When B.J. Daniels’ career comes to an end at South Florida, he’ll go down as the best quarterback — arguably the best player — in the history of the program. Of course, that storied collegiate career hasn’t come without tough moments. As the Bulls get set to take on Rutgers this evening in the Big East opener for each team, the Scarlet Knights continue to represent Daniels’ biggest challenge.
For a player as talented as Daniels, the following numbers and statistics are mind blowing: less than 50% completion percentage, one win, three touchdowns, 176 yards of offense per game. That’s not just one random box score over the course of a long career at South Florida. Those are the numbers compiled in three career games against the Scarlet Knights.
How have they managed to shut down a prolific Big East quarterback so often?
“It’s not just what they do to B.J. It’s what they do to everybody,” Bulls coach Skip Holtz said. “There’s a reason they’re the No. 1 defense in the league.”
So far in 2012, Holtz is right. Even without defensive guru and head coach Greg Schiano — ironically now in Tampa putting his stamp on the NFL — the Rutgers defense looks strong again. New coach Kyle Flood has overseen two dominant defensive efforts in his first two games against Tulane and Howard.
“I always call them crazy. They do a lot of different things; try to confuse the offense, the offensive line, especially the quarterback,” Daniels said. “There’s a lot of moving parts. You have to make sure you’re focused and dialed in on what you’re supposed to do … not get caught up in all the moving parts of their defense.”
Considering that South Florida is coming off a short week — traveling back cross country after a hard fought win at Nevada — this will be a challenge. While Daniels can use his vast experience against this Rutgers scheme, it will continue to be difficult to beat them.
In his last chance, his success or failure will likely determine the outcome of the game. It might even decide the Big East crown.