USF rallied to come up with a brilliant comeback win over Texas Tech in the Birmingham Bowl. Here are five things that matter.
2017 Birmingham Bowl: USF 38, Texas Tech 34
5. Now THAT’S a bowl game
Great offenses, lots of big plays, teams that matter on a national scale – that’s what a bowl game should be.
After a nightmare of a first ten games of the bowl season, Texas Tech and USF put on a brilliant show that went down to the final play. It’s an exhibition, and it doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of life, but it was a fun game.
Thank you, Birmingham Bowl.
4. Texas Tech still needs a defense
If you want to know why Texas Tech had to scrape to get into the Birmingham Bowl, welcome to the fourth quarter.
USF’s offense obviously had a whole lot to do with it, but the defense couldn’t get to Quinton Flowers, the secondary allowed too many big moments, and when the game was there for the taking, the D couldn’t come through.
Nic Shimonek and the Texas Tech offense got the job done by taking the lead with a late touchdown pass, and all the offense had to do was hold on in the final 1:31.
3. Charlie Strong’s revenge
He couldn’t come up with a winning season in three years at Texas.
He couldn’t take what appeared to be the best team in the American Athletic Conference to a championship or a New Year’s Six game.
But he did win the Birmingham Bowl to make his record 4-2 in bowls as a full-time head coach, and he led the program to a ten-win season.
The players busted their tails for him, they all appeared to be emotionally fired up for this game and wanting to win it, and Strong now has something special to build on.
2. The Texas Tech offense sure is a lot of fun
The program might not win enough, but when it comes to the bowl games, it sure is a blast to watch this thing do what it does.
Nic Shimonek threw two interceptions, but he also winged it 59 times for 416 yards and three scores, and Keke Coutee caught 11 balls for 187 yards and a score.
It would’ve been nice if one of this Shimonek picks wasn’t in the end zone, but even with the misfires, the Red Raiders almost had the game won in the final moments.
However, this turned into a game all about …
1. Quinton Flowers
He only hit 17 of his 34 passes, but they were for 311 yards and four scores, and he led the team with 106 yards and a score on 14 carries.
Quinton Flowers closed out his career with the exact type of performance Bull fans have seen over the last few years.
When the team needed him the most, boom – an efficient scoring drive leading to a four-yard Flowers scoring run.
Boom, a big touchdown pass to Marquez Valdez-Scantling for the lead.
With the game on the line, seven plays, 76 yards, a 26-yard scoring pass to Tyre McCants in the final seconds.
And Quinton Flowers goes out a bowl winner.