Mountaineers' D gets redemption vs. South Florida
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Last year, South Florida quarterback B.J. Daniels took advantage of the West Virginia defense for more than 300 total yards and three touchdowns.
The Mountaineers (5-1, 1-0 Big East Conference) gained redemption Thursday night in a 20-6 win over the Bulls (3-3, 0-2).
Daniels struggled against the WVU defense in his second meeting with the Mountaineers, who produced three interceptions and four sacks.
West Virginia held Daniels to 119 passing yards and four rushing yards.
"We had a couple of mobile quarterbacks that we've faced this year, so that helped us prepare," said WVU junior cornerback Keith Tandy. "Last year, we got beat deep, so we wanted to come up and make the tackles this year. Teams can't go down the field with three-yard screens."
Tandy, who was beat twice deep by Daniels a year ago, had one of his best career games. He finished with a team-leading 10 tackles and had an interception in the third quarter to stop a promising USF drive. He caught a tipped pass from Daniels intended for receiver Evan Landi.
It was Tandy's fourth interception this season, and all four have come off tipped passes.
"I wasn't really going for redemption," Tandy said. "I was just trying to play my game."
Coming into the game, WVU's defense was ranked seventh in total and scoring defense. The Mountaineers didn't hurt those statistics at all with their play against South Florida.
Overall, the West Virginia defense held South Florida to 202 total yards, including 65 on the ground.
WVU coach Bill Stewart said there wasn't much difference in the team's defensive game plan from last year's USF game, but the Mountaineers just did a better job of execution.
"We got there when we blitzed, and last year we didn't," Stewart said.
Stewart said the defense is starting to remind him of the 2007 unit that finished near the top 10 nationally in almost every category. That's also the last defense that won a Big East Championship for the Mountaineers, who defeated Oklahoma in that season's Fiesta Bowl.
"I'm seeing shades of that defense, and with the 3-3-5 stack, it's really tough for opposing quarterbacks," Stewart said. "This defense is really starting to gel, and I'm proud of them."