Improving their record from 8-5 to 11-2 this year, it feels like the Bulls came, saw and conquered the football season.
Any average opposing defense crumbled against the Bull’s offense, headed by junior quarterback Quinton Flowers.
Flowers started the season with a pass completion percentage of 59.1, 22 passing touchdowns, and 2296 total passing yards. In the 2015 season, he had 991 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns.
This may have been good enough for the average QB, but Flowers was hungry.
In 2016, Flowers upped his completion percentage to 62.5, threw for a total of 2812 total yards and had 24 passing touchdowns. His rushing also improved, with a total of 1530 yards on the ground and 18 rushing touchdowns. With numbers like this came quite a few records.
Flowers is the first player in USF history to pass for over 2000 yards and rush for over 1000 yards in a single season. He also holds the record for the most rushing touchdowns in a single season at USF with 18, and holds the USF record for the most passing touchdowns in a single season, with 24.
Flowers also won the College Football Performance Award for the National Performer of the Year. This is a highly substantial award that is only given once a year to players who achieve what others don’t. Former Heisman Trophy winners Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are notable recipients of the award, showing that Flowers’ shine is recognized nationwide.
Flowers isn’t the only reason USF’s offense thrived; he had some help from a tank named Marlon Mack and a speedster named Rodney Adams.
Before the season started, Mack had a total amount of 1381 rushing yards and 8 rushing touchdowns. This year he rushed for 1187 more, and almost doubled his total rushing touchdowns with 15.
With three seasons under Mack’s belt at USF, he became the school’s all-time leading rusher with 3609 yards and is the first player at USF to rush for at least 1000 yards for three consecutive seasons.
Rather than coming back to finish his senior year, Mack has decided to represent USF in the 2017 NFL Combine. His fellow teammate, Rodney Adams, will also attend the Combine.
As Adams leave for the Combine, he will be remembered as one of the best Wide Receivers USF ever had. Adams’ 67 receptions this year set the USF single-season record. He also tied the record 822 receiving yards that he set last year. Additionally, he has the longest rushing play in USF history with 92 yards and a total of 16 receiving touchdowns.
Throughout the 2016-2017 NCAA season, teams averaged 30 points per game.The Bulls 43.8 points per game ranked 4th nationally.The average amount of rushing yards per game for USF was 285.3, which ranked 5th in the nation compared to the national average of 183 rushing yards per game.
These statistics prove that USF is a force to be reckoned with and deserve to have the best record in program history and in the American Athletic Conference with 11 wins and only 2 losses, getting the 11th win in the Birmingham Bowl over the South Carolina Gamecocks, a powerful Southeastern Conference team.
The Bulls are also the only team in the AAC to finish the season in the Associated Press Top 25, sitting at No. 19. It’s the first time the USF football has ever finished a season ranked by AP. With figures like this, it becomes clear why former head coach Willie Taggart was hired by Oregon as their new head coach.
There is no need for USF fans to panic, the program hired former Texas head coach Charlie Strong. In his career, Strong was the defensive coordinator for The University of Florida Gators from 2003-2009, which included two BCS National Championships. Strong was also the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals from 2010-2013, with a win in the 2013 Sugar Bowl.
Many believe Strong is a good fit to replace Taggart at USF because of his defensive experience, and with the offense rolling, USF is projected to win the AAC Championship in the 2017 season.