Syracuse defense struggles to contain South Florida’s Daniels in victory

first_img Published on October 28, 2012 at 1:50 am Contact Chris: | @chris_iseman TAMPA, Fla. — Marquis Spruill asked his coach if there was anything Syracuse’s defense could do. B.J. Daniels was tearing up the Orange’s defense, a unit that was among the best in the Big East going into Saturday’s game.Yet Daniels, who had 371 rushing yards through South Florida’s first seven games, was slicing through SU tacklers and bursting into wide-open territory. Spruill’s frustration reflected that of the entire unit and SU head coach Doug Marrone.“He’s always hurt us. To me, it’s not a surprise,” Marrone said. “This team was picked second in the Big East. Really, to this point, outside of USC, which is a very, very good football team, this South Florida might be the most talented team we’ve played to date.”Syracuse’s largest task was stopping South Florida’s mobile quarterback, and it failed to do so effectively. Daniels ran for 134 yards, just 49 fewer than he threw for. The Orange managed to overcome his quickness in its 37-36 win at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday, but Daniels’ performance left SU’s defense helpless nonetheless.Daniels has been the Bulls’ leading rusher in three games this season, but USF remains winless in the Big East. Against SU, though, Daniels always seems to shine the brightest. Last season, Daniels ran for 117 yards in South Florida’s 37-17 win over the Orange in the Carrier Dome.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMarrone said during the week that Daniels would certainly feel good coming into this year’s matchup with his 2011 performance in mind. So his team’s singular focus had to be on containing the Bulls’ quarterback.“He’s very mobile,” Spruill said. “You give him space, he’s dangerous.”South Florida’s offensive line gave Daniels plenty of time in the pocket throughout the game. Once Daniels left the pocket, though, there was no telling where he would end up.On USF’s second drive of the game, he broke free for a 19-yard run, setting up a field goal for his team.In the second quarter, Daniels took off for a run that highlighted USF’s dominant first half. Daniels took the snap on first-and-10 and had nowhere to throw.So he tucked the ball and ran 53 yards down the left sideline to bring USF to Syracuse’s 16.“He’s just like, sideline to sideline, it’s hard to contain,” Syracuse nose tackle Jay Bromley said. “He’s a phenomenal player. It was just, we would play great defense; as far as coverage-wise, he would break the defense down with his feet.”No matter what Syracuse did, Daniels beat its defense. With 3:53 left in the second quarter, Daniels almost single-handedly brought South Florida into the end zone.The Bulls started the drive at their own 1 yard line. After a 4-yard run by running back Marcus Shaw, Daniels ran for 19 yards on two plays. He then picked up 9 more yards on the drive to get South Florida into Syracuse’s territory.The frustrating part, Bromley said, was that the Orange’s secondary could eliminate every one of his options downfield and it would make no difference. Once he broke free, Daniels was gone.“We would have sacks, and he would break it down with his feet and get out of them,” Bromley said. “Definitely a lot tougher than any other quarterback.”His escapability and athleticism fueled the Bulls’ final drive of the first half, in which the team tacked on a field goal to take a 23-3 halftime lead.Syracuse defensive coordinator Scott Shafter said after the game that Daniels simply beat the defense. It wasn’t that his unit necessarily did anything wrong. When it was all over,Daniels had racked up more than 100 yards and still couldn’t lead his team to a win.But there was no denying Syracuse was lucky on that front. The Orange was the latest team to see Daniels run all over the field and all over its defense.“B.J. made some great plays,” Shafer said. “We had some calls I would never take back. He made people miss. He’s a great college football player.” Comments Related Stories UNBELIEVABLE: Syracuse completes 2nd-half comeback with late scoring drive to shock South Floridacenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img