USF poised for record-shattering night Thursday

A handful of major USF offensive and defensive records could be broken Thursday night against Tulsa.
Published Nov. 14, 2017

Roughly 20 minutes prior to Thursday evening's Tulsa-USF game, almost certainly the Bulls' 2017 home finale, 23 senior players will be recognized.

By night's end, a few of them could be immortalized.

A handful of seniors are the cusp of breaking USF offensive and defensive career records. Among them is fifth-year senior MLB Auggie Sanchez, who enters the contest only four tackles shy of breaking Kawika Mitchell's 15-year-old school career mark (367).

Sanchez appeared poised to break it two Saturdays ago at Connecticut, but finished with only three tackles.

"It'll be nice if I can do it home," said Sanchez, who expects to be joined by his parents, two brothers, sister and two nephews on the field for pregame ceremonies.

"I would've loved to have done it (at UConn) to add on to it this week. But to do it at home in front of our fans, and especially on senior night if I were able to break it, it would be something really special for my family and everyone close to me see, and the fans that have been here to see me."

Later in the evening, QB Quinton Flowers very well could break Matt Grothe's career total yardage record (10,875). Flowers, who expects to have his 1-year-old daughter in attendance, needs 357 yards — a typical night at the office for him — to break the mark.

With one rushing touchdown, he also becomes only the sixth player in Division I-A history to collect 60 passing and 40 rushing TDs in a career.

Additionally, senior PK Emilio Nadelman needs only one field goal to tie the USF season record (19) shared by Maikon Bonani and Delbert Alvarado; and WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling can set a season receiving yardage record with a prosperous night. Valdes-Scantling's at 702 yards; fellow Lakewood High alumnus Rodney Adams (822) set the record in '16.

GULF COAST SIGHTING? Flowers acknowledged Tuesday it felt good to resuscitate some of the concepts of former coach Willie Taggart's Gulf Coast Offense in the Bulls' recent 37-20 romp of UConn.

Widely maligned for its succession of dive plays (especially on first down), the Bulls staff exploited the Huskies' soft coverage with more quick throws and first-down diversity. USF totaled 602 yards, passing 18 of 35 times on first down.

"That's our offense. That's what these guys love," Flowers said. "That's what put us on top, that's what changed the program. When we do that, we feel (like) ourselves and we play like ourselves."

Strong downplayed any notion the Bulls were breaking up their tendencies, adding they just took what UConn's defense gave them.

"If we can run the ball on first down, we're gonna run it. If we can throw it we'll throw it," he said.

"When you break teams down now, you don't see much tendencies. I mean, we break teams down all the time and it's just the way the game goes and how it flows, and you've just got to be able to just flow with the game."

BLESSING IN DISGUISE: If not for an 11th-hour change of heart by Taggart, Sanchez's senior night might have been a year earlier.

Before being granted his request to play linebacker, Sanchez languished at fullback during his redshirt season in 2013. When starting FB Ryan Eppes went down with an injury, Sanchez practiced with the first team the week of the Bulls' late-October home game against Louisville (then coached by Strong).

But two days before the game, Taggart told Sanchez he wouldn't squander his redshirt by playing him against the Cardinals.

"Best thing that ever happened was not playing in that game," Sanchez said.

Louisville trounced the Bulls, 34-3.

ODDS AND ENDS: Strong confirmed slot WR Deangelo Antoine (ankle) won't play Thursday. He said Antoine will be back, but offered no timetable. … Dave Flemming (play-by-play, Jordan Rodgers (analysis) and Laura Rutledge (sideline) will work Thursday's game for ESPN. … Tulsa senior RB D'Angelo Brewer enters Thursday's game only 110 rushing yards shy of Marlon Mack's American Athletic Conference career record (3,609). … Tulsa's undergraduate enrollment is 3,406 students; USF's is 48,793. … Thursday's game will be Strong's 100th as a head coach. His career record is 61-38.

AUDIBLE: "The best advice I will give her is, don't be a follower. That's something I did; I wasn't a follower. I started my own legacy. I went my own route and always prayed and told God, 'Just lead me in the right direction.' I'm here now and you can see how everything played out for me." — Flowers, on the advice he'll give his daughter when she gets older