Florida A&M-South Florida Preview

South Florida coach Skip Holtz is pleased with how B.J. Daniels

has started to see the field and develop as a quarterback. Holtz

might not need much production from the third-year starter with FCS

foe Florida A&M in town.

The 20th-ranked Bulls look to move to 3-0 on Saturday night when

they face the Rattlers, whose lone victory this season came against

a Division II team.

Daniels had a down 2010 season despite winning MVP honors in a

Meineke Bowl victory over Clemson that helped South Florida finish

8-5 in Holtz’s first year at the helm. He threw for 1,685 yards

with 11 touchdowns and 13 interceptions after passing for 1,983

yards with 14 TDs and nine INTs the previous year.

The junior opened this season with an efficient, no-turnover

performance in a 23-20 victory at then-No. 16 Notre Dame on Sept. 3

that lifted the Bulls into the Top 25 for the first time in two

seasons. Daniels was at his best in last Saturday’s 37-7

home-opening win over Ball State, setting career highs in

completions (28), attempts (39) and passing yards (359).

“It’s far and away the best game B.J. Daniels has had since I’ve

been here,” Holtz said of the Big East offensive player of the

week. “… It was one of his best games because of the way he

managed the offense. Just the poise he shows in the pocket now, the

confidence he has displayed, the leadership role he’s given forth –

he is truly playing quarterback. He’s not just an athlete running

around making plays.”

Daniels, 16 rushing yards shy of moving past Vince Brewer for

10th all-time at South Florida, could give way to backup

quarterback Bobby Eveld early in this matchup if he can get the

Bulls off to another quick start.

South Florida has outscored opponents 46-0 in the first half

after taking a 30-0 lead into halftime last Saturday, having

outgained the Cardinals 386-76.

“I think it started in the summer with the commitment these guys

made,” Holtz said. “I think they are very focused. They’re very

dialed in.”

The Bulls could put up plenty of points on the Raymond James

Stadium scoreboard in this matchup the way Florida A&M (1-1)

has struggled defensively. The Rattlers are 81st in the FCS in

total defense after giving up 427 total yards in a 23-17 loss at

Hampton last Thursday.

Florida A&M yielded 401 in a 28-22 victory over Division II

Fort Valley State on Sept. 3.

“We were lucky to get out of that ball game (with a win),” coach

Joe Taylor said.

Austin Trainor has had a shaky start, completing 53.6 percent of

his passes with two TDs and three INTs, and the Rattlers have

struggled to run the ball at 1.6 yards per carry.

Facing South Florida is unlikely to help them improve that

average. The Bulls defense has held opponents to 3.1 yards per

carry and has forced eight turnovers.

“Really a good nucleus of guys on the defensive side of the ball

that are really starting to play well,” said Holtz, whose

Connecticut team defeated Taylor’s Hampton squad 42-34 in the 1998

FCS playoffs.

South Florida defeated visiting Florida A&M 37-3 on Sept.

10, 2005, in the teams’ only meeting.