2011 Prediction & Game Story
Week 11, USF at Syracuse
Big East Fearless Predictions &
- FREE EXPERT COLLEGE FOOTBALL SELECTIONS
- Get Tickets For This Game
Nov. 12 South Florida 37 … at Syracuse 17
CFN Analysis: Finally, South Florida started playing like it’s supposed to. After losing four straight, all in the Big East, B.J. Daniels took the team on his shoulders throwing for 254 yards and running for 117 yards and a score. The Orange didn’t have any way of stopping him. … Demetris Murray added a nice balance to Daniels with 86 hard yards and two scores. He did a nice job of working inside and out. … The ten penalties were a bit too many, but the turnover problems stopped with just one fumble. … The defense wasn’t a rock, but it was good enough to get by and it held firm against the run. … The season starts now. With three straight home games, starting out with Miami and followed up by Louisville and West Virginia. It’s going to take more than Daniels to go on a winning run.
The offense has fallen flat over the last two weeks and the defense hasn’t picked up the slack. The defensive front wasn’t able to contain B.J. Daniels, who avoided the rush time and again and made things happen on his own. … Ryan Nassib wasn’t effective despite throwing for close to 300 yards. He had to keep throwing to make up for the lack of a running game, and while tried to get the team back in the game, but his 58-yard pass play to Alec Lemon was too little, too late. … Lemon finished with ten catches for 179 yards and two scores. … The Orange still needs to work to get to a bowl game with Cincinnati and a trip to Pitt to close. To get a win, the running game has to start working again. Fast.
(AP) SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The South Florida Bulls finally got to sing their fight song. Thank you, B.J. Daniels.
Daniels ran for 117 yards and a touchdown, skipped away from Syracuse's defensive pressure at every turn, and the Bulls celebrated a Big East victory, beating Syracuse 37-17 on Friday night.
After four straight conference losses, South Florida (5-4, 1-4 Big East) finally had snapped the program's longest losing streak.
"Coming out with a win, the tradition for us is to go into the locker room and sing the fight song -- we haven't done that in a while," Daniels said. "It was real exciting to get the opportunity to do that."
The Bulls had dropped their previous three by a total of 12 points, including 20-17 in overtime at Rutgers a week ago. Thanks to Daniels, they scored early on this night and watched Syracuse self-destruct with a slew of early major penalties.
"Everybody kept asking, what is there to play for now, you're 0-4 in the league?" head coach Skip Holtz said. "I said, 'These guys are going to go in the locker room and they're going to play for each other.' It's been six weeks (with two open dates) since we've had a win."
It hasn't been that long for Syracuse (5-5, 1-4), but the Orange are getting closer. They've lost three straight since a huge 49-23 win over then-No. 11 West Virginia three weeks ago and have two games left to get that elusive sixth victory to qualify for the postseason.
"It makes us last in the Big East. Obviously, that's not our goal," Orange center Macky MacPherson said. "Just making a bowl game wasn't something we were trying for -- we wanted to take it a step higher. We're a talented enough club to do that and we're a good enough team."
Not on this night. Not against the fleet-footed Daniels, who was 23 of 34 for 254 yards passing and was not sacked, easily dashing away from trouble against Syracuse's swarming defense. He finished with 371 yards of offense and had outgained the Orange until the final 3 minutes.
"He was extending plays, throwing strikes," said Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones, who was called for two early personal fouls. "He did a good job of being himself."
Syracuse's Ryan Nassib completed 23 of 46 passes for 297 yards, but the offense never clicked consistently. The Orange crossed midfield only once on its first four possessions, going scoreless in the opening quarter for the fifth time this season. They also were hampered by four major penalties in the early going.
The Bulls built a 10-0 lead on Maikon Bonani's 29-yard field goal and Marcus Shaw's 3-yard touchdown run, then watched Syracuse self-destruct in the penalty-filled game. The Orange were called for seven penalties totaling 86 yards and the Bulls had 10 for 84.
When Demetris Murray scored on a 2-yard run to make it 30-10 late in the fourth, the Orange had gained only 280 yards of offense. Small wonder most of the 41,582 who showed up on a blustery night had packed up and left the Carrier Dome before the end of the game.
Syracuse's Ryan Nassib completed 23 of 46 passes for 297 yards. Alec Lemon had 10 catches for a career-high 179 yards and scored twice, including a 58-yard reception with 3:41 left.
It was the pass that Lemon didn't catch that will haunt him for a while. He dropped a critical pass deep in Bulls territory on fourth down early in the fourth quarter with the Orange trailing 23-10 and Daniels guided the Bulls back down the field for a 14-point swing that essentially sealed the victory.
"I should have pulled that one in. It's frustrating for myself," Lemon said. "I didn't come down with the touchdown. I feel like I kind of let my team down. It's going to haunt me tonight and all through the bye week."
Nassib, who gained 30 yards rushing on 10 carries, finally got the Orange untracked late in the second quarter, driving them 52 yards in just five plays. He scrambled left and hit tight end Nick Provo for 24 yards and, after getting sacked by Ryne Giddins, hit Lemon for 22 yards on a third-and-14 play. Lemon caught a 10-yard scoring pass on the next play to draw Syracuse within three with 3:52 left.
The Orange hurt themselves on the ensuing kickoff when Shane Raupers' kick squirted out of bounds, and Jeremiah Kobena was called for a personal foul.
That put the ball at the Syracuse 45, with plenty of time remaining for fast-scoring South Florida. In the previous six games, the Bulls had 14 scoring drives of less than two minutes -- and six took less than one minute and three plays or less.
Add one more.
Andre Davis made a diving 43-yard reception between two defenders on first down and Daniels scored from the 2 to cap a drive that took 25 seconds.
Ross Krautman kicked a 28-yard field goal with 1:21 to go, but the Bulls quickly marched down the field again. Daniels drove South Florida to the Syracuse 29 with 9 seconds left. Jeremi Wilkes prevented a touchdown with a vicious hit at the back of the end zone that jarred the ball away from Victor Marc, but Bonani converted a 46-yard field goal as time expired for a 20-10 lead.
After Bonani kicked a 35-yard field goal to give USF a 23-10 lead midway through the third, the Orange got a lucky break. Daniels hit a wide-open Marc along the left side, but he fumbled as he dove for the goal line and the ball sailed through the end zone for a touchback.
South Florida (4-4) at Syracuse (5-4) Nov. 11, 8:00, ESPN2
Here’s The Deal … South Florida and Syracuse are the two teams furthest from Big East frontrunner Cincinnati in the standings, yet that won’t keep both from striving toward bowl eligibility in November. Thanks in part to tissue-soft non-conference schedules, each is within reach of the six wins needed to play an additional game in the postseason. Neither, however, will enter Friday night’s contest with any momentum at its back.
The same Bulls that began the year with a shocker in South Bend, and were ranked for a brief time, have been an enigma ever since, losing four straight to drift back to .500. Head coach Skip Holtz has been unable to get his kids over the hump, dropping the last three by no more than six points. The Orange has been only slightly better, falling in back-to-back league road games to Louisville and Connecticut. Syracuse, though, did enter 2011 with lower expectations, and could still point to a second straight bowl game—any bowl game—as a symbol of progress under Doug Marrone.
Why South Florida Might Win: While there have been ups-and-downs this fall, the program still boasts considerable defensive talent, and an overall edge in speed compared to the Orange. The Bulls remain a team that can perforate the walls of the pocket with a pass rush that ranks second nationally in sacks and tops in tackles for loss. LT Justin Pugh aside, Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib is protected by a marginal collection of blockers.
South Florida can get after the quarterback from a variety of different angles, including DE Ryne Giddins from the outside, DT Keith McCaskill from the inside and linebackers Sam Barrington and DeDe Lattimore coming hard from the second level. On a fast track indoors, the Orange will have a difficult time containing the jets of the Bulls’ defenders.
Why Syracuse Might Win: Whereas South Florida has had problems outside of Tampa, the Orange has gone 4-1 in the Carrier Dome, highlighted by a 49-23 signature win over West Virginia in its last Friday nighter. Syracuse will enjoy a far more consistent option at the most important position on the field, boasting steady Ryan Nassib versus erratic Bulls QB B.J. Daniels. The junior has thrown 19 touchdown passes and only six picks, making good use of TE Nick Provo and receivers Alec Lemon and Van Chew. USF, on the other hand, has scored just 10 offensive touchdowns in its five toughest games. Its staple ground game will have a tough time navigating an improving Orange D that now ranks 25th nationally against the run.
What To Watch Out For: If South Florida is going to put a charge into its offense, it’ll need to get Daniels, Darrell Scott and Demetris Murray going on the ground … preferably early. The quarterback and backs, though, are going to run headlong into a defense that’ll know what’s coming. As the Bulls’ passing game sputters, especially without injured top receiver Sterling Griffin, the Syracuse staff will be content to press up and stack the box with active linebackers Dyshawn Davis, Marquis Spruill and Dan Vaughan, and defensive backs Shamarko Thomas and Phillip Thomas.
What Will Happen: Although both teams have been skidding of late, a primetime affair with bowl eligibility hanging in the balance is still a very big deal for Syracuse. And the program will perform accordingly. The Orange will continue to excel in the Carrier Dome, keeping the South Florida off balance with the running of Antwon Bailey, and the accuracy of Nassib in the intermediate passing game. It’ll be close, like so many of these teams’ games are, but battle-tested Syracuse will find a way late to keep the Bulls from halting their losing streak.
CFN Prediction: Syracuse 26 … South Florida 21
Click For Latest Line From ATS: Syracuse -3.5 O/U: 51.5
- Get Tickets For This Game
- FREE EXPERT COLLEGE FOOTBALL SELECTIONS