TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Chattanooga was beaten, but not overwhelmed.
That was the positive vibe coming out of the Mocs' locker room following Saturday night's 34-13 loss to South Florida in the season opener for both teams. USF is one of the preseason favorites to contend for the Big East championship.
Although coach Russ Huesman felt his team could have played better, he thought they did enough good things to be encouraged about how they'll stack up against the rest of Chattanooga's schedule.
"We won't face players like that the rest of the year," Huesman said. "We just won't."
B.J. Daniels threw for 265 yards and three touchdowns for South Florida.
The dual-threat senior tossed scoring passes of 19 yards to Derrick Hopkins, 38 yards to Terrence Mitchell and 39 yards to Sterling Griffin. He finished a solid performance with a 20-yard TD run in which he weaved through the Chattanooga defense before stretching the ball over the goal line.
"I was a little disappointed with our football team. South Florida had a lot to do with that, no question. They're good," Huesman said. "I told our team they're going to win a bunch of football games this year, but we can't be satisfied with how we played."
One area that Huesman felt the Mocs outplayed USF is on the defensive line.
"Our front seven — this is one matchup I think we won. Our defensive line versus their offensive line," Huesman said. "We were on B.J. Daniels all day, and it was our defensive line. They were phenomenal."
USF's defense was effective, too, limiting Chattanooga to 151 yards and sacking quarterbacks Terrell Robinson and Jacob Huesman six times.