TAMPA, Fla. -- The next time B.J. Daniels goes home to Tallahassee, he'll have bragging rights for the whole city.
South Florida's steadily improving quarterback beat Florida State in his first college start two years ago. Saturday night, he took down the state capital's other team, throwing for a career-high 382 yards and four touchdowns to lead the 20th-ranked Bulls to a 70-17 rout of Florida A&M.
"I'm from Tallahassee and know a lot of people on both teams," said Daniels, who's father works for FAMU. "It's fun to go back, and beat people you grow up with."
A week after throwing for 359 yards but just one TD in a 30-point victory over Ball State, Daniels led the Bulls (3-0) to touchdowns on eight of 10 drives he directed before leaving the game for good in the third quarter. The junior who grew up near the FAMU campus completed 21 of 33 passes and scored on a 5-yard run.
"He was very focused, very dialed in," USF coach Skip Holtz said. "He continues to grow and mature every week. He's not going to be the one-hit wonder."
Darrell Scott had a big night, too, rushing for a career-best 146 yards and scoring two TDs on the ground. The 240-pound transfer from Colorado also turned a screen pass into an 84-yard touchdown, rumbling up the left sideline before cutting back to the middle on the field to stay ahead of the pursuit.
Daniels began the rout with a 43-yard scoring pass to A.J. Love. The Bulls outgained the Rattlers 537 yards to 112 in the opening half and finished with a school-record 745 yards total offense -- eclipsing the 580 they gained in a victory over Liberty in 2001.
"The score is really not indicative of what happened. To be honest with you, I thought we competed, especially in the first half," FAMU coach Joe Taylor said.
"If we could have just tackled better and at least forced them to drive the field and not give them those big plays," Taylor added, "certainly it would have been a different ballgame."
USF moved into the Top 25 for the first time in nearly two years following a season-opening win at Notre Dame. The next three games on the schedule -- Ball State, FAMU and next week against Texas-El Paso -- were bunched together in hopes of giving Holtz an opportunity to give his reserves valuable experience for the start of Big East play at Pittsburgh on Sept. 29.
The Bulls scored on three of four possessions before Holtz began substituting, replacing Daniels with backup quarterback Bobby Eveld late in the first quarter.
The sophomore's second pass was intercepted by Devontae Johnson, though, and the FAMU cornerback's 48-yard return to the USF 7 set up the Rattlers' first touchdown.
In all, Daniels led the Bulls to touchdowns on seven of nine drives before halftime, with one of the two not reaching the end zone ending on a fumble at the FAMU 34 and the other inside the Rattlers' 10 on the final play of the half.
Davis also blocked a punt and returned it 11 yards for a third-quarter touchdown. Scott scored on runs of 6 and 56 yards, then capped his night with 30-yard scoring jaunt on the last drive Daniels was in the game.
Eveld finished up for the Bulls, leading one long TD drive.
"I don't how many yards the halfback got, but we made him an All-American," Taylor said. "We just couldn't tackle him. We were right there to tackle him, we just didn't tackle him."
FAMU, coming off a 23-17 loss to Hampton, had 181 yards total offense. The Rattlers were limited to 39 yards net rushing.
"We knew coming into this game that it was going to be really tough, and it was nothing short of that," Trainor said. "That's a really good defense that we were facing ... We put up a decent amount of points, but we missed a lot of opportunities again. Week after week, we keep missing opportunities. ... We left at least 14 points out there again."
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|North Carolina A&T||7-1||10-2|
|North Carolina Central||7-1||8-3|
|South Carolina State||6-2||7-4|