(Tampa, FL) The USF Bulls extended their American Athletic Conference winning streak to six straight wins with a 38-22 victory over the East Carolina University Pirates Saturday afternoon at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. Marlon Mack rushed for 152 yards and 2 touchdowns and Quarterback Quinton Flowers ran for 115 yards and threw for 250 yards and 3 touchdowns to lead the Bulls offense.
“It wasn’t pretty”, said Bulls Head Coach Willie Taggart, “but I’m happy with the win”. Taggart’s high-powered offense racked up 556 yards, including 306 on the ground as USF (5-1, 2-0) remained unbeaten in conference play.
ECU (2-4, 0-2) took the early 3-0 lead on their opening possession with a 40-yard field goal by Davis Plowman at 5:29 of the first quarter.
After a stalled first drive, USF scored the second time they had the ball when Quinton Flowers threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to D’Ernest Johnson, capping off a 45-yard in 5:11 to go ahead 7-3.
Both teams traded field goals early in the second quarter. Eric Nadelman booted a 26-yard field goal for USF and Davis Plowman connected on a 49-yarder to pull the Pirates within 10-6.
Marlon Mack had his longest run of the season, 63 yards to the ECU 6-yard line, but fumbled on the next play and the Pirates recovered. ECU drove the ball downfield and Davis Plowman clanked it off the right goal post on a 42-yard field goal attempt.
The Bulls mounted one of their patented quick scoring drives in less than two minutes, when Quinton Flowers hit D’Ernest Johnson for his second touchdown pass of the game from the 11-yard line giving the Bulls a 17-6 lead at the half.
Marlon Mack scored on a one-yard plunge early in the third quarter to extend the Bulls lead to 24-6.
ECU replaced starting quarterback Philip Nelson with sophomore Gardner Minshew (21-33 220 yards, 1 TD) who gave the Pirates offense a boost with a 1-yard touchdown toss to Zay Jones to make it 24-13. Jones was the leading receiver for the Pirates with 145 yards on 18 catches.
Davis Plowman made it a one-possession game (24-16) with a 31-yard field goal early in the 4th quarter. Then after USF went 3 and out and punted, the Pirates drove 69 yards and scored on James Summers 3-yard touchdown run. Summers finished with 114 yards on 18 carries. The 2-point conversion was no good. USF led 24-22 with 6:58 remaining in the game.
Quinton Flowers ended any hopes of an ECU comeback with his third touchdown pass of the game, a 62-yard strike to Rodney Adams over the middle to extend the Bulls lead to 31-22.
Marlon Mack added one more score to the books on a 9-yard run lifting the Bulls to their fifth win of the season.
USF will host UConn next Saturday (October 15) at Raymond James Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7PM.
Today’s victory extends the Bulls AAC Conference win streak to six straight, the longest in Bulls football history.
USF holds a 5-1 all-time record over East Carolina. The Bulls defeated the Pirates 22-17 last season in Greenville, NC.
USF defeated ECU in the 2006 PapaJohns.com bowl.
Including today’s win over ECU, the Bulls have scored at least 35 points in ten consecutive games. The Bulls rushed for more than 200 yards against ECU to extend that streak to 11 games.
The Bulls are first in the AAC and fifth in the nation in scoring averaging 45.8 points per game.
Last week against Cincinnati, Marlon Mack had his 15th 100-yard game and became USF’s all-time leading rusher with 2755 yards in just 28 games. Today’s game marked his 16th straight 100- yard game.
Today’s game was telecast nationally on ESPNews.
Uniform shuffle: USF wore green jerseys with gold numbers, white pants and metallic gold helmets today.
Lee Roy Selmon family members served as honorary captains at today’s game.
Today was Homecoming for USF Bulls alumni.
Next week: The Bulls are home to play UConn in another AAC conference game. Kickoff scheduled for 7PM.