The Birmingham Bowl made up for a lackluster start to bowl season.
South Florida and Texas Tech scored 21 points inside the final five minutes of Saturday’s game and a touchdown pass from USF quarterback Quinton Flowers to wide receiver Tyre McCants with 16 seconds left gave the Bulls a 38-24 win.
USF took its first lead of the game when Flowers hit a wide-open Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a 64-yard touchdown with 4:26 left and a 31-27 advantage.
Texas Tech slowed itself down after getting the ball back but scored too soon when Nic Shimonek found T.J. Vasher all by himself in the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown with 1:31 left.
Just look at how open Vasher was here.
USF got the ball back knowing it could send the game to overtime with a field goal. But McCants beat his defender and scored his second touchdown of the day.
Flowers, playing in his final college game, had an incredible second half. He finished 17-34 passing for 311 yards and four touchdowns. He also had 14 carries for 106 yards and a rushing score and became the all-time American Athletic Conference leader in career total offense.
The appearance in Birmingham was the second-straight for USF, which beat South Carolina a year ago. The win also gives the Bulls, 10-2, a second-straight season with 10 wins or more. Entering 2016, USF had never won more than nine games.
Outside of the final five minutes, the game was a relative defensive struggle. Tech’s defense — aided by some boring play-calling — stopped South Florida on fourth down three times, including once on a fourth-and-goal from the 1.
Shimonek was 32-59 passing for 416 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Tech finishes the season 6-7.
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