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USF reveals fewer than 1,100 tickets sold for Birmingham Bowl

USF has sold barely 10 percent of the 10,000 tickets it was allotted for this weekend's Birmingham Bowl.
USF interim coach T.J. Weist hoists the Birmingham Bowl following the Bulls' overtime win against South Carolina last December (AP photo)
USF interim coach T.J. Weist hoists the Birmingham Bowl following the Bulls' overtime win against South Carolina last December (AP photo)
Published Dec. 18, 2017

USF announced Monday it has sold barely more than 10 percent of the 10,000 tickets it was allotted for Saturday's Birmingham Bowl, where it will play for the second consecutive postseason.

As of Monday afternoon, the school had sold 1,059 tickets for the Bulls' game against Big 12 foe Texas Tech, which kicks off at noon EST. The total represents a 35-percent decline from last season, when the school sold 1,648 for its Birmingham Bowl matchup against South Carolina. That game, however, was played Dec. 29.

USF has donated more than 4,500 of its allotted tickets back to the bowl game, which will distribute them to various charities. Another 300 tickets will be distributed to veterans, the school announced. Coaches, players, band members and staffers also receive an allotment for friends and/or family members.

The Bulls leave Tuesday afternoon for Birmingham.

HEIR TO Q? Even with a few dozen snaps remaining in the storied career of Bulls QB Quinton Flowers, many already are speculating as two who will win the unenviable job of replacing him in 2018.

Currently, third-year sophomore Brett Kean and redshirt freshman Chris Oladokun appear the top two candidates entering the spring, though three-star recruits Octavious Battle of Atlanta and Jordan McCloud of Plant could make things interesting. McCloud is expected to sign with the Bulls on Wednesday.

NCAA rules prohibit Strong from speaking about recruits until they have signed. But on Monday, Strong said Kean and Oladokun — who have combined for seven cameo appearances in 2017 — also possess mobility and improvisational flair similar to their predecessor. Whether they can brandish those traits nearly as effectively as Flowers remains to be seen.

"They can do similar things, they're just two different guys," Strong said. "Your quarterbacks are always gonna be different, we've just got to make sure we've got a system in place where they can be successful and the team can be successful."

Speaking of Flowers, he enters his collegiate finale with 27 school records, and could tie or break as many as nine more on Saturday. He needs 44 rushing yards to break Marlon Mack's career rushing yardage record (3,609), and can tie Marquel Blackwell's school mark for career wins by a starting QB (30).

With a school-record 11,385 total yards, he needs only 47 to break the American Athletic Conference record held by former Temple QB Philip Walker.

ODDS AND ENDS: Tom Hart (play-by-play), former Auburn coach (and Tarpon Springs native) Gene Chizik (analysis) and Lauren Sisler (sidelines) will call the Birmingham Bowl for ESPN. … USF is among only 13 Division I teams with 20 or more wins over the last two seasons. … Saturday's game will be MLB Auggie Sanchez's 50th career start, tying the school record held by George Selvie. … The Bulls, who have committed only 14 turnovers, will set a USF season record if they go turnover-free Saturday. The 2002 and '15 teams own the record with 15 turnovers each.

AUDIBLE: "I was guessing that the corner was gonna stick me, but they ended up pushing the corner out and a linebacker (came over). So I was just in my head like, 'Oh please stay right there, please.'" — Bulls WR Darnell Salomon, explaining how he got so wide open on his 83-yard scoring reception in the fourth quarter at UCF.


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