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USF stops No. 20 West Virginia again

Oct 31, 2009 - 3:51 AM By FRED GOODALL AP Sports Writer

TAMPA, Fla.(AP) -- Once again, South Florida had all the answers for slowing down West Virginia.

B.J. Daniels threw for 232 yards and three touchdowns, and the Bulls rebounded from two subpar defensive performances to frustrate running back Noel Devine and the 20th-ranked Mountaineers in a 30-19 victory Friday night.

The Bulls (6-2, 2-2 Big East) allowed 75 points and 887 yards in conference losses to Cincinnati and Pittsburgh the previous two weeks, yet found a way to hold Devine to his lowest rushing total of the season.

West Virginia (6-2, 2-1) lost to the Bulls for the third time in four years. The Mountaineers drove 80 yards after the opening kickoff to take a 7-0 lead, but never really got into a rhythm offensively.

Daniels, who rushed for 104 yards on 14 carries, threw TD passes of 49 yards to Carlton Mitchell, 11 yards to A.J. Love and 6 yards to Sterling Griffin. Eric Schwartz's third field goal, a 44-yarder 3 minutes into the fourth quarter put the Bulls up 30-19.

Jarrett Brown scored on runs of 3 and 11 yards, but West Virginia's senior quarterback had sporadic success throwing against a defense geared to stop the run.

Devine, who grew up 2 hours south of Tampa, was limited to 42 yards on 19 carries in what was a homecoming of sorts for him and a number of other Mountaineers from Florida, including Brown and leading receiver Jock Sanders.

Devine entered averaging 130.3 per game - third in the nation - and 89 shy of topping 1,000 for the second straight season.

Down two scores in the fourth quarter, the Mountaineers were forced to throw on virtually every down. Brown finished 19 of 32 for 205 yards and one interception, while Devine only carried the ball twice in the fourth quarter.

In a come-from-behind victory over Connecticut last week, the speedy 5-foot-7, 176-pound running back set up one second-half touchdown with a 62-yard run, then scored the winning TD on a 56-yard burst.

West Virginia was trying to remain unbeaten in the Big East, along with Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. The Mountaineers lost to South Florida in 2006 and 2007 and have lost three of five games overall in what has turned out to be an entertaining rivalry.

Daniels improved to 3-2 since replacing Big East career total offense leader Matt Grothe, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the third week of the season. He kept West Virginia offbalance with his mobility and made some of his biggest throws while scrambling to buy time.

The Mountaineers also had difficulty stopping the speedy quarterback when he decided to take off and run.

In addition to his 49-yard catch for a touchdown, Mitchell nearly scored on a 69-yard reception. Officials ruled he was pushed out of bounds at the West Virginia 9 as he tightroped up the sideline and into the end zone.

Three plays later, Daniels rolled to his right and - looking like a threat to run - found Love wide open for an 11-yard TD pass as the Mountaineers converged on him as he broke containment.

Daniels also had a 45-yard completion to Love and finished 13 of 26 for 232 yards without an interception.