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USF garnered a revived look on the offensive side of the ball as the Bulls rolled UConn 37-20. David Bedford drops his take on UConn, Houston, and packing Raymond James Stadium for Tulsa in this edition of Bedford’s Bottom Line.
Today we bring you the second 2017 edition of ‘Bedford’s Bottom Line’ with former USF defensive end and SoFloBulls.com contributor David Bedford. In this week’s Q&A David drops his take on whether Sterlin Gilbert will continue to passing heavy play calling, senior linebacker Auggie Sanchez chasing Kawika Mitchell’s USF program record for tackles, if #Glock9 Quinton Flowers should be considered the greatest Bull of all-time, Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s impressive performance over the last two games, the 4th and 24 debacle against Houston, and how fans need to #PackRayJ to send the seniors off right against Tulsa.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling has racked up 338 receiving yards, the best two-game stretch ever by a USF wide receiver, which put Valdes-Scantling 60 yards ahead of Andre Davis’ previous USF 2014 back-to-back game receiving record (278). With a team-leading 720 yards, #Interstate11 needs 103 yards to break former Lakewood High teammate Rodney Adams’ USF season receiving record (822), and is just one catch behind Adams’ 2016 season reception record (67).
Valdes-Scantling’s career-best 186-yard receiving night against Houston was the second-most single game receiving yards in program history, only trailing Andre Davis’ 191 yards at Nevada in 2012. To boot, MVS’ 95-yard touchdown against UConn matched the longest reception in USF history (DeAndrew Rubin, vs. NIU 2002).
Flowers finished with 131 rushing yards on 16 touches (8.2 yds./car.), while delivering three passing touchdowns during his season-high 385 yard passing performance against UConn. The No. 23/20 Bulls improved to 8-1 (5-1) after handling UConn 37-20 via a season-high 602 offensive yards, 516 of which from the man, the myth, the legend Quinton ‘Money Team’ Flowers. Despite the unfortunate loss to Houston, USF’s season goals still remain attainable and it will be up to the Bulls to decide their own destiny.
The Bulls look to shine and lock up victory nine Thursday at Raymond James Stadium as incumbent AAC foe Tulsa travels to Tampa for a showdown at 7:30PM on ESPN. Without further ado, I bring you the second 2017 edition of ‘Bedford’s Bottom Line’ Q&A. Enjoy the dialogue and be sure to follow David on Twitter! @OldManBeddy #BeatTulsa #HurricaneSZN #SoFloBulls #BedfordsBottomLine
by Matthew Manuri
Publisher & Editor, SoFloBulls.com | @Mcknurkle
1. Despite USF being one of only two (Alabama) FBS teams averaging 250 plus rushing yards and 200 plus passing yards in the nation while also ranking tenth with 276.7 rushing yards per game, the Bulls tailbacks never got rolling last week against UConn, but quarterback Quinton Flowers stepped up and aired it out for a season high 385 passing yards.
The USF offense, Sterlin Gilbert will look to continue the rolling against Tulsa, which ranks 118th nationally in passing yards allowed (276.7 ypg.). Do you think Gilbert will continue the air assault game plan from Connecticut against Tulsa next week? Or will we return to a reprise of redundant redzone halfback dives?
DB: If USF cannot run the ball successfully, Coach Gilbert will be left with no choice and have to lean on his quarterback. The run game never got rolling against UConn because the USF offensive line continues to lose at the point of attack, seemingly knocked into the backfield every other play. The Bulls must start winning up front on first down or the rushing attack will continue to sputter and never get back on track.
2. USF is seventh nationally with 21 turnovers gained and protecting the rock has the Bulls ranked third in the country with a turnover margin of plus-13. USF defensive back Deatrick Nichols grabbed the 17th interception this season for the Bulls, which ranks second nationally in that category. USF also ranks second nationally in tackles for loss with 8.7.
Heading into next Thursday’s conference clash vs. Tulsa, senior commander-in-chief middle linebacker Auggie Sanchez (363) needs just five tackles to surpass Kawika Mitchell (367, 1999-2002) and become the Bulls’ all-time program leader.
How special is it to see a current Bay Made, legacy-type player (brother Armando) achieve such a sacred defensive program mark? How impressive is Brian Jean-Mary’s defensive turnaround in 2017?
DB: It’s wonderful to see my former USF teammate’s younger brother leaving his mark on the program. Having your name next to USF great Kawika Mitchell is an honor, and is something Auggie should take great pride in and cherish forever. I have been impressed with Coach Brian Jean-Mary’s defensive turnaround since game one, but the Bulls defensive unit can still improve and play at a higher level.
3. Quinton Flowers put on a clinic Saturday night in Hartford, throwing for 385 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 131 yards to become the seventh FBS player to pass for more than 7,000 yards (7,174) and rush for 3,000 (3,345), just the fourth Bull to achieve the mark, and is just 356 yards shy of Matt Grothe’s (10,875, 2006-2009) program record. Flowers’ 516 total yards in the 37-20 win over UConn made the Senior the fourth player in AAC history to have a 500-yard day and set a program record for the Bulls (8-1, 5-1).
Flowers is responsible for 100 career touchdowns (61 passing, 39 rushing), including 24 this season (15 passing, nine rushing) and extended his 300-plus yard game USF program record to 16. Marquez Valdes-Scantling made Flowers’ 60th career touchdown pass special by taking it 95 yards late in the third quarter, which tied the record for the longest reception in school history.
“When I first committed to the University of South Florida, this school was 2-8,” Flowers said. “I always had dream, go to the school and change the program and I’m here and I’m doing it now.” How integral was Flowers in Taggart Tampa turnaround for the USF program? And what do you think his legacy will be? Dare I say greatest Bull of all-time?
DB: I thank my lucky stars everyday Quinton Flowers chose the University of South Florida to chase his dream of playing quarterback at the Division I level. Flowers could have easily played defensive back at ‘Bama or another P5 program instead, but QF wanted to leave a legacy, his own mark, and man did he ever. Greatest Bull ever? To me that will ALWAYS be my big brother George Selvie, but what QF has accomplished is indelibly inscribed in the program records book. QF is a very, very close second to Selvie for greatest Bull ever.
4. Marquez Valdes-Scantling posted his second straight 100-yard receiving game with six catches for 152 yards. Last week against Houston Valdes-Scantling finished with a career-high 10 catches for 186 yards, which marked the second-most receiving yardage in USF history behind only Andre Davis’ 191 yards at Nevada in 2012. #Interstate11 has averaged 169 yards per game and 21.1 yards per reception in the last two games, while posting back to back 100-yard plus receiving games. Not to mention, D’Ernest Johnson became USF’s all-time receptions leader for a running back with his 69th catch that resulted in an 11-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
The passing offense has done an about face over the last two weeks, what do you believe caused Sterlin Gilbert to make the scheme changes and will they be the new standard?
DB: With the struggles in the run game, Sterlin Gilbert put the ball back in the hands of his best player Quinton Flowers. Gilbert decided the Bulls’ would live and die behind the arm of his senior quarterback. I see the spike in passing continuing unless USF can get the running backs rolling again.
DB: It’s always been said how hard it is to go undefeated because so many variables have to meld into your team’s perfect harmony, but the Bulls certainly didn’t do themselves any favors against Houston. The game should have never come down to a 4th and 24 late in the game, but when you let a team hang around you will find those types of plays tend to happen. Nevertheless, we must find a way to knock the ball down. The Houston wide receiver simply wanted it more than USF and that cannot happen. The first down rushing attack must get going again if the Bulls want to stay out of 3rd & long situations. Even with how great of a player Quinton Flowers is, 3rd and 12+ has not been a strong suite for this USF team.
Emilio Nadelman has been Mr. Automatic since he stepped foot on a USF field. Greatest USF kicker ever? This senior class is going to be missed, it was great watching them grow from a team no one wanted to watch in 2014 to a team ranked in the Top 25. We must #PackRayJ against Tulsa and give those guys a proper, big send off. Even with the loss to Houston, everything USF wants to accomplish this season is still right in front of them and within grasp. An AAC title. A New Year’s bowl game. Everything. Go Bulls! #58
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