On Senior Night at Raymond James Stadium, the University of South Florida football program bid farewell to 25 players before Saturday night's game against Pittsburgh.
There were plenty of sentimental moments, but the biggest was reserved for QB B.J. Daniels, whose season ended Nov. 3 with a broken leg in the fourth quarter against Connecticut.
Daniels, a four-year starter who played in 47 games and started 42, accounted for 10,501 career total yards. Fans from the small crowd showered him with affection as Daniels embraced his parents, Bruce and Rhonda Daniels of Tallahassee.
"I feel so bad that B.J. wasn't able to finish out the season," USF coach Skip Holtz said last week. "He was playing like you think a fifth-year senior should be playing. He did so much for this program and this university."
The recognized seniors combined for 793 games (and 333 starts) heading into Saturday night's game.
The senior group also included: WR David Aristil, DB George Baker, LB Sam Barrington, PK Maikon Bonani, FB Chris Breit, P Justin Brockhaus-Kann, FB Spencer Cavalieri, OL Damien Edwards, OG Danous Estenor, DT Cory Grissom, LB Kalin Hall, TE Jeff Hawkins, DE Colton Hudson, LB Mike Jeune, RB Lindsey Lamar, LB Mike Lanaris, WR Evan Landi, S Jon Lejiste, WR Victor Marc, RB Demetris Murray, OT Mark Popek, TE Andreas Shields, S Ernie Tabuteau and DB Kayvon Webster.
For the second straight season, USF concluded against an opponent playing its final regular-season game as a member of the Big East Conference.
Pittsburgh (along with Syracuse) will join the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2013.
Last season, USF finished with a 30-27 home defeat against West Virginia, which jumped to the Big 12 Conference this season.
Price is right
USF freshman TE Sean Price entered the 20-catch club with two first-half receptions. Price didn't make his first reception until the Oct. 20 game at Louisville.
"I can't say I expected it to happen," Price said last week of his increased workload in the late season. "I'm just playing my role. The harder I work, the better my game and the better my team's game."
Barrington had a career-high two sacks, both in the first half. … Pittsburgh RB Ray Graham, who gashed USF for 226 yards in last season's meeting, clinched his first 1,000-yard rushing season in the third quarter. … For the third straight game — coinciding with the absence of Daniels — USF failed to score a first-half touchdown. … Pittsburgh became the first team to defeat USF five straight times in the Bulls' 16-season football history. … USF's Mike McFarland was called for a personal foul (blow to the head) on the second half's opening kickoff. It was a touchback. … Next season, USF has home non-conference games scheduled against McNeese State (Aug. 31), Florida Atlantic (Sept. 14) and Miami (Nov. 30), plus a Sept. 7 trip to Michigan State. The eight-game Big East schedule will feature games against East Division opponents Central Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville and Rutgers. The other three opponents will come from the West Division mix of Boise State, Houston, Memphis, San Diego State, SMU and Temple. The Big East is expected to set its 2013 home-and-away slate this week during conference meetings in New York. Of course, with Louisville and Rutgers set to exit (presumably in 2014), then Tulane and East Carolina entering (that same season), the lineup will be reset. And that's pending further changes.