Taylor Jenkins

Birmingham Bowl: USF Players of the Game

The Birmingham Bowl played between the University of South Florida and University of South Carolina today was arguably the greatest Birmingham Bowl Game ever. The two teams broke countless Birmingham Bowl records, in addition to being the first one to ever go into overtime. Two players stood head and shoulders above the rest, however; the Bulls’ quarterback, Quinton Flowers, and free safety, Tajee Fullwood.

Flowers began the game strong, using his legs to find the end zone twice in the first quarter, and getting his third rushing touchdown early in the second quarter. He added two touchdowns through the air, and his 25 yard touchdown pass in overtime was also his fifth total touchdown of the game.

Flowers finished the game with 21 carries for 112 yards and three touchdowns, while completing 23 of his 32 passes for 261 yards and adding two touchdowns through the air.

Birmingham Bowl records that were broken by Flowers and the rest of the Bulls’ offense today include the most total touchdowns responsible for with five, the most points scored by an individual team with 46, the most combined points scored with 85, the most total combined yards with 950, and the most total offensive plays run with 80.

Flowers was awarded the Birmingham Bowl MVP after the game as well.

“A lot of people didn’t give me a chance coming out of high school, but once I got here there were a lot of guys like Tajee Fullwood, Marlon Mack, Rodney Adams, a lot of guys that believed in me and they always had my back. I felt like it was the time. I’ve been stepping up all year and this team needed me,” said Flowers after the game.

Fullwood didn’t just have one of the best games of his career, but also made two huge plays that might have changed the course of the game.

With around eight minutes remaining in the third quarter, South Carolina had worked the Bulls’ lead down to just 11, and after a long kickoff return, prepared to drive down the field and cut the lead down to just one score. Fullwood wouldn’t allow that to happen. On third down and needing 17 yards for a first, Fullwood jumped the route with a full head of steam, intercepting the pass and taking it to the house for another USF touchdown.

But his most crucial play came in the fourth while the Bulls’ led by just eight points. With six and a half minutes left in the game, and the Gamecocks knocking on the door, South Carolina handed the ball to their running back, A.J. Turner. Turner took the ball at the eight and muscled his way down to the Bulls’ two yard line before having the ball knocked free by Fullwood.

“It means a lot to me. I felt like these last couple of weeks, ever since we played Memphis, that we’ve been trying to put an emphasis on taking the ball away, having fanatical effort, and tackling really well,” said Tajee Fullwood after the game when asked about being a leader on defense.


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