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Official Release: USF Dismantles No. 21 Temple, 44-23


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USF ATHLETICS

GoUSFBulls.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE: NOV. 14, 2015

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USF Dismantles No. 21 Temple, 44-23

USF downs first ranked team since 2011, becomes bowl eligible

Mack runs for 230 yards and scores three touchdowns

TAMPA, FLA., NOV. 14, 2015 – With a program changing opportunity within its grasp, USF put together a dominating performance Saturday, dismantling No. 21-ranked Temple, 44-23, to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2010 and gain ground in the conference title race.

Fans celebrated on the Raymond James Stadium turf as the Bulls defeated a ranked opponent for the first time since 2011 and downed one at home for the first time since 2009 while securing the programs most conference wins since 2007.

USF (6-4, 4-2) jumped out to a 31-10 halftime lead and racked up 556 total yards, including a season-high 326 on the ground. The Bulls posted their fifth win in the past six games to move to just a game behind Temple (8-2, 5-1) in The American’s East Division standings with two games left in the regular season.

“Our guys are climbing in the right direction and this is what we want,” head coach Willie Taggart said. “This is only the beginning.”

Temple had no answer for a USF rushing attack that produced the program’s most rushing yards in a game since 2012.

Marlon Mack posted his second-career 200-yard rushing game with 230 yards, a pair of touchdown runs and a 20-yard TD reception. The monster game helped Mack become the fifth Bull to rush for 2,000 yards and the sophomore now ranks fourth on USF’s all-time list with 2,106 career yards.

“Coach T just kept telling us to fight and that’s what we’re doing,” Mack said.

Rodney Adams set new career highs with seven catches for 147 yards and hauled in a 68-yard touchdown reception that was a part of USF’s biggest first half scoring output since 2011. Quinton Flowers completed 15 of 22 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns in addition to rushing for 90 yards and a touchdown.

All of that was done against a Temple team that ranked 19th in scoring defense (18.4 ppg) and 25th in total defense (335 ypg) entering the game.

“We pretty much took care of business in all phases of the game and we needed to be able to do that against a very talented Temple football team,” Taggart said.

The Bulls roared out of the gates with 296 yards of offense on the way to a 31-10 halftime lead. It marked USF’s most points in an opening half since scoring 31 points against UTEP on Sept. 24, 2011.

Jahad Thomas’ 1-yard touchdown run gave Temple the lead on its second drive with 26 seconds remaining in the opening quarter. The Owls had the ball for 11:16 in the first quarter.

USF responded in explosive fashion just 20 seconds later with Adams’ 68-yard touchdown reception. With his seventh TD catch of the year, Adams tied Andre Davis (2014) and Elgin Hicks (2003) for the program’s single-season record. Adams has scored at least one touchdown in five of the past six games.

USF was back in business two players later thanks to Deatrick Nichols’ interception that was returned to the Temple 5-yard line. The Bulls took the lead one play later on Flowers’ team-leading eighth rushing touchdown of the season with 14:49 remaining in the second quarter.

Austin Jones’ 33-yard field goal cut Temple’s deficit to 14-10 with 10:46 left in the half after defensive end Eric Lee dropped into coverage and batted down a pass on third down.

Big plays continued for the Bulls on the ensuing drive and USF extended its lead with Mack’s 57-yard touchdown with 9:16 remaining before halftime. Mack now has three multiple touchdown games in his collegiate career.

Flowers’ 42-yard run got USF down to the Temple 19 on its next drive and Mack’s 20-yard touchdown catch helped pump the Bulls’ lead up to 28-10 with 6:17 left in the second quarter. All four of USF’s first-half touchdowns were scored in 1:30 or less and two took a combined 15 seconds to produce.

Emilio Nadelman’s career-long 47-yard field goal with 15 seconds remaining capped off USF’s ultra-productive first half.

Temple started to climb back into the game following a USF fumble on the opening drive of the second half. P.J. Walker’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Ventell Bryant helped cut the Owls’ deficit to 31-17 with 12:48 to go in the third quarter. Jones added a 35-yard field goal about 7 minutes later.

Nadelman gave the Bulls some breathing room with a 24-yard field goal that extended the lead to 34-20 with 3:17 to play in the third quarter. Nadelman connected on another valuable field goal from 37 yards out to give the Bulls a 37-20 lead with 8:40 remaining.

Jones 34-yard field goal with 6:07 remaining cut the USF lead to 37-23, but that’s as close as the Owls got the rest of the way. Mack’s 48-yard touchdown run sealed the deal for the Bulls with 2:38 remaining.

Fans stormed the field after the final whistle to celebrate with a Bulls team that has totally turned the tables following a 1-3 start to the season.

“It was literally like a movie. It’s just such an awesome feeling,” senior center Brynjar Gudmundsson said. “That’s what you dream of playing college football – moments like that – and it came true.”

USF looks to gain more ground in the divisional race when it hosts Cincinnati on Friday, Nov. 20. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. and fans can reserve their seats at USFBullsTix.com.

“When I came here I said my goal and my vision for this football program is to win multiple championships in a first-class manner,” Taggart said. “We’re not there yet, but we’re climbing.”

The USF Football program is in its 19th season overall and 16th at the FBS level. The Bulls have made six bowl appearances, including every season between 2005-10, and have four bowl game victories. USF has produced 14 All-America selections, 25 NFL Draft picks and reached the No. 2 ranking in the Associated Press Poll in 2007.

Follow  @USFFootball on twitter for all the latest information concerning the USF Football program.

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