UTEP Battles Hard But Falls At No. 18 South Florida, 52-24
Sept. 24, 2011
TAMPA, Fla. -- B.J. Daniels threw for 202 yards and ran for 130 more, leading No. 18 South Florida to a 52-24 victory over UTEP on Saturday night.
Daniels scored on a 71-yard run on the Bulls' second offensive play and threw touchdown passes of 54 and 18 yards to Lindsey Lamar in the second half. The junior's long TD burst was the fourth-longest in USF's relatively brief football history, and receiver Victor Marc's 67-yard scoring run later in the opening quarter was the fifth-longest.
There was no immediate word on the nature or severity of an injury to Bulls punt returner Terrence Mitchell, who was carted off the field in the fourth quarter after making a tackle on UTEP punter Ian Campbell at the end of a 19-yard run on a fake punt play. Mitchell launched himself with head lowered and appeared to hit Campbell with his shoulder.
Carson Meger, one of three quarterbacks who have started games for the Miners this season, completed 26 of 40 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns. The sophomore was intercepted three times, with the last returned 30 yards by linebacker Sam Barrington for the USF's final touchdown.
Daniels, who completed 15 of 24 passes, led long TD drives on USF's first four possessions. Maikon Bonani kicked a 38-yard field goal the next time the Bulls (4-0) got the ball, building a 31-14 lead.
UTEP wasn't quite as succesful offensively, but the Miners did move the ball effectively against a USF defense that had been barely tested since yielding 508 yards during a 23-20 season-opening win at Notre Dame.
Leilyon Myers scored on a 4-yard run, Meger threw a 24-yard TD pass to Anthony McGhee to finish a nine-play, 88-yard march and Dakota Warren capped a 15,play, six-minute drive with a 24-yard field goal for UTEP, which gained 234 yards in the opening half and finished with 339.
Meger threw a 25-yard TD pass to Kevin Perry late in the third quarter.
USF, which has never won the Big East championship, begins conference play at Pittsburgh on Thursday night. A week after rolling up a Big East-record 745 yards of total offense during a 70-17 rout of Florida A&M, the Bulls gained 575 against UTEP, which expects Nixon (knee) and Reed (concussion) to return on defense for next Conference USA matchup against Houston.