TAMPA, Florida -- USF Bulls head coach Skip Holtz joked that the clouds looked puffier and the sun was shining a little bit brighter on Saturday. Game day apparently gives him a warm, fuzzy feeling.
A long-awaited win to kick off the year will put a little pep in your step, too.
USF picked up its first win since Week 9 of last season, a year in which they finished with a disappointing 5-7 record. The Bulls lost seven of their final eight games a season ago and finished with a losing record for the first time in seven seasons. Their 6-year bowl game streak also came to an end in 2011.
Saturday night, the team took an entire offseason of frustration out on poor Chattanooga in front of over 41,000 fans at Raymond James Stadium. USF won 34-13, outgaining the Mocs by 218 yards. Quarterback B.J. Daniels accounted for four touchdowns in the win.
"It was OK," the senior quarterback said of his team's opening performance. "There are a lot of things that we can work on. I know me, personally, I hate that I missed a couple of throws that were easy and wide open."
Daniels finished the game 17-for-26 for 265 yards. He threw an interception late in the first half that set up the Mocs' only touchdown and fumbled at midfield setting up a first quarter field goal.
The word that Holtz kept coming back to during his post game press conference was "consistency." He felt like his team didn't have enough of it on offense or defense. The Bulls won thanks to some bursts of brilliance on defense with a few splash plays on offense sprinkled in. Overall, Holtz wasn't thrilled with the result, but was definitely pleased with his team's effort in the season opener.
"Really proud of the team. Proud of the way we worked. Proud of what we've been through," he said. "You can't complain about 1-0 (record)."
USF held the Mocs to just 2-15 on 3rd down conversions. Chattanooga managed just 151 yards of total offense. Junior defensive end Ryne Giddins dropped the quarterback for two of the team's six sacks.
The Bulls will hit the road in Week 2 for a matchup with Nevada. The Wolf Pack beat Cal on the road in its season opener, 31-24. Game time is set for 3:35 p.m. and will air on the CBS Sports Network.
Bobby Lewis, 10 News Sports