Flowers leads Bulls to 37-20 victory against UConn

The Bulls win 37-20 against UConn with amass 516 offensive yards. ORACLE PHOTO/CHAVELI GUZMAN

USF quarterback Quinton Flowers had a career day in the Bulls’ 37-20 win over UConn in East Hartford, Connecticut on Saturday.

Flowers amassed 516 yards of total offense during the game, throwing for a career-high 385 yards.

The passing total made him the seventh player in NCAA Division 1-A history to reach 7,000 passing yards and 3,000 rushing yards in a career.

“In my career, there has never been anyone like him, on or off the field,” USF Athletic Director Mark Harlan tweeted after the game. “Pure greatness.”

Though the night was one for the record books for Flowers, the success didn’t come right away.

Flowers started his night one-for-four passing the ball after two of his receivers dropped one pass apiece in the game’s first two drives.

As the game progressed, however, he went on to complete 64 percent of his passes and threw for three touchdowns, which was three more than he threw in the Bulls’ 28-24 loss to Houston last week.

Flowers didn’t have any rushing touchdowns on the night, but came within inches on the Bulls’ second drive when he rushed for a 15-yard touchdown that was overturned by an official’s review.

After the review ruled Flowers down at the half yard-line, on the next play running back D’Ernest Johnson ran for a touchdown.

“It’s amazing because I just don’t think that he gets all the credit that he deserves,” coach Charlie Strong said of Flowers. “Look at tonight, look at what he did… It kind of gets hidden because everybody expects that all the time. But to watch him go out and perform the way he performed tonight, it just shows you how good he is.”

Offensive Coordinator Sterlin Gilbert mixed up the Bulls’ play calling in the win, getting tight end Mitchell Wilcox involved more. In what was a possible result of his increased usage, Wilcox caught his first touchdown of 2017 in the second quarter.

Flowers and Wilcox, however, weren’t the only Bulls setting personal records against the Huskies.

In the fourth quarter, kicker Emilio Nadelman made a career-long 51-yard field goal that capped off a 3-3 field goal night for him.

With 17 seconds to play in the third quarter, Flowers passed to wide receiver Marquez Valdez-Scantling for a 95-yard touchdown, matching his longest reception ever in what was the Bulls’ longest play from scrimmage in program history.

“(That was) Quinton being Quinton,” Scantling said of Flowers’ play.

Though he was kept out of the end zone on the ground, Flowers led the Bulls’ rushing game with 16 carries for 131 yards.

“I talked to the (seniors) before the game… I told ‘em we’ve got to get our edge back,” Flowers said. “And those guys came out to play. You could see what we did on offense and what the guys did on defense. That’s what you want to see in your team, and that’s what we did tonight.”

Strong said Flowers took what the Connecticut defense gave him, and he credited the quarterback for his play — as he does after most games. But even Strong took extra notice to his quarterback’s performance post game.

“He put it on ‘em,” Strong said.