I Did NOT See That COMING: Bulls 38, Cincy 30

Whomever that jerk was humming Taps to memorialize our season at the end of our podcast last week needs to get a clue.  And I hope our starting quarterback has quality medical coverage, because he's got a case of schizophrenia that would make Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde blush. But The Good BJ shows why he's an absolute force, and made us remember why we all had that man crush on him all of last season. He was nothing short of fantastic tonight. 

Around here we've been like everyone else; hoping the guy we remembered would reappear, but beginning to think maybe the square peg/round hole argument had some validity. One game does not a season or career make, but tonight was a performance that goes a long way to telling the reasonable doubters (not the haters, mind you, because those people just suck) that they are wrong. Our deserved congratulations to #7, you did yourself and your team proud.  And let's hope no one else in the league goes crazy on Saturday so you get the Big East Player of the Week award.

Usually if you give up a third of a mile in yardage, you're not going to win. But... well, take it away Mr. Maivia:

 

It'll take us a day or two to begin to make sense of what happened in what was an insane game both statistically and on the field, but for now, we'll start here:

  • Cincinnati had all six of their drives in the second half terminate inside the Bulls' 27, and created 359 yards of total offense in the third and fourth quarter. They came away with only 17 points.
  • Cincinnati ran 90 plays, USF only 52 (h/t Greg Auman for beating me to this).
  • Take away BJ's scrambling and Dontavia Bogan's 18 yards on a reverse, and the Bulls had 39 yards rushing. And won.
  • Usually if you get outgained 590 to 378 on the road, you're going to need a bunch of turnovers, or you're going to lose. Cincinnati only had one turnover (granted, a whopper of a mistake by Collaros to SkinnyRaymond), but it wasn't enough.

School records set after about half an hour of digging:

  • Yards per completion: BJ Daniels, 22.23 (13-289 yards). Old record: Glen Gauntt, 20.5 (13-266) vs. Cumberland in 1998.
  • USF's media guide doesn't have single-game QB rating stats, but I'm willing to wager BJ's 272.65 tonight is at least in the top three all time.  13/16, 289, 2TD, ZERO INT (spelled out for emphasis). Oh, and two rushing TD's as well.  As good a performance as a Bulls QB has had against a Big East opponent.

USF opponent single-game records:

  • Yards allowed: 590. Old record: 577 by Cincinnati in 2004 (the Gino Guidugli game).
  • Passing attempts: 61. Old record: 58 by Kentucky in 2000.
  • Passing yards allowed: 512. Old record: 422 by Pittsburgh in 2004.
  • Total offense by an individual: Zach Collaros, 490 yards. Old record: Giovanni Carmazzi with 410 yards for Hofstra in 1999 (we hated this guy, so good riddance from our books). Collaros also set the single-game opponent passing record with 463 yards.

But what the numbers don't show is a defense that, while getting pwned between the 20s, made plays when they needed to be made. Three field goals, and a monster stuff 4th and short with 1:38 left in the 3rd quarter that set up a backbreaking 71-yard TD pass on the very next play. They even mixed in a three and out in the first quarter for good measure.

Some preliminary pluses and minuses, after the jump.

Positives:

1.  B.J. Daniels. It can't be said enough. He made excellent decisions, and he hit the big plays deep when they were there, including the TD to Evan Landi, a 64-yarder to Dontavia Bogan, and the 71-yarder to Faron Hornes. The latter was a busted coverage by Cincy, but Daniels saw it immediately, and hit him in stride before he cut it back to the house. It will be such a pretty game tape that TMZ will be trying to buy it and distribute it. Total awesomesauce.

A progression read on the last TD drive was also a beauty. Demetris Murray stays in for pass protection, but sheds his block as BJ rolls out to his right. Daniels finds Murray with a perfect touch pass and an acre of running room behind him for 39 yards.

And two TDs with his own legs don't hurt either. I don't think I've ever such a polarizing leap from a goat one week to an all-star the next.

2. Balance in the passing game. Bogan had three catches for 85 yards, but six different receivers caught 13 passes. The only one averaging less than 10 yards per catch was Lindsey Lamar, who had four for 35 yards mostly as a safety valve.

3.  The O-Line. It's amazing how much better an offense can look when there's time and blocking. Zero sacks allowed. 

4. Skinny Raymond. Ten tackles, an INT, and two pass breakups. But the TD Marcus Barnett caught over him was pretty bad.

5. Stopping superstars. For the second week in a row, USF contained the opponent's primary playmaker. Last week it was Noel Devine that didn't get on track. Tonight they held Isaiah Pead to 15 carries for 48 yards on the ground, and just two catches for 27 yards through the air. 

Negatives:

1. DB play. I don't know if this is how Mark Snyder coached them up, or if it was just poor play, but USF's defensive backs seemed to be in another ZIP code when UC caught passes. Maybe they were told to concede everything short and intermediate (and intermediate is being generous, there were some 20-yard completions that had a ton of room), but Zach Collaros seemed to have plenty of time to let routes develop. 

Also the technique shown by Raymond and Quenton Washington on two of the touchdowns can be described, generously, as horrendous. Their footwork and body position while one-on-one in the corners of the end zone was horrible. Credit UC's receivers for also making plays, but with no safety help there the shutdown coverage must be better.

2.  Tackling. Continuing the schizophrenia from last week, while West Virginia's ball carriers looked like they were wearing velcro, the Bearcats must have covered their guys in WD-40. We'll let Voodoo break this down in his film study later this week, but we wrapped up very poorly at times this evening.

3.  Running game. Thirty-nine yards on the ground from your backfield isn't good. It worked out, but USF will need to do a better job grinding out yards in the future.

4.  590 yards allowed. It's a win, and they came up big when needed... but FIVE HUNDRED AND NINETY?? Zoinks.

Feel free to add or subtract in the comments, and give us things you'd like to see discussed when we start watching the tape on this rather insane affair.  We'll have much, much more this week on this, and how it gets us ready for the game we want to win more than any other on our conference slate.

It's 12 days away... but never too early. 

#BeatRutgers

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