back to last season - that he was held to fewer than 50 yards rushing.
- The Bulls' defense also held Devine without a touchdown for the first time in eight games.
- RB Moise Plancher, S Nate Allen, LB Kion Wilson and DE George Selvie were USF's captains for tonight's game ... Captains will be announced throughout the season by coach Jim Leavitt on a game-by-game basis.
- Tonight's offensive starters were: WR Carlton Mitchell, WR Jessie Hester, LT Jamar Bass, LG Jeremiah Warren, C Sampson Genus, RG Zach Herman, RT Mark Popek, TE Ben Busbee, WR Dontavia Bogan, WR A.J. Love, QB B.J. Daniels, RB Mo Plancher, HB Richard Kelly.
- Tonight's defensive starters were: LE Jason Paul-Pierre, NT Terrell McClain, DT Aaron Harris, RE George Selvie, LB Sabbath Joseph, LB Kion Wilson, LB Chris Robinson, LC Quenton Washington, SS Mistral Raymond, FS Nate Allen, RC Jerome Murphy.
- DE George Selvie tied the USF career record for games started tonight with 45 ... He joins Carlton Williams (2005-08), Stephen Nicholas (2002-06) and Trae Williams (2002-06) who also started 45 career games.
- QB B.J. Daniels threw his first of three touchdown passes on the night with a 49-yard strike to WR Carlton Mitchell with 7:41 left in the first quarter ... Daniels would then hit WR A.J. Love on an 11-yard pass with 6:57 left in the half ... Daniels then hit Sterling Griffin on a six-yard pass for a TD. The three TDs were a career-high for Daniels.
- Mitchell's TD reception was his fourth of the season and the ninth of his career.
- Mitchell moved from fifth on the school's career receiving yards list (1,352), coming into tonight's game, to second after recording 132 yards on the night on five receptions ... He is second only to Hugh Smith (1999-02) who finished his career with 1,523 yards.
- Love's TD reception with 6:57 left was his first of the season and the fourth of his career
- LB Kion Wilson recorded his first interception of the season and the second of his career early in the second quarter ... Fellow LB Sabbath Joseph picked up his first career fumble recovery when Wilson put the ball on the turf at the end of the play.
- WR Sterling Griffin caught his second career touchdown pass on a six-yard reception from B.J. Daniels with 5:26 left in the third quarter.
- B.J. Daniels had more total yards - 336 (104 rushing and 232 passing) - than West Virginia turned in on the night ... The Mountaineers had 323 total yards (118 rushing and 205 passing) in tonight's loss.
- Daniels' 104 yards rushing tonight is the third time in his career that he has surpassed the century mark ... He also ran for better than 100 yards against Florida State (126 yards) on Sept. 26 and Charleston Southern (105 yards) on Sept. 19.
- K Eric Schwartz is just the third player in the BIG EAST this season to be perfect in field goals with three or more attempts ... Schwartz finished the night 3-3 after coming into the game 3-6.