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Red Raiders fall to South Florida in Birmingham Bowl, 38-34

24 December, 2017, 02:09 | Author: Lamar Ellis
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T.J. Vasher wasn't the No. 1 target for Texas Tech in Saturday's Birmingham Bowl but the sophomore from Rider made some big catches and for a minute appeared to have the game-winning TD to clinch a winning season for Tech. With the win, USF finished its season with a 10-2 record, reaching the 10-win mark in consecutive seasons for the first time in program history.

Shimonek to Dylan Cantrell on the 3-yard touchdown pass gives the Red Raiders a 17-10 lead early in the 3rd quarter.

For the Bulls' first drive, they also drove down to the red zone but were unable to score a touchdown, and senior kicker Emilio Nadelman kicked a 25-yard field goal to tie the game, 3-3, with 7:12 left in the first quarter.

The Red Raiders' drive came to a halt several plays later when a tipped pass from Nic Shimonek was intercepted in the end zone. It's the 6th time this season that the Red Raiders haven't allowed a first quarter touchdown. The senior quarterback was also a threat on the ground, as he rushed for 106 yards and another touchdown on 14 carries.

The Texas Tech stop preserved a seven-point advantage, but the battle of field position would still end up helping USF. Flowers needed just two plays before giving the Bulls a 31-27 lead on a 64-yard touchdown pass to a streaking Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

But the Red Raiders left Flowers and the Bulls too much time to strike back, and strike back they most certainly did.

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Of course we don't want extra-time, of course we try to win the game in the 90 minutes - which is why I say they were lucky.

Batson, on a reverse from wide receiver Keke Coutee, escaped multiple South Florida defenders in the backfield before breaking loose for a 19-yard rush before being forced out at the USF 2-yard line. Texas Tech's Justin Stockton ran for 24 yards on the first play and Tre King found pay dirt three plays later on a 4-yard rushing score to put the Red Raiders up 24-17 with 5:55 left in the quarter.

Key Player: Flowers. The South Florida quarterback played like a man on fire in the final quarter and threw two touchdown passes to Scantling and McCants to get the win over Texas Tech. Red Raiders go up 34-31, 1:31 left in the 4th.

How will things transpire in the Magic City as USF squares off against the Red Raiders?

Flowers became the American Athletic Conference's career leader in total offense with a 21-yard touchdown pass late in the first half. Vasher on the game's final play fell short of the end zone, completed 32 of his 59 pass attempts on the day.

South Florida answered when Flowers threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Nichols to tie the game, 17-17, with 8:34 left in the third quarter.


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