On a short week after a cross country trip to Nevada, the USF Bulls (2-0) now begin their real test when they start Big East play Thursday night against Rutgers (2-0).
Through two games, it’s obvious the passing game is one of USF’s strengths. Senior quarterback B.J. Daniels has thrown for 588 yards, scored six touchdowns, and has one interception.
However, the same passing game USF has relied on against UTC and Nevada may not be able to reproduce the same numbers against The Scarlet Knights. That’s because Rutgers boasts one of the top defenses not only in the Big East, but in the nation, as they have for the last two seasons. This season, they are one of the leaders in FBS schools in total defense, scoring defense, sacks, tackles-for-loss, pass defense, and rushing defense.
Don’t be shocked if Rutgers’ defense wreaks havoc on Daniels.
“They’re very blitz orientated, they’re very movement orientated,” USF offensive coordinator Todd Fitch said. “They try to cause confusion…you have to have ways of settling them down.”
Historically the Rutgers defense has been successful in confusing USF’s offense, especially Daniels.
Daniels has had little to no luck on the ground against Rutgers, being limited to an average 30 yards rushing per game.
“I mean, I always call them crazy,” Daniels said about the Scarlet Knights defense. “They do a lot of different things to try and confuse the offense, offensive line, and especially the quarterback.”
In his three seasons at USF, Daniels has only completed 45.6% of his passes against Rutgers, scoring three touchdowns, while adding four interceptions. He has also been sacked 11 times.
“There are a lot of moving parts. Seeing them year in and year out you just gotta make sure you’re focused and dialed in on what you’re supposed to do and your assignment and not get caught up in all the moving parts of their defense.”
Rutgers leads the all-time series 5-2 against USF, including a 2-1 record against the Bulls at Raymond James Stadium.
Scarlet Knights Coach Kyle Flood is in his first season as Rutgers head coach…. Last season, Tampa native Jeremy Deering’s 98-yard kickoff return set up the comeback win for Rutgers against USF. The Bulls have 24 seniors on this year’s team.