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2012: Big Win in the Rocky Mountain West


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USF
 

2012: Big Win in the Rocky Mountain West

On Sept. 3, the Bulls will start their 20th season of football.  This summer we’ll take a look back at 20 moments, one for each season, including the “practice but no games” year of 1996.  These may not be the biggest moments in USF history; they may not even be moments where things went right for the Bulls.  But they help define the program, remind us where the time has gone, and show how our Bulls have progressed as season 20 gets closer and closer.

20 Seasons, 20 Memories: 17th Edition (2012)

Story Archive

First Edition (1996)
Second Edition (1997)
Third Edition (1998)
Fourth Edition (1999)
Fifth Edition (2000)
Sixth Edition (2001)
Seventh Edition (2002)
Eighth Edition (2003)
Ninth Edition (2004)
10th Edition (2005)
11th Edition (2006)
12th Edition (2007)
13th Edition (2008)
14th Edition (2009)
15th Edition (2010)
16th Edition (2011)

 

By JIM LOUK

Voice of the Bulls

TAMPA, JULY 29, 2016 – There are a lot of challenges to football scheduling; one of them being when you’re done you might not be done.  Game dates move frequently, and for various reasons some games drop off the schedule completely, occasionally at the most inconvenient times.

Such was the case in 2012, when after a late change the Bulls found themselves with an open date in a schedule that had become most difficult to finalize. The Bulls already had a 1-AA opponent, Chattanooga, booked for week one, so finding another 1-A program was imperative. Also, USF was out of the business of booking road games without a return date, so that narrowed the field of candidates even more.

The 2011 holidays came and went, and the schedule remained one game short.  Now the season was only nine months away.

I remember the administration was quite pleased to nail down the Nevada Wolf Pack as the season’s 12th game. The announcement finally came on Jan. 17, 2012. It was a home-and-home series and the Bulls would be heading to Reno on Sept. 8, the second game of the season.

It was hard to analyze what the Bulls would be like in 2012. The 1-7 finish of 2011 was still fresh in fans’ minds, but the Bulls did have B.J. Daniels coming back for his senior year, and there were young stars like Andre Davis providing some hope for the future.

The season’s opening week went well, with USF beating Chattanooga, 34-13.  Daniels threw touchdown passes to three different receivers and the Bulls picked up a methodical victory.

Nevada was next, marking the first time the Bulls had crossed the Rocky Mountains to play a game in 11 years.

On a beautiful clear afternoon in Reno, the Bulls fell behind 14-0 almost immediately. Then Davis caught a 51-yard touchdown pass from Daniels, but USF didn’t convert the extra point. Nevada scored again, and it was 21-6 heading in to the second quarter.

The Bulls had some fight on that day though. A short touchdown run made it 21-13 at the half, and in the third quarter Lindsey Lamar ran for 35 yards to get the Bulls back to 21-20.

Things looked pretty grim midway through the fourth quarter. Nevada had scored twice and the Bulls were down, 31-20. About eight minutes remained. It was time for the senior quarterback to take over.

First he found Chris Dunkley for 52 yards to get the Bulls back to within one score.

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Then, with 38 seconds left, he hit Davis for 56 yards.  It was a pretty good time to take your first lead of the day.

Final score USF 32, Nevada 31. Daniels threw for 363 yards and three touchdowns. He ran for 53 yards.  It was a vintage B.J. Daniels performance.

But like his predecessor, B.J. would not finish his senior year. He had some moments for the Bulls in the 2012 season, but you could argue his last great one happened in Reno that day.

One more thing about scheduling. Sometimes you have to agree to a game that creates a real challenge for your team. As fortunate as USF was to plug in Nevada on Sept. 8, taking that game left the Bulls with a four-hour plane ride back, and Rutgers at home just five days later.

The Bulls lost that game, 23-13. It triggered a six-game losing streak for USF that saw the Bulls drop from 2-0 to 2-6.

The Bulls beat Connecticut on Nov. 3, but that win came at a huge cost.  Late in the game, Daniels ran for 15 yards and landed awkwardly on his leg.  Like Matt Grothe four years earlier, the USF career of B.J. Daniels ended in a blink of an eye.

The schedule continued with dates against Miami, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, and the Bulls weren’t very competitive in any of those final three games. After the Bulls lost, 27-3, to Pittsburgh on Dec. 1 at home, the 2012 season came to a quiet end. For the first time in program history, the Bulls had back-to-back losing seasons.

There’s an empty feeling when the regular season ends and there is no bowl game to look forward to. The end of the season feels sudden, although in reality it rarely is. Driving home from the stadium that day, it was hard not to speculate that more change might be ahead.

 

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