Tampa Bay Sports Day

USF GAMEDAY: Bulls Explode for 56 Points in Season-Opening Win

Quick-strike USF matched the program’s FBS record for points in a season opener in a 56-20 win over Towson Saturday night before a crowd of 35,976 at Raymond James Stadium.

Quarterback Quinton Flowers accounted for four touchdowns, two rushing, two passing, and backup Brett Kean  threw two more touchdown passes in the second half.

“We’ve got a lot of weapons, so we’ve got to find ways to use them all. That’s the beauty of if someone goes down, you don’t have to panic knowing that you have other guys that you can go to. That’s a blessing to have here and something we hadn’t had in a while,” said head coach Willie Taggart on the Gulf Coast offense.

USF’s Gulf Coast offense finished with 444 yards and matched the 56-point total produced by the 2008 team in its opener vs. UT-Martin. USF logged six scoring drives that lasted less than two minutes and its longest scoring drive among the eight on the night took only 3 minutes, 22 seconds.

USF needed just 10 plays and two minutes, 22 seconds to score four touchdowns in the opening half. Darius Tice put the Bulls ahead with a 43-yard touchdown catch less than three minutes into USF’s 20th season of football.

Marlon Mack followed with a 7-yard touchdown run, Marquez Valdes-Scantling hauled in a 51-yard TD pass and Flowers’ 5-yard scoring run helped USF build a 28-10 advantage by the break.

Mack’s school-record string of five straight 100-yard rushing games ended after the junior went down with an injury in the first half and didn’t return. Mack finished with nine rushes for 58 yards, leaving him 251 yards shy of matching Andre Hall’s USF career record of 2,731 yards.

USF forced four turnovers in the debut of new defensive coordinator Raymond Woodie.

Senior linebacker Nigel Harris finished with six tackles, a sack, 1.5 tackles for loss and returned his second-career interception 49 yards a play before USF took a 28-10 lead. USF scored 21 points off turnovers while Tajee Fullwood, Auggie Sanchez and Jaymon Thomas tied for the team lead with seven tackles apiece.

USF will host Northern Illinois on Saturday, Sept. 10 at Raymond James Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and the game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.

GAME NOTES: USF has a 19-1 record in home openers and improved to 15-5 all-time in season openers….Saturday marked the the second-highest scoring game for USF in a season-opener and tied for the most in USF’s Football Bowl Subdivision era (2000-present). USF scored 56 points against UT-Martin in 2008. As an FCS program, USF scored 80 points in the 1997 season opener against Kentucky Wesleyan…linebacker Nigel Harris had his second career interception — and second in as many games dating to last season’s Miami Beach Bowl against Western Kentucky while tying his career high with one sack. He also had 1.5 tackles for a loss…freshman S Malik Dixon had his first career forced fumble, six tackles and a sack in his debut…wide receiver Rodney Adams had USF’s longest kickoff return in a season-opener, a 52-yarder in the first quarter.