Bulls Pull Off Historic Victory Over Seminoles, 17-7
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -South Florida fans didn't want to leave. Not even after more than three hours of sitting in 90-degree weather.
Most of the more than 12,000 sun-drenched, green-clad boosters remained in their end zone seats chanting ''USF, USF,'' for some 20 minutes after the Bulls defeated No. 18 Florida State 17-7 Saturday. It was the first meeting between the schools and came in front of Florida State's biggest home crowd in four years.
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The USF team stormed to the south end zone to salute their fans as the final seconds ticked off the clock. USF President Judy Genschaft, also in green, was leaving her air-conditioned skybox looking for the quickest way to the Bulls locker room.
''Do you believe it?'' she said happily as she hurried to an elevator.
''You have to beat them to get talked about,'' South Florida coach Jim Leavitt said.
''It changes history,'' he added. ''You have to beat them to get talked about. Now I can say we should be talked about.''
It was USF's first win over the state's big three - Miami, Florida and Florida State.
''They whupped us,'' said FSU coach Bobby Bowden, who talked all week about not being eager to play South Florida for the first time. ''They're a lot better than I thought.''
Bowden and his staff are now also likely to face questions about how they could let a talent like USF quarterback B.J. Daniels get out of town.
Daniels, a redshirt freshman who grew up in Tallahassee and was largely ignored by Florida State recruiters, dismantled the Seminoles' defense with one big play after another in his first career start. He was replacing four-year starter Matt Grothe, the Big East Conference's career total offense leader, who had a season-ending injury last week.
''It feels good playing in front of your friends and your family,'' Daniels said. ''I was very familiar with the people around so I definitely felt comfortable and it wasn't anything to get me nervous.''
Daniels ran for 126 yards, threw two touchdown passes and accounted for 341 of USF's 368 yards of offense.
''He's a great athlete,'' Bulls defensive end George Selvie said. ''I'm glad to have him as my quarterback.''
''He killed us,'' Bowden lamented after the game. ''Boy, they've got a great one there.''
It was the first time since Nebraska's Steve Taylor ran for 139 yards against the Seminoles in 1986 that an opposing quarterback rushed for over 100 yards against them.
The 6-1, 210-pound Daniels said after the game that he chose USF because the school allowed him to also compete in basketball, where he won playing time last winter at point guard.
Florida State (2-2) lost four fumbles, including a critical one by quarterback Christian Ponder that allowed USF to ice the game.
''The way we got beat up on offense, I didn't know we could get beat up like that,'' Bowden said. ''They did everything faster than I thought.''
South Florida (4-0) stuffed Florida State's running game, sacked Ponder five times and continually had Florida State's offensive line on its heels.
''The front four was absolutely relentless,'' Leavitt said. ''To hold them to 19 yards rushing was really important.''
The Seminoles rushed for 313 yards a week ago in a 54-28 thrashing of then-No. 7 Brigham Young.
Ponder completed 25 of 37 passes for 269 yards, most of it coming on short throws since he didn't have time to go downfield.
South Florida stopped the Seminoles on four plays from the 3-yard line early in the second quarter. USF then needed just five plays to cover 99 yards to get the game's first touchdown.
''That told the story right there,'' Bowden said.
Daniels hit a wide-open Theo Wilson on a 77-yard pass to the Florida State 8 to set up a TD throw to Ben Busbee on the next play. That put the Bulls up 7-0.
Another huge pass play, this one a 73-yard scoring pass from Daniels to Sterling Griffin, gave USF a 14-0 lead at the half.
''It's a great story, a quarterback coming back home,'' Leavitt said. ''Those things don't happen all the time, but it did today. It did today.''
- USF has won seven straight against teams from its home state, while FSU has lost three straight to instate foes - USF and Miami this season and Florida last season.
- USF is 11-14 all-time versus teams ranked in the top 25.
- The 83,524 strong is the second-largest road crowd in USF history, behind the 99,235 to watch the Bulls at Penn State on Sept. 3, 2005. The third-most was the 82,617 fans who watched USF beat Auburn on Sept. 8, 2007.
- USF is 4-2 all-time against the ACC with four straight wins over the conference (FSU in 2009, NC State in 2008, UNC in 2006 & 2007).
- USF has won 15 straight regular season non-conference games. The USF program has an all-time record of 64-35 at the NCAA FBS level and an 91-52 overall record.
- Jim Leavitt (Missouri '78) is the only coach in USF history. He has a career record of 91-52 and is in his 13th season at USF. Leavitt is 28-32 in true road games, 58-45 on television and 38-12 in temperatures above 80 degrees. USF and Leavitt are 10-1 against schools from the state with the only loss coming to Miami in 2005.
- USF is now 74-5 when leading after the second quarter, 78-5 when leading after the third quarter, 79-26 when gaining 300+ yards and 34-14 in the month of September.
- With the win over Florida State, the Bulls improved to 4-0 for the second straight year and just the fourth time in the program's 13-year history. USF extended its winning streak against regular season non-conference opponents to 15 dating back to its 37-20 win over North Carolina in Chapel Hill on Sept. 22, 2006 . The last regular season non-conference opponent to defeat USF was Kansas, 13-7, on Sept. 23, 2006.
- With a solo tackle in the first series, senior DE George Selvie recorded his 200th-career tackle. He ended the day with four solo tackles.
- In the first quarter R-Fr. QB B.J. Daniels scampered for 44 yards - the longest rush of his career. His previous long was 23 yards against Charleston Southern last week.
- R-FR. DB Jon Lejiste forced fumble in the first quarter, the first of his career and USF's fourth of the season.
- Sr. S Nate Allen recovered the fumble in the first quarter, his first of the season and fourth of his career.
- In the second, Daniels' 77 yard pass to Theo Wilson was the longest play of the season for the Bulls, Daniels' longest completion and Wilson's biggest gain. The play was two yards longer than Allen's blocked punt return against Charleston Southern.
- Daniels' first touchdown of the day was an 8-yard pass to senior TE Ben Busbee with 11:03 left in the second quarter. The catch is his second TD of the season and fourth of his career.
- Pinned in the end zone in the second quarter, Sr. K Delbert Alvarado let loose a 57-yard punt, his longest of the season. His career long is 61 yards.
- In the second quarter, Jr. LB Sabbath Joseph forced a fumble on the eight yard line, then senior LB Kion Wilson picked it up for a 19-yard gain.
- USF's second TD was a 73-yard pass from Daniels to Fr. WR Sterling Griffin. The catch was Griffin's first-career TD reception and Daniels' fourth TD pass in six career games played.
- In the second quarter, Selvie recorded a sack, increasing his career total to 27.5, which ties him with Dexter Davis of Arizona State for the top spot in NCAA active career sack leaders. Eric Norwood of South Carolina is close behind with 26.
- After rushing for 105 yards last week, R-Fr. QB BJ Daniels has gained at least 100 yards on the ground in back to back games for the first time since Mike Ford did against Syracuse (134 yards) and Louisville (140 yards) in 2007.
- USF has had a 100-yard rusher in the past three games as Sr. RB Mo Plancher gained 115 at Western Kentucky, then Daniels picked up 105 against Charleston Southern and 126 at Florida State. This is the first time USF has had a player run for 100 yards in three consecutive games since Andre Hall did in 2005. He had 168 yards at Rutgers, 222 at Syracuse and 100 against Cincinnati that year.
- USF forced and recovered four fumbles against Florida State, the last time was the Louisville game in 2007.
- Junior wide receiver Carlton Mitchell is sixth on the USF list for career receiving yards with 1,180 and is just 123 yards away from No. 5 and surpassing DeAndrew Rubin (1,306 from 1999-2002).