The South Florida defense had its best showing of the season in their game against the Connecticut Huskies. Luckily for the Bulls’, their stout defensive effort was able to keep the team in the game, as the Huskies own defense managed to take the ball away four times. Two of the turnovers were on the first two drive Bulls’ drives in the second half. The team fumbled a total of four times on the night with the Huskies recovering two. Whatever the reason for the abundance of turnovers, the Bulls managed pick up their sixth win of the season, going 3-0 in the AAC.
Auggie Sanchez led his defense to one of their best displays of the season, giving up only 72 total rushing yards and sacking the Connecticut quarterback five times. Sanchez tallied 11 total tackles, three of which were sacks, bringing his season totals to 65 tackles and six sacks.
“Defensively, I thought our guys played outstanding,” said Bulls’ head coach Willie Taggart after the game. “Holding them under a hundred yards rushing and I thought our guys were really aggressive on the defense side of the ball. Coach Woodie did a great job dialing up the blitzes and our guys getting to the quarterback. It was something that we wanted to do and they did a good job of that.”
The Bulls’ secondary did a good job keeping yet another top 10 receiver in check for the most part, allowing UConn wide receiver Noel Thomas to pull in 12 receptions for 127 yards. While the Bulls’ defensive unit was able to keep the pressure on the opposing quarterback and keep Thomas out of the end zone, they fell short of their weekly goal of turning the ball over at least three times. In fact, the Bulls were not able to turn the ball over once in their favor.
Quinton Flowers is undoubtedly the Bulls’ player of the game after totaling 370 yards and five touchdowns on the night. The game’s first touchdown of the night is what will show up on highlight reels this week, as Flowers sliced through the UConn defense for 54 yards and a touchdown on just the Bulls’ second play of the game. Flowers still rushed for two more touchdowns and 103 more yards after that.
“You know I’ve been doing this since high school. When I get to running, I just let my instincts take over. I feel certain things…it was like I was in a box and I had to find my way out,” said Flowers as he explained how he felt in the moment of that 54-yard touchdown run.
It took Flowers some time before he was able to get into a groove with any of his receivers, throwing two interceptions earlier in the game. He finally found Marquez Valdes-Scantling as he broke away for his first touchdown catch since week one of the season. Flowers also targeted Mitchell Wilcox in the end zone, throwing a risky pass that was almost intercepted, but Wilcox wrestled the ball away from the Husky defender for his second touchdown of the season.
Marlon Mack once again broke a Bulls’ record when he busted loose for a 34-yard touchdown run. That touchdown put Mack at the top of USF’s career rushing touchdowns list with 26. Not only did Mack break another record this game, but he became the first South Florida player to ever rush for 3,000 yards in his career as a Bull.
With the 107 rushing yards that he picked up in this game, Mack now has a total of 3,014 rushing yards. This accomplishment puts his career rushing yard total over players like former Florida Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow. Former Florida greats Earnest Graham and Fred Taylor in his sights with 3,065 and 3,075 total rushing yards respectively.
Next week the Bulls will playing on short rest as they travel to Philadelphia to play against the Temple Owls on Friday night Oct. 21, at 7:00 p.m. (ET). The game will be broadcast on ESPN.