SC vs. South Florida

Doyle BarkerДек 31, 2016

He might be one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country, and he'll be the difference here against an average SC team. Muschamp got an up-close look at Flowers' quarterback skills Thursday.

"Yes", Muschamp said. "Well, January will be first, and then August".

South Florida (11-2) squandered a 39-21 lead in the second half but recovered for its school-record 11th victory. Flowers threw a 25-yard touchdown pass on the first play of overtime, finding Elkanah Dillon in the end zone.

SC couldn't get it done in overtime, though, with Bentley fumbling on the final play of the game after being sacked by South Florida's Mike Love. Following the pick six SC drove down the field to the one yard line where Jaymon Thomas forced and recovered a fumble to give the ball back to the Bulls. The newly appointed USF Head Coach Charlie Strong was on the sideline during the game.

Former head coach Willie Taggart has departed for OR but 25th-ranked South Florida still has plenty to play for when it faces 6-6 SC in the Birmingham Bowl on Thursday afternoon at Legion Field. Speaking of the Gamecocks offense, they came to life at the end of the year, save for the 56-7 loss to Clemson during Rivalry Week.

The Bulls controlled the game for most of the afternoon, but the Gamecocks (6-7) rallied to tie it at 39-39 with 1:11 remaining on A.J. Turner's 1-yard touchdown run and a 2-point conversion.

Flowers was named the game's MVP after completing 23 of 32 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns, plus 105 yards rushing and three more TDs. He and Samuel, who caught 14 balls for 190 yards, picked apart the Bulls secondary to lead a comeback effort, but it wasn't enough. The Gamecocks are back in the postseason after a 3-9 record in 2015.

With Flowers coming back and Strong taking over as head coach, South Florida should get plenty of respect heading into next season. South Carolina, Bentley 32-43-2-390.

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The 622 total yards surrendered to the Tigers marred what was an otherwise encouraging season for Muschamp's defense, which ranked 10th nationally with 25 takeaways - including 14 interceptions - and has been tough in the red zone, allowing touchdowns just 28 times in 49 trips inside the 20.

The University of SC ended its first season under new head coach Will Muschamp with a loss - although at least this time they bothered to show up.

But South Carolina's defense held, and Chris Lammons returned the ensuing punt to the 2-yard line. The versatile quarterback was also able to pick up 112 yards on 21 rushing attempts, setting a new Birmingham Bowl record with three rushing touchdowns.

The win also meant much to South Florida; the team got its first 11-win season ever.

Samuel capped an impressive eight-play, 65-yard march to open the second half with a 4-yard touchdown run that trimmed the deficit to 29-21. Two of the Bulls' biggest offensive threats, wide receiver Rodney Adams and running back Marlon Mack, sat out most of the second quarter. Rudolph had scoring throws to Blake Jarwin and Jhajuan Seales in the third to make it 31-0.

He served as interim head coach at the University of CT for eight weeks during the 2013 season, winning his final three games.

Finally tonight in San Antonio's Alamo Bowl, No. 13 Oklahoma State is playing No. 11 Colorado.

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