USF: 5 bold predictions for Birmingham Bowl

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South Florida converted a fourth-down on the first play of the quarter and drove as far as the Red Raiders' goal line but could not convert a fourth-and-goal attempt at the 1-yard line to tie the game. Plus Texas Tech had every opportunity to win this game, but could not finish the job when it mattered.

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. He'll begin the draft process in earnest at the East-West Shrine Game in January.

South Florida: Flowers had a terrific second half after going 4-of-14 passing for 52 yards in the first. Texas Tech outscored USF 14-7 in the third quarter, with a Flowers touchdown pass to Damel Solomon being sandwiched in between a Shimonek scoring throw to Dylan Cantrell and a Tre King four-yard touchdown run. It's the 6th time this season that the Red Raiders haven't allowed a first quarter touchdown. South Florida retook the lead, 31-27, two plays later on a 64-yard touchdown pass from Flowers to Scantling with 4:26 left to play in the contest. Senior wide receiver Marques Valdes-Scantling finished with three receptions for 133 yards and one touchdown, and junior wide receiver Tyre McCants finished the game with six receptions for 88 yards and two touchdowns.

South Florida's most impactful player is quarterback Quinton Flowers, who can make plays in the air and on the ground. Red Raiders go up 34-31, 1:31 left in the 4th.

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In response, the Tech defense forced USF to go three-and-out by putting pressure on Flowers and making him throw it away on third and eight. Flowers also set school records for career touchdown passes and rushing yards, finishing with 34 school or conference marks. This time the Red Raiders couldn't seal the deal.

Key Play: Flower's 26-yard touchdown pass to McCants that gave South Florida the victory. Still, Shimonek put Texas Tech in a position to win, but the Red Raiders' defense just couldn't contain Quinton Flowers on the other side of the ball. With 16 seconds left to play, Flowers floats one to McCants down the sideline for the go ahead score.

Flowers' five-yard touchdown run with 9:30 remaining in the game tied the score at 24, with Clayton Hatfield's 33-yard field goal giving Texas Tech a 27-24 lead with 5:02 remaining. Vasher somehow getting left wide open in the end zone for an easy touchdown pass from Nic Shimonek.

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