It seems like every year Syracuse fans are worried about BJ Daniels when the Orange get set to play South Florida. Daniels without a doubt wins the “Gerry McNamara feels like he’s played in the Big East for about 20 years” award for Big East football, and each time Syracuse plays them he seems like he is a primary focus for Syracuse to slow down in their game plan.
But what has he done that causes us such concern every year? He without a doubt has an impact just for the fact that you need to plan a defense around him to contain him because of his play making ability, specifically with his legs. Here are Daniel’s rushing numbers in his previous three meetings with Syracuse:
Seriously though, it is pretty clear that if the Orange can contain his legs they have a shot at winning the game. The Syracuse run defense has been stellar as of late, and they are going to have to contain Daniels on the ground if they want to be successful. Their one win in the series history against the Bulls? Daniels was sacked a number of times, leaving his total yards rushing at -1 for the game. Doug Hogue did an unbelievable job putting pressure on him in that 2010 contest, and the Orange are going to have to do that again in this game. As we saw from last season’s result, when Daniels can get room in the open field he will take it and make the Orange pay. Syracuse has to keep him in check and make him throw the ball.
If Daniels is in fact forced to throw the ball, the numbers are much more favorable for the Orange than with him on the ground. Here are Daniels’ passing numbers against the Syracuse secondary in his career:
Again, the number of total completions clearly is a sign that Syracuse will dominate Daniels this Saturday. I took semiotics in college, and if there is one thing I learned from that class it’s that Syracuse is destined to succeed in anything involving that number.
Looking at his passing numbers, it is pretty clear that while he is a good quarterback through the air, he is not great. Against the Orange who have had a shaky secondary in previous seasons, Daniels hasn’t been overly impressive through the air. Since Skip Holtz took the job at USF, he has been trying to make Daniels more of a pocket passer rather than a scrambling quarterback. Ryan Nassib has outperformed Daniels through the air in each of the two previous match ups, and he is going to have to do it again this Saturday.
My conclusions from looking up these stats are very simple. Is it justified that Syracuse fans are always so concerned about Daniels each time the Bulls and Syracuse play each other? Absolutely. Is this weekend going to be a situation of Daniels getting his numbers no matter what and the Orange have to shut down the rest of the team? Absolutely not. Syracuse has shown in the past that they can contain him with the schemes that they run, and if they can keep him in check this Saturday night they will have a great chance to win the football game.