The Bulls came out ready for one of the biggest games against Pittsburgh and had high hopes for a shot at the Big East lead, but the Bulls simply could not score enough to get the victory. Let’s take some time to look at the numbers behind the win and find out what happened out there.
Quarterback B.J. Daniels struggled throughout the game and was injured throughout (wearing a knee brace). With Daniels limited in scrambling, the Bulls relied on him as a pocket passer, but the Pitt defense was too much for him. Daniels finished the day 15 of 29 passes for 132 yards (4.6 per completion) and 1 interception. The Pitt defense harassed Daniels all day and he was not able to get the ball down field efficiently. Daniels could not escape the pocket and some poor decisions late in the game made a tough day even more worse for him.
The running game struggled as well for the entire game. Mo Plancher was back healthier but only had 13 carries for 67 yards. He had several hard runs for first downs, but the Pitt defense made some key stops and never let him break loose. Demetris Murray had 11 carries for 27 yards as well. Terrence Mitchell the defensive back and punt returner had a nice reverse trick play for the Bulls only touchdown on a 45 yard run that allowed him to showcase his speed in the open field. Daniels had 6 rushes for -5 yards as his leg, mainly his knee, kept him hobbled for the entire game.
The Bulls receivers struggled as well, but were able to get plenty of pass inference calls against Pitt which did help with field position during the game. Bogan led the way for the Bulls with 4 receptions for 60 yards. Evan Landi had 4 receptions for 31 yards, Faron Hornes had 3 for 19 yards, and even Isaac Virgin had 1 reception for 15 yards.
USF special teams were quiet as well. Bonani was 1 of 2 on field goals. Lindsey Lamar had 1 huge kick return that was called back due to a block in the back. Terrence Mitchell was quiet on the punt returns and never had a chance to break the ball outside.
On defense Mistral Raymond and Jacquain Williams stood out for the Bulls. The linebackers struggled with the running game of Pitt, forcing Snyder to call blitzes from the safeties, Young and Lejiste. The defensive line was solid again, Grissom, Hampton, and company caused trouble for Sunseri but simply could not force fumbles despite the numerous hits and sacks they got.
The Bulls have a lot to fix and regroup as they get ready for the game against Miami on Saturday.