Offense shines in blowout win

There’s an old adage that states, “Records are meant to be broken.” Against Florida A&M on Saturday night, then-No. 20 USF made the saying a reality.

The Bulls avoided the trap of playing down to the level of their Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) opponent, controlling the game from the start and powering to a seemingly effortless 70-17 win in front of 50,128 fans at Raymond James Stadium.

“We talked all week about scores all over the country, especially against FCS programs,” coach Skip Holtz said. “West Virginia was losing 12-10 a week ago against Norfolk State at halftime. We really just challenged our players to go out and play our game. I thought they were really dialed in, really focused and I was really pleased with the way they came out here and played.”

Offensively, the Bulls posted a staggering 745 yards of total offense – the highest total in Big East history. Starting quarterback B.J. Daniels went 21-for-31 for 382 yards, tying the school record for passing yards. He also threw four touchdowns and no interceptions, which have plagued him in each of the last two seasons.

“I’m excited for our players because they did what we asked them to do,” offensive coordinator Todd Fitch said. “But they’ve got to understand that next week is another challenge. I’m really, really happy, obviously – it’s tough not to be excited about it.”

Between Daniels and backup Bobby Eveld, the Bulls totaled 477 passing yards, breaking another USF record.

Running back Darrell Scott accounted for four touchdowns in the blowout, three on the ground and one through the air on a screen pass that turned into an 84-yard score in the second quarter. At halftime, Scott had 197 yards – 113 on the ground and 84 receiving – as well as three touchdowns.

In all, USF racked up 39 first downs, breaking a school record the Bulls had set just a week prior with 33 against Ball State. In 16 possessions, USF scored 10 touchdowns, nearing the school record of 80 points, set in the first game in program history in 1997 in an 80-3 win over Kentucky Wesleyan.

“I’m very happy with the performance offensively,” Daniels said. “We put up some numbers, some yards and got some key first downs.”

Florida A&M (1-2) scored on a pair of passing touchdowns in the second quarter from quarterback Austin Trainor, who went 10-for-24 for 106 yards and one interception. Rattlers’ receiver Lavante Page reeled in a 4-yard pass, while Edmond Baker’s came from 32 yards out.

The Rattlers also scored on a 34-yard field goal from kicker Trevor Scott. USF kicker Maikon Bonani didn’t attempt a field goal in the game, though he was 10-for-10 on extra points.

Thanks to an impressive showing and losses by Michigan State and Ohio State, which were both ranked above USF, the Bulls have climbed to No. 18 in the Associated Press poll and No. 17 in the USA Today/Coaches’ poll. No. 16 West Virginia is the only other ranked Big East team.