(St. Petersburg, FL) Using a ball control offense and several extended drives, the Marshall Thundering Herd defeated the UConn Huskies 16-10 this afternoon in the 8th St. Petersburg Bowl played at Tropicana Field. Marshall had 5 consecutive possessions at one time of more than 10 plays, keeping the ball for nearly 35 minutes en route to their 10th victory of the season.
Keion Davis was named game MVP with a 10 carry, 73-yard performance including a 41-yard scamper late in the 4th quarter setting up Nick Smith’s 3rd field goal of the contest. Smith connected on kicks from 21, 29 and 32 yards out. Marshall Quarterback Chase Litton completed 23 of 34 passes for 218 Yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception.
The Thundering Herd took a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter when Chase Litton lofted a 16-yard touchdown pass to Tight End Ryan Yurachek. It was Litton’s 23rd TD pass of the season.
UConn responded with a 13-play, 71-yard scoring drive taking 6:19 off the clock capped off by an 8-yard touchdown run by Running Back Ron Johnson tying the game at 7-7 with 1:51 remaining in the first quarter.
Nick Smith booted the first of his 3 field goals topping Marshall’s first clock burning drive of 13 plays and 65 yards in 6:02 to regain a 10-7 lead for the Herd.
Smith added a 29-yard field goal after Marshall drove the ball 85 yards in 15 plays in just under 5 minutes giving the Herd a 13-7 lead going into halftime.
Marshall opened the second half with its third straight drive of more than 10 plays but turned the ball over on downs at the UConn 17 yard line.
Kendall Gant intercepted UConn Quarterback Bryant Shirreff for the first turnover of the game. Marshall again kept the ball for 10 plays and 4 and a half minutes, but game up empty when Nick Smith missed a 42 yard field goal attempt.
The Huskies pulled to within 3 on Bobby Puyol’s St. Petersburg Bowl record long 52-yard field goal with 2 seconds remaining in the 3rd quarter.
UConn’s Jamar Summers intercepted Chase Litton early in the 4th quarter, but UConn’s offense stalled and was forced to punt with 8:19 left in the game. Marshall executed another lengthy drive of more than 10 plays, led by Keion Davis’ 71 yards on 10 carries setting up Nick Smith’s 32 yard field goal with 1:44 remaining. The Thundering Herd’s defense squashed UConn’s last minute hopes forcing a turnover on downs to seal the win for Marshall.
Marshall finishes the 2015 season with a 10-3 record while UConn falls to 6-7.
Today is the 8th St. Petersburg Bowl held at Tropicana Field. Marshall University comes in with a 9-3 overall record and 6-2 Conference USA record. UConn finished the regular season at 6-6, 4-4 in the American Athletic Conference.
Marshall averaged just under 33 points per game on offense in 2015. UConn averaged just under 18 points per game on offense.
Today’s officials were from the Mountain West Conference.
ESPN telecast the St. Petersburg Bowl and streamed the game on ESPN3. Tom Hart called the play-by-play with Anthony Becht doing the color and Tiffany Greene on the sidelines. ESPN radio also carried the game with Drew Goodman handling the play-by-play, Rene Ingoglia doing the color and Brett McMurphy on the sidelines.
Events this week in St. Petersburg leading up to the game included a “fill the bowl” contest at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort Grand Ballroom, “Beach Bash” on Madeira Beach, dance and belly flop contests and battle of the bands at Sirata Beach Resort.
Both schools marching bands performed at halftime.
125 players who have played in previous St. Petersburg Bowls have gone on to sign NFL contracts including Blake Bortles (UCF/Jacksonville Jaguars), T.Y. Hilton (FIU, Indianapolis Colts) and George Selvie (USF, NY Giants).
This was the UConn Huskies first bowl game in Florida.
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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.