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First-place USF’s nine-game winning streak against East Division opponents in the American Athletic Conference came to an end with a 46-30 loss at Temple on Friday night. –
USF (6-2, 3-1) cut a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit in half with 8:42 remaining, but second-place Temple (5-3, 3-1) pulled away with nine unanswered points. USF’s school record of seven straight conference wins ended.
Quarterback Quinton Flowers shined under the lights once again, accounting for 277 total yards and three touchdowns. The junior from Miami rushed for 90 yards and threw two TD passes before exiting late in the fourth quarter with a leg injury.
All three of the Gulf Coast Offense’s nation-leading streaks came to an end. USF’s streak of 220-plus yard rushing games was halted at 12 after gaining 165 yards on the ground. USF’s streaks of 35-plus point games and 440-plus total yard games both ended at 11 with the Bulls gaining 352 yards.
Temple took a 3-0 lead nearly eight minutes in, but USF pulled ahead before the first quarter was over.
A scrambling Flowers bought some time and then found Marquez Valdes-Scantling (St. Petersburg) in the end zone for an easy 27-yard touchdown strike with 19 seconds remaining in the quarter. Valdes-Scantling posted in TD catch in consecutive games after getting his hands on a 26-yard pass from Flowers in USF’s 42-27 win over UConn last week at Raymond James Stadium.
Trailing 10-7, USF jumped back ahead with its 16th scoring play of 20-plus yards this season. Tyre McCants (Niceville, Fla.) hauled in his first touchdown catch of the season from 31 yards out to spot USF a 13-10 lead with 5:04 to go before halftime.
USF headed into the break trailing, 20-13, after Temple scored 10 points in the final four minutes of the second quarter. It marked just the second time the Bulls have trailed at halftime this season.
Emilio Nadelman’s 42-yard field goal on the opening drive of the second half cut the Temple lead to 20-16 and quick-strike USF grabbed the lead shortly after. Following a Temple punt, USF used the inverted wishbone formation to gain 66 yards on two rushing attempts and Flowers’ 3-yard touchdown run helped put USF ahead, 23-20.
After the sixth lead change of the game, Temple built a 37-23 advantage in the fourth quarter, but the Gulf Coast Offense heated back up. Marlon Mack’s 30-yard touchdown run capped a four-play, 75-yard drive that cut the deficit to 37-30 with 8:42 remaining.
USF got the ball back with five minutes left, but the comeback wasn’t meant to be. With Flowers out a play because of an injury, Temple intercepted a pass from freshman Brett Kean deep in Bulls territory with 3:23 remaining. One play later, Jahad Thomas scored on a 3-yard touchdown run to help give the Owls a 44-30 lead.
Defensively, Tampa natives Nate Godwin and Nigel Harris tied for the team lead with seven tackles apiece. Deadrin Senat (Immokalee) and Juwuan Brown (Tampa) each recorded a sack.
“We have to watch this film and correct some things. We have to be better fundamentally and learn how to get off blocks, and to not have penalties that get you into long-yardage situations.” – Head coach Willie Taggart
— USF (6-2) fell short of achieving the best start in program history.
— USF had rushed for at least 200 yards in a nation-leading 12 straight games (but got 165 against Temple). USF had surpassed the 200-yard rushing mark in 15 of its past 17 games. USF is 15-4 under Coach Willie Taggart when surpassing the 200-yard rushing mark (and 5-21 when held below 200 yards rushing).
— USF had its program-best streak halted of seventh straight conference victories, a streak dating to the 2015 season. USF had won nine straight games against American Athletic Conference East Division opponents, but also saw that streak halted.
— Overall, USF has won 13 of its last 17 games.
via USF Athletics, GoUSFBulls.com
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