Posted by Chip Patterson
SOUTH FLORIDA WON. The Bulls did not show any signs of a Notre Dame hangover following the upset of the Irish in South Bend. South Florida took care of business against Ball State in Tampa, which drew their largest crowd for a home opener since 2008. Ball State was held scoreless for three quarters until Jahawn Edwards scored on a 13-yard touchdown run on the Bulls' backups. The score spoiled the chances of a shutout for the South Florida defense, but head coach Skip Holtz is happy to be 2-0 after the 37-7 win.
WHY SOUTH FLORIDA WON: BJ Daniels enjoyed one of his best performances in front of the home crowd, setting career highs for completions (28), attempts (39) and yards (359). The Bulls were also able to get some ground game going utilizing both Demetris Murray and touted Colorado-transfer Darrell Scott. The workload was split pretty evenly, and the pair combined for 133 yards on 26 carries while each scoring a touchdown. Combine that with three forced fumbles and only allowing the Ball State to convert on 3 of 16 third downs and the win came pretty easily for South Florida.
WHEN SOUTH FLORIDA WON: Red zone offense was one concern from the Notre Dame game, and Ball State was successful in holding the Bulls to field goals on two of the first three scoring drives. But when Demetris Murray was able to punch in the 2 yard touchdown to make the score 20-0, it was clear the game was getting away from the Cardinals.
WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA WON: More confidence and more respect from the college football community. They were favored to beat Ball State, but this same Cardinals squad did beat Indiana a week ago in Lucas Oil Stadium. South Florida didn't just win, they won convincingly - holding the Cardinals scoreless through three quarters while Daniels picked apart the defense.
WHAT BALL STATE LOST: Any momentum from the Indiana win. After rushing for 210 yards against the Hoosies, they were only able to move the ball 71 net yards on the ground against South Florida. The loss is not a devastating one for the Cardinals, but it certainly was a dose of reality after the Indiana win.
THAT WAS CRAZY. South Florida's first touchdown of the game came on a fumble return for a touchdown for the second week in a row. Against Ball State it occurred on the opening kickoff with Mark Joyce scooping up the loose ball and taking it to the house. Last week it was this goal line stand that kick-started the Bulls' upset of then-ranked Notre Dame.