USF Overcomes Questionable Play Calling To Win Birmingham Bowl

South Florida quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs downfield during the first half the Birmingham Bowl NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017 in Birmingham, Ala. Photo: AP Photo/Albert Cesare.

Quinton Flowers Leads The Bulls To Another Exciting Win Over A Power Five Team

If there’s one thing topping the USF Bulls’ Christmas wish list, it’s possibly looking at a new offensive coordinator. But that request will be pushed to the back burner as USF celebrates their second consecutive Birmingham Bowl win, completing a ten win season.

Head coach Charlie Strong and his players executed a come from behind win over Big 12’s Texas Tech in true USF fashion. With 16 seconds remaining quarterback Quinton Flowers found slot receiver Tyre McCants for a 26-yard touchdown to give the Bulls the winning lead.

With that final play, Flowers finished with 417 total yards becoming USF’s career rushing leader and the American Athletic Conference’s all-time total yardage leader. The game’s MVP ended his collegiate career at South Florida with 11,802 total yards, and a school-record 70 touchdown passes.

Flowers sealed his fate as the best player in USF history today while also becoming just the fourth player in Division I-A history to surpass 8,000 passing yards and 3,500 rushing yards. The Bulls are now 2-0 against a Power Five team this season.

“You look at Q, a very unselfish football player, the players have so much respect for him. They know they always have a chance to win when the ball is in No. 9’s hands,” said Strong to USF athletics. “He’s a special player and the thing you look at is just how he carries himself on the field, as well as off the field. He’s going to be missed around here.”

Despite Bowl Win, Play Calling Is Still An Issue For USF

USF got off to a slow start in the first half with no high-polished, exciting plays. In fact, the Bulls’ first touchdown didn’t come until the final minute of the half with a 21-yard Flowers’ pass to McCants. USF had only 130 total yards in the first half as Flowers seemed to be visibly struggling.

The Miami native was 4-of-14 for 42 yards and had only 15 yards on six runs in the first half. And things didn’t look much more promising coming out of halftime as Flowers fumbled on the second play setting up a Texas Tech touchdown to give the Red Raiders a 17-10 lead.

South Florida wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (11) catches a pass as Texas Tech defensive back Octavious Morgan (5) tackles him during the Birmingham Bowl NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017 in Birmingham, Ala. Photo: AP Photo/Albert Cesare.

As USF fought to keep the game a one-score game, they had another thing going against them. The Bulls’ offensive play calling was questionable at times. USF came up short on a couple of fourth downs as well as a fourth and goal as the ball was handed off.

The Bulls’ got things rolling after Flowers connected with Darnell Salomon for a 17-yard touchdown pass.

South Florida finished the game with 561 total yards, 241 of which came in the fourth quarter alone.

Un-Bull-Lievable Stats

  • Quinton Flowers- Flowers ended his career with USF with a school-record 70 touchdowns. He is USF’s career rushing leader and the American Athletic Conference’s all-time total yardage leader. He is the fourth player in Division I-A history to surpass 8,000 passing yards and 3,500 rushing yards.
  • D’Ernest Johnson- Johnson finished with 25 receiving yards and 51 rushing yards making him USF’s career all-purpose yards leader.
  • Marquez Valdes-Scantling- Valdes-Scantling set a USF season receiving record (879 yards) with three catches for 133 yards and a touchdown today.
  • Deadrin Senat- recorded a career-high three sacks and helped the defense come up with two interceptions to tie for the national pick lead with 20.
  • USF’s 561 yards of offense marks the seventh time this season the Bulls have over 500 yards of offense this season.
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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.