The University of South Florida is heading back to the Birmingham Bowl for the second straight year. The Bulls will seek to win it again, this time against the 6-6 Texas Tech.
USF defeated South Carolina in last year’s Birmingham Bowl 46-39 in overtime. Quarterback Quinton Flowers was the MVP of that game, throwing for 261 yards, rushing for 105 and totaling four touchdowns in total.
This year, all eyes will be on Flowers as he needs only 47 yards to break the American Athletic Conference record for total offense.
Since the Bulls’ offense ranks ninth in the nation, which makes that record very attainable early on, so the question will likely be by how much Flowers will break it, not if he can.
Meanwhile the Red Raiders have the 17th most potent offense, giving this the potential to be a high scoring game. Add that to the fact that both teams average more than 34 points per game, and this could be one of the more exciting bowl games this season.
Just because the teams have exciting offenses it does not mean there won’t be defense. The Bulls have a ball hawking secondary, tying for fifth in the nation with 18 interceptions. This raises the pressure on Texas Tech quarterback Nic Shimonek.
Shimonek finished the regular season tied for 10th in passing touchdowns and 14th in passing yards, but dealt with a rough patch during the season that saw him benched in the Red Raiders’ game against the University of Texas.
Bull’s senior safety Devin Abraham will look to pounce on anything coming his way from Shimonek, after leading the Bulls with four interceptions during the regular season.
Head Coach Charlie Strong is looking forward to the matchup.
“This is an exciting bowl match-up and a chance for our team and this tremendous senior class to close the 2017 season with a win,” Strong said. “It’s the third straight bowl game for our program and a chance to go out and try to beat an exciting opponent and get to double-digit wins for a second straight year. Our guys are excited to play.”
USF Director of Athletics agreed, noting the fan support the Bulls have had.
“We are very excited to see the Bulls return to Birmingham to take on another high-level opponent in a bowl game,” Harlan said. “We had a great experience at the bowl last year and this is a great opportunity to see some of the most exciting and dynamic players in our program’s history close out their careers on a high note. I look forward to again seeing Bulls Nation out in force in Birmingham as we continue to make bowling an annual USF holiday season event.”