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USF Bulls

With Daniels, you take good with the bad

Special correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 10:43 AM
TAMPA -

Even as he begins his senior year as the University of South Florida quarterback, B.J. Daniels remains a work in progress.

He can score for the Bulls and lead the team to big-time victories, showing great composure in road wins against Florida State as a freshman and Notre Dame a year ago. But he's almost as likely to help the opposition score, as he did for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on Saturday night.

The Mocs had 10 points at halftime, with both scoring drives gifted by Daniels errors.

A fumble on his own 25-yard line late in the first quarter led to Chattanooga's first points, a 39-yard field goal.

But, as is so often the case with Daniels, bad and good were evident in equal measure.

In the second quarter, Daniels threw a pair of touchdown passes, one on a perfectly thrown pass to diminutive receiver Derrick Hopkins. The other showcased the best of Daniels' abilities.

Facing pressure in the form of two onrushing Mocs, Daniels kept his composure, avoided a sack and threw a high-arcing ball into the end zone for speedy Terrence Mitchell to run underneath for a 39-yard touchdown pass.

Chattanooga's second scoring drive also was a result of a Daniels misjudgment, as he threw into double coverage along the sideline. UTC's D.J. Key intercepted the pass near midfield and returned it to the USF 4-yard line. Chattanooga scored two plays later.

"The (interception) right before half was inexcusable," offensive coordinator Todd Fitch said. "He went away from the side we wanted to go to to try and make a play, try to force something out there. That's a critical error."

Daniels showed there is still work to do, fumbling again in the third quarter, though the Bulls recovered. On the next play, Daniels threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Griffin.

Apart from the turnovers, Daniels was efficient. He completed 17 of 26 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for a 20-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter on what would be his final snap of the night.

"I thought he threw the deep ball extremely well. Obviously he made a nice scramble play for a touchdown," Fitch said. "I thought there were some positives there, but obviously the mistakes with the ball security kind of dampens the mood a little bit and he knows that. We've got to take better care of the ball."

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