Jacksonville Sports Day

BOWLS: Record-Breaking Flowers Leads Bulls to Comeback Victory Over Texas Tech

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BIRMINGHAM, ALA.  – Quinton Flowers cemented a stellar legacy as the program’s most outstanding player as he accounted for 417 total yards and five touchdowns to lead the Bulls to a thrilling 38-34 comeback win over Big 12 foe Texas Tech in Saturday’s Birmingham Bowl.

The game’s most valuable player for the second straight season, Flowers capped off his four-touchdown pass day with a 26-yard scoring toss to Tyre McCants that put USF ahead for the final time with 16 seconds remaining.

Flowers’ final throw as a Bull, and his 71st career TD toss, helped USF (10-2) repeat as Birmingham Bowl champions and post back-to-back double-digit win seasons for the first time in program history.

Flowers, who entered the game with 27 school records, finished his career with The American’s total offense record (11,802 yards) and became just the fourth player in FBS history to eclipse 8,000 passing yards and 3,500 rushing yards.

With 106 yards on the ground Saturday, his 16th career 100-yard game, Flowers also became USF’s career rushing leader with 3,672 yards in his second straight 1,000-yard rushing season. It was one of seven additional school marks he added under his name on the day to give him 34 on his career.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling set a new USF season receiving record (879 yards) with three catches for 133 yards and a touchdown after putting the Bulls ahead for the first time with a 64-yard score with 4:26 remaining.

McCants also helped USF produce 561 yards of offense with six catches for 88 yards and two touchdowns. Darnell Saloman completed a solid sophomore season with four receptions for 47 yards and USF’s second TD catch of the day from 17 yards out.

Senior defensive tackle Deadrin Senat registered a career-high three sacks while the USF defense used two interceptions to move up to a tie for the national pick lead with 20.

Deemed a shootout heading into the action, the Birmingham Bowl began with both defenses keeping things close early on.

Trailing 10-3, USF’s defense delivered with Jaymon Thomas’ first-career interception in the end zone. He returned it to the Bulls’ 18 with 3:18 left in the half. Senat also stepped up with three first-half sacks, including one on fourth down deep in USF territory in the opening quarter.

Senat’s third sack helped set USF up for a late score that tied the game at 10-10. McCants hauled in a 21-yard touchdown catch with 51 seconds left and Devin Abraham’s team-leading fifth interception of the season gave the

Bulls more momentum heading into the break.

No. 23/24 USF’s offense continued to heat up with Flowers’ 17-yard touchdown pass to Salomon that tied the score at 17-17 midway through the third quarter.

After grabbing USF’s career rushing lead, Flowers used his feet to get the Bulls back on even ground once again.

Flowers’ 41st-career rushing touchdown from 5 yards out tied the game up at 24-24 with 9:30 remaining.

Texas Tech took a 27-24 lead with 5:02 left on a 33-yard Clayton Hatfield field goal. Needing a big play, Flowers found Valdes-Scantling for a 64-yard touchdown on the Bulls second play on the ensuing drive to give the Bulls their first lead of the game, 31-27, on a drive that took just 44 seconds.

The Red Raiders (6-7) pulled back ahead with 1:31 remaining on 25-yard pass from Nic Shimonek to T.J. Vasher. But, Flowers and the Bulls were not going to be denied from securing their fifth bowl victory in the past six trips.

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