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(Tampa, FL) USF quarterback Quinton Flowers almost singlehandedly carried the team on his back leading the Bulls to a 38-14 victory over SMU (1-6, 0-3) Saturday afternoon at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Without standout running back Marlon Mack, on the sidelines with a hamstring injury, Flowers rushed for a USF record 201 yards and scored three touchdowns as USF (4-3, 2-1) extended their winning streak to three in a row including back-to-back American Athletic Conference wins.
After recovering a fumble at the SMU 21 yard line, the Bulls scored first on a 40-yard Emilio Nadelman field goal just over two minutes into the game.
SMU took the only lead they would have in the contest on the last play of the first quarter when Xavier Jones plunged up the middle for a 1-yard touchdown capping off a 12-play, 78 yard drive, temporarily giving the Mustangs a 7-3 advantage.
The Bulls regained the momentum on their first possession in the second quarter when Quinton Flowers ran to his left and broke free down the sideline for 67 yards. He fumbled the ball, but Marlon Pope recovered for USF to set up first and goal from the SMU 4-yard line. Darius Tice took it in from 1-yard out jump ahead of SMU 10-7.
Two possessions later, Flowers scored on a quarterback keeper from the 8-yard line with 4:54 remaining in the half extending the Bulls lead to 17-7.
Sophomore running back D’Ernest Johnson powered into the end zone from the 1-yard line as the Bulls opened the second half with a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive for a 24-7 margin.
After Tajee Fullwood returned a punt 40 yards to the SMU 5-yard line, Quinton Flowers tallied his second rushing touchdown of the game inflating the Bulls lead to 31-7.
The Mustangs mounted a 75-yard scoring drive when Jeremy Colbert, replacing starting QB Matt Davis, connected with Courtland Sutton on a 30-yard touchdown pass pulling SMU to within 31-14.
Quinton Flowers capped off his outstanding afternoon with the hat trick touchdown on an 18-yard scamper making it 38-14.
Flowers had 101 yards rushing in the first half by the nine-minute mark and added another 100 in the second half.
USF travels to Annapolis, MD next Saturday for a noon kickoff against Navy. The game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.
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USF running back Marlon Mack suffered an injured hamstring in last week’s win at UConn. He saw limited action in practice this week.
Quinton Flowers established a USF single game rushing record for quarterbacks with his 201 yards on the ground today against SMU.
Today’s win over SMU equaled last year’s total for USF (4) and the first three game winning streak since 2011.
Today’s win over SMU completed the first back-to-back conference victories for USF in two seasons and only the second time since 2010.
The Bulls wore special uniforms with pink accents in honor of today’s Breast Cancer Awareness game presented by Moffit Cancer Center in Tampa.
Today’s game was the third meeting between USF and SMU. The Mustangs beat the Bulls 16-6 in 2013 in Tampa and USF beat SMU last year in Dallas, 14-13.
USF ranks 15th nationally in rushing averaging 233 yards per game on the ground. Sarasota’s Marlon Mack is averaging 114 yards individually per game.
At 1,730 career yards, Mack needs only 58 to move into fifth place on USF’s all-time rushing list.
Coming into today, USF is third in the AAC East division behind Temple and East Carolina.
USF hits the road for two games at Navy next Saturday and at East Carolina November 7th before returning to Tampa to play Temple on November 14th.
Today’s game was televised on the ESPN News Network.
Announced attendance for today’s game: 24,338.
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Tonight’s Sarasota/Manatee High School Game of the week broadcast features an 7A District 11 matchup between the Venice Indians and the Braden River Pirates from Braden River High School in Bradenton.