USF Remains Dominate In The Air And On The Ground

The USF football team won in usual explosive fashion against conference opponent ECU with an end score of 61-31.

Quarterback Quinton Flowers lit up the ECU defense on the ground and through the air. The Heisman hopeful threw for 160 yards and ran for 93. Alongside him senior running back D’ Ernest Johnson ran for 111 yards and two touchdowns.

Coming into this game it was key for ECU to stop USF’s run game and force Flowers to pass the ball. However, the Pirates didn’t have much luck with either of those scenarios. The Bulls ended up with 575 total yards, 390 of which came on the ground.

Photo: USF Athletics

Offensive Playmakers:

Six different Bulls scored in today’s victory, including middle linebacker Auggie Sanchez on a pick six. Wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling ended the game with 94 receiving yards and 80 rushing yards and two combined touchdowns.

The N.C. State transfer was expected to have a big year with former Bulls Rodney Adams entering the NFL. After a slow start, Valdes-Scantling is becoming a big playmaker for USF on offense after posting a 75-yard scoring jet sweep.

“Valdes just stepped up, and I said that to our team. I said it’s good to see him step up. He made the big run of 75, then he had another touchdown,” said head coach Charlie Strong after the game, per USF Athletics. “He had some big catches, and we were able to convert on third down, and he got a pass interference down there in the end zone, where he was able to catch the ball.”

Photo: USF Athletics

Wide receiver Tyre McCants continues to be a reliable target for Flowers. The junior had 31 receiving yards and one touchdown to help boost USF to their fifth win of the season. McCants comes up with big plays when the offense needs it. Today he caught a 14-yard pass to make it a two-score game.

Flowers and Johnson continue to be a force to be reckoned with on the ground. The dynamic duo accounted for five of USF’s nine touchdowns.

Flowers passed former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow to become the state of Florida’s top career rushing FBS quarterback (2,989 yards). Johnson posted his third straight 100-yard rushing game.

The Defense Keeps Getting More And More Aggressive

USF’s defense is now tied with Utah State for the national lead of 16 takeaways. Sanchez brought the Bulls’ interception total to 14 with a pick six. Sanchez and CB Mazzi Wilkins both came up with interceptions in today’s game, though more Bulls could’ve had interceptions had penalties not been called (Deatrick Nichols had a couple of catches).

Sanchez led the team with ten tackles with DT Deadrin Senat following close behind with seven. The Bulls allowed just 108 rushing yards and held ECU to just seven points after halftime.

Photo: USF Athletics

In fact, as the game went on it seemed the defense played better and better.

“We just started playing. We didn’t do that the first half. We were back on our heels, and they made a couple of throws. Then we just got settled down, and just kind of limited what we were doing,” Strong said about defense adjustments, per USF Athletics. “When we limited what we were doing, they started playing and playing within themselves.”

Side Notes:

  • Emilio Nadelman posted his ninth straight field goal from 28-yards out in the third quarter.
  • USF extended its nation-leading streak of 22 consecutive games scoring 30-plus points. They are one more away from the record set by Oregon in 2011-12.
  • USF has won six straight AAC games and six of its past seven AAC road games.
  • USF leads the nation with 14 interceptions.
Allison Leslie is a University of South Florida graduate with a bachelors degree in Mass Communications. She joined Genesis in 2016. With a passion for sports, Allison has interned with 620 WDAE, Pewter Report, Trifecta Team: St. Petersburg Bowl, Bullscast, and many other publications. Being a native to the Bay Area, she has followed and supported Tampa Bay teams her whole life.