Published: Sun, December 24, 2017
Sport | By Stuart Potter

USF: 5 bold predictions for Birmingham Bowl

USF: 5 bold predictions for Birmingham Bowl

USF had over 400 yards of offense in the second half after a lackluster first half showing, and the Bulls edges the Red Raiders in first downs with 27 to Texas Tech's 26.

The 2017 season may not have checked off all of the goals for USF (11-2), but Charlie Strong and the Bulls have reason to celebrate at the end of the season after winning a wildly entertaining Birmingham Bowl with a 38-34 victory over Texas Tech (6-7) on Saturday afternoon.

The Bulls had won last year's Birmingham Bowl on Flowers' 25-yard touchdown pass in overtime against SC.

Flowers ended his day with an MVP performance with 311 passing yards and four touchdowns and 106 rushing yards. Before that, Flowers had found Lakewood High alumnus Marquez Valdes-Scantling behind the Red Raiders secondary for a 64-yard touchdown with 4:26 to play.

For the Bulls' first drive, they also drove down to the red zone but were unable to score a touchdown, and senior kicker Emilio Nadelman kicked a 25-yard field goal to tie the game, 3-3, with 7:12 left in the first quarter. Texas Tech had scored with 1:31 left in the game to go up 34-31 but could not hold on to the lead.

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After seeing USF quarterback Quinton Flowers break several tackles, Red Raiders rush linebacker Kolin Hill forced a fumble that was recovered by DaMarcus Field at the Bulls 28-yard line. Tech had 248 yards at the half with Shimonek completing 15-of-30 passes for 187 yards, with a touchdown and two interceptions, but was sacked three times in the opening half.

Texas Tech outgained South Florida, 356-320, in total yards but both teams turned the ball over twice and committed an absurd amount of penalties.

After a goal line stance by Texas Tech early in the 4th, USF ties it up at 24-24 with a 5 yard touchdown run by Flowers. Red Raiders go up 34-31, 1:31 left in the 4th.

Two of Texas Tech's best weapons were on full display against South Florida.

Texas Tech took a 34-31 lead on quarterback Nic Shimonek's 25-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Vasher with 1:31 remaining. The final lateral was grabbed by Army's Elijah Riley, who returned it 29 yards for a touchdown. Vasher on the game's final play fell short of the end zone, completed 32 of his 59 pass attempts on the day. Their first touchdown, a 21-yard Flowers strike over the middle to McCants (six catches, 88 yards), didn't occur until the final minute of the half and was set up by a shanked Red Raiders punt.

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