Journal: More milestones for Quinton Flowers, USF offense

South Florida Bulls place kicker Emilio Nadelman (35) kicks a field goal during the first half at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Saturday, October 14, 2017.
South Florida Bulls place kicker Emilio Nadelman (35) kicks a field goal during the first half at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Saturday, October 14, 2017.
Published Oct. 15, 2017

TAMPA — It was first and 10 from the Cincinnati 48, and USF QB Quinton Flowers dropped back, looking for an open receiver. Finding none, he relied on the very thing for which he's become known — his feet.

Flowers, who eventually helped lead USF to a 33-3 victory against the Bearcats, picked up the first down on the 11-yard run. That carry stood out from the rest he'd have Saturday night, as it gave him 3,000 career rushing yards and put him in yet another elite club.

Milestones, though, are nothing new to the senior quarterback.

In a win against East Carolina on Sept. 30, Flowers rushed for 103 yards, surpassing former Florida QB Tim Tebow as the state's leading career rusher. Flowers came into the game ranked No. 21 in all-time quarterback rushers. At USF, he ranks first in career rushing touchdowns (36) and second in career rushing yards.

"I came here to do what I'm doing now, make my family proud, make my mom proud, just be a difference maker on the team," Flowers said. "That's what I'm doing right now, so I've just got to continue doing it."

Offense ties all-time record: The teams have been different, and the results varied. But during the Bulls' last 23 games, one thing has remained consistent: they know how to find the end zone.

Saturday's victory against Cincinnati marked the 23rd straight game in which the Bulls have scored at least 30 points, tying a Chip Kelly-led Oregon squad (2011-12) for the longest streak all-time.

Since the Bulls' streak began with a 44-23 victory against then-No. 21 Temple on Nov. 14, 2015, USF has averaged 42.6 points per game. Through the first six games of the season, the Bulls are averaging 492 yards of offense.

Still, USF coach Charlie Strong wasn't interested in dwelling on his team's strength in scoring on a night, he said, when missed offensive opportunities abounded.

"I don't ever look at records," Strong said about the streak. "We could have very easily not scored 30 tonight. We had the ball in the red zone and got field goals when we should have had touchdowns."

Picking prowess: The Bulls continued their streak of intercepting at least one pass in every game this season, and they did so in dramatic fashion. A USF offsides penalty on the final play of the first half gave the Bearcats an untimed down. On that play, USF LB Auggie Sanchez picked off Cincinnati QB Hayden Moore, taking it 65 yards for a touchdown.

The pick-six was both Sanchez and USF's second of the season, and the Bulls lead the nation with 15 interceptions. Against ECU, Sanchez took an interception back 43 yards for a score.

Nadelman kick-starts offense: Emilio Nadelman put the Bulls on the board in the first quarter with a 39-yard field goal, and he continued his success between the uprights all night. Nadelman had kicks of 21 and 28 yards in the second quarter, and in the fourth, a 24-yard kick was his USF record-tying 13th made field goal in a row. Before Saturday's game, Nadelman ranked seventh in the nation in field goals (2.03) and points (11.2) per game.

"I'm trying to stay confident in myself, in my kick, in my technique," Nadelman said. "I try not to worry about any stats during the season. I just try to go out there and do my job."

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In memoriam: Before the game began, a moment of silence was observed for the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas and for USF athletics assistant director of communications Mike Radomski, who died in a car accident on I-75 early Thursday morning. Radomski, who began working at USF in 2015, was primarily the media liaison for men's basketball. He was 29.

"I texted his wife and just told her she's in our thoughts and prayers and just told her what type of person he was. He'll be truly missed," Strong said. "Life is so short; you've just got to enjoy every moment of it."