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History made. USF won 48 to 31 over Central Florida, putting the Bulls at 10-2 (7-1) on the season, their first 10-win season in program history. The offense rolled again, the defense made stops when it had to, and the Bulls took home that shiny new trophy. Not a bad afternoon at all in Tampa.
This unit is so much fun to watch. Quinton Flowers, Marlon Mack, and the run game totaled 351 yards on the ground in this game, totaling 503 yards overall as they controlled this game. Mack had 20 carries for 155 yards and two rushing touchdowns, each one coming on runs of over 40-yards a piece (from 43 and 56 yards out for each).
Flowers had 20 carries for 152 yards with two rushing touchdowns including a long of 62 yards on one of them. He was only 17 for 26 throwing for 152 yards, but the USF receivers dropped several deep passes (especially early in the game) that could have tilted the score more in USF’s favor early in the game, but he was still efficient despite the lapses.
Rodney Adams led all USF receivers with 9 receptions for 78 yards as the senior went out with a solid day at the office. Again, the passing game was not a huge factor in this game, instead, it was the run game, the staple of the USF offense, that carried the day.
They also got some help from that defense that I am always very critical of.
Overall, they gave up 402 yards but just 64 yards on the ground (had been giving up over 200 yards a game for the last few weeks). The Bulls also forced three turnovers and helped the team score 17 points off of those turnovers. One of them was a Juwuan Brown fumble return for 22-yards early in the game.
Now, the game did get close in the 4th quarter, but the Bulls were able to get an interception from Auggie Sanchez, setting up a Flowers touchdown run to put the Bulls ahead for good after. As a unit, the team had two interceptions (Sanchez and Nate Godwin) and seven tackles for loss in the game.
Nigel Harris (fitting on senior day) had 11 tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss to lead the Bulls. Sanchez had nine tackles and the pick. Godwin had one tackle, two pass break-ups, and that late pick (glad to see him get that one too). Deatrick Nichols had 7 tackles and a pass break-up as well.
This unit has taken a lot of flack all year long, but once again, they came up with stops, locked down late, and helped contribute to the victory. Can’t ask for much more after this game.
A real quick note to the specialist after this game. Brandon Behr, replacing Emilio Nadelman for the third straight week, was 2 for 3 in field goal attempts, hit every extra point, and did a great job on the kick-offs. Punter Jonathan Hernandez punted the ball 8 times and averaged 45 yards per kick, consistently flipping the field for the Bulls.
After a great win, the Bulls will now wait to see which bowl game they will be invited it to? Will it be St. Petersburg? Maybe Birmingham? No one knows for sure, so, until then, let’s enjoy the history that was made and that shiny new trophy we have.
by Matt Staton
SoFloBulls.com Columnist | @USFMatt
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