Time of Possession: SMU- 34:48 USF- 25:12
Time of Game: 3 Hours, 30 minutes
Announced Attendance: 24,338
-Quinton Flowers: 9/20, 97 yards. 201 yards rushing, 3 TD’s. Set USF and AAC record for single game rushing yards by a QB.
-Jamie Byrd: 10 tackles (3 for loss), 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles.
-Bull Sharks: Held SMU offense to lowest totals of entire season.
-Marlon Mack: Did not play due to hamstring tightness.
-SMU QB Matt Davis: 9/24, 113 yards, 1 INT. Sacked 3 times.
-SMU WR Courtland Sutton: 3 receptions, 56 yards, 1 TD.
The excitement is building as momentum is starting to build for South Florida. The marked improvement of Willie Taggart’s squad manifested itself in a huge way Saturday afternoon with the Bulls’ 38-14 romping of SMU. It USF’s third consecutive victory, the first three game winning streak for the program since the beginning of the 2011 season.
A staple of the American Athletic Conference in 2015 has been the stellar play of dynamic quarterback’s throughout the league. Paxton Lynch, Greg Ward Jr., and even SMU’s Matt Davis have lit up scoreboards and stat lines all throughout the season while making Sportscenter Top 10 caliber plays. You can now add Quinton Flowers to that mix as the USF QB exploded with an amazing athletic show on Saturday. The sophomore out of Miami rushed for 201 yards and 3 TD’s, setting both AAC and USF single game QB rushing records in the process. After SMU took a brief lead, he bursted out for a 67-yard run that would set up what would eventually be the go ahead score for USF. Even more telling is the increasing maturity of the young QB who is becoming more comfortable and confident running the offense. Even without Marlon Mack in the fold, Flowers took command throughout the entire contest, utilizing his legs and arms at the right situations to torch Mustang defenders all afternoon. After the game, he talked about his motivation and effort to improve. "Every week I tell Coach T, I just want to get better every day...every week."
Arguably even more impressive than Flowers’ coming out party was the Bulls defense ability to completely shut down a potent SMU offense. The Bull Sharks swarmed Matt Davis and the Mustang offense for the entire game, putting on full display the stifling nature of what Tom Allen has brought this season. Husky Jamie Byrd had another outstanding performance, recording ten tackles, two sacks, and two forced fumbles. This combined effort held the Mustang offense to only fourteen points and 365 yards of total offense, SMU’s lowest offensive output this season by far.
As the month of October draws closer to a finish, the USF Bulls find themselves in a position that has been unfamiliar for five years…the possibility of going to a bowl. As mentioned before, an excitement and energy that hasn’t been seen around the program in ages is starting to be felt as players, coaches, and fans are starting to feel a corner being turned. Jamie Byrd described that very thing after the victory. “I feel like we’ve turned that corner and it’s going to get better each and every week.”
However, the quest for bowl eligibility and possible conference title consideration won’t be easy as USF enters a slate of playing several consecutive teams with winning records. That slate will begin next Saturday at Navy.