USF Senior Writer
TAMPA – The USF offense put its foot on the accelerator and ran over Florida A&M on the way to busting open the record books Saturday night.
The No. 20 Bulls set a new single-game Big East mark with 745 total yards of offense and tied a USF record with 49 first-half points in a 70-17 victory over the Rattlers before a crowd of 51,128 at Raymond James Stadium.
That was just part of the fun for a USF offense that passed the Big East’s previous all-time record for yards (727) with 6 ½ minutes left in the fourth quarter.
“It’s certainly hard to find a whole lot to complain about tonight when you look at the way we played,” head coach Skip Holtz said.
Darrell Scott had the first 100-yard rushing game of his USF career by halftime and did something no other Bull has before in the process. The redshirt junior became the first player in program history to record both a rushing and receiving touchdown of more than 50 yards in a season.
Scott finished with 146 yards on 12 carries and scored four touchdowns, including one on an 84-yard reception.
“I’ve been dreaming about it and it finally happened for me,” Scott said.
Quarterback B.J. Daniels quickly etched his name in the school’s history books as well.
The redshirt junior tied the USF record for passing yards in a game (382) and broke the record for a half (355) while setting a new career high with four touchdown passes in two quarters. Daniels also rushed for a score.
“He’s been very, very consistent,” offensive coordinator Todd Fitch said. “.. He made some special players. I’m really proud of his focus.”
It might not have been an eight-second record like last Saturday against Ball State, but the Bulls didn’t take too much longer to score against the Rattlers.
Daniels hooked up with A.J. Love for a 43-yard touchdown pass and catch as the Bulls took only 1 minute, 46 seconds to get on the scoreboard. The play was the longest of Love’s college career and set the tone for what would become an offensive explosion for USF.
The Bulls added to their lead about seven minutes later after Jon Lejiste snatched up USF’s first turnover of the game with his first interception of the season. His 21-yard return set the Bulls up at the FAMU 42 and it took them seven plays to make it back in the end zone when Scott rumbled 6 yards for the second score of his USF career.
FAMU only had the ball for one play after the USF score and the Bulls jumped on turnover No. 2 when Jordan Stanley fumbled at the Rattlers’ 23 with Luke Sager scooping it up. A fake handoff to Scott four plays later allowed Daniels to stroll 5 yards untouched to help put USF ahead, 21-0.
The run marked the seventh time Daniels has both passed and rushed for a touchdown in his USF career.
Austin Trainor’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Lavante Page cut FAMU’s deficit to 21-7 early in the second quarter, but USF was just getting warmed up.
Scott busted through the middle of the line on USF’s next drive, bounced off defenders and jetted to the end zone for a 56-yard touchdown run.
Trainor counter-punched with a 32-yard scoring pass about a minute later, but the Bulls delivered the knockout punch shortly after.
FAMU blitzed about 70 percent of the time on defense before Saturday and one backfired big-time on the Bulls’ next drive. Daniels bided his time in the backfield and hit Murray for a 36-yard gain that set USF up in Rattlers territory.
Big play B.J. wasn’t finished on the drive.
Five plays later, he threw a bullet to Sterling Griffin in traffic that turned into an 18-yard touchdown. Just like that, the Bulls were in control with a 35-14 lead with 9:06 left before halftime. Griffin finished with a game-high 97 yards on eight catches.
Daniels truly outdid himself on USF’s next drive.
It took only a flick of the wrist for Daniels to throw short downfield to Scott, who ran 84 yards for a score that put the Bulls ahead, 42-14, with 6:14 remaining in the first half.
Daniels’s fourth scoring pass of the first half went 27 yards to freshman Andre Davis, who celebrated the first touchdown of his brief USF career as the scoreboard read: USF 49, FAMU 14.
“B.J. continues to grow and mature every week,” Holtz said. “He’s not going to be a one-hit wonder.”
Another amazing feat was USF’s numbers in the first-half stat book. The Bulls racked up 537 yards of offense with three scores in the red zone in four chances. USF could have added its production inside the 20, but it ran out of time before the half when Victor Marc hauled in a 13-yard reception as time expired in the second quarter.
Scott was back for more to start the third quarter for USF and added to his most memorable night in green and gold. His rushing yards total rolled past the 140-yard mark when he scored from 30 yards out on the Bulls’ first drive of the half as USF took a 56-14 lead.
Scott’s night was over after that and Davis re-took his turn in the spotlight for a while.
Davis, a Tampa native, blocked a punt for USF’s next score and returned it himself for an 11-yard touchdown with five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Marcus Shaw got the Bulls closer to another record with a 2-yard touchdown run that helped the Bulls post the second-most points in a game when they had 70 on the board with 13:20 left to play.
The score also left the Bulls only four points away from breaking a FAMU record. The Rattlers gave up 73 points against Tuskegee back in 1926.
Bradley Battles, another young running back, helped USF pass the Big East mark with a 4-yard gain after FAMU tacked on a field goal.
“We played a lot of people tonight and we didn’t try to set records, that wasn’t the object,” Holtz said. “I was trying to get our backups some work.”