Texas Tech vs South Florida Preview and Prediction: Birmingham Bowl
Texas Tech vs South Florida Preview
South Florida had their sights set higher than the Birmingham Bowl when the season started, but they fell short of their goal with losses to UCF and Houston.
Now the goal is to repeat as Birmingham Bowl champs. South Florida played South Carolina last year and wound up with a 46-39 victory and quarterback Quinton Flowers won MVP honors. Flowers, who could hold as many as 34 school records when his career is done rushed for 105 yards and was 23-of-32 for 261 more and two touchdowns against the Gamecocks last year. This season he ranks 11th in the country in total offense per game (324.7 yards) and will set a school single-season record for passing yardage if he throws for 312 against the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury knows what he’s about to face…
“He is a real dual threat-type guy,” Kingsbury said. “To deal with the transition into the new offense like he did and still have the same type success, I thought was very impressive going into his senior year.
“He’s one of the best playmakers in America so we’ll have our hands full trying to contain him.”
This game should be one of the most high-scoring bowl games this season. Both teams can light up the scoreboard and struggle stopping opposing teams from doing the same.
The Bulls are averaging 38.3 points (No. 15 in FBS statistics), the Red Raiders 34.3. The Bulls have an edge in defensive numbers, holding opponents to 22.5 points per game to Texas Tech’s 31.8, but they gave up 533 yards to UCF in their finale.
“I think they can match up well with anybody when you talk about speed and athleticism,” Red Raiders coach Kliff Kingsbury said of the Bulls. “They can play with anybody in the country, there’s no question about that. So we’ll have our hands full. We know that.”
South Florida head coach Charlie Strong is no stranger to the Red Raiders and what challenges they present from the three years he spent at Texas.
“I’ve always had a lot of respect for coach Kingsbury,” Strong said. “When I was in the Big 12, Texas Tech was always a team that gave you a lot of issues, a lot of problems because they can spread the ball out. They can score at any time on the field.”
While Quinton Flowers gets a lot of the headlines, Tech has a quarterback that is just as dangerous.
Nic Shimonek is 12th in passing yards per game with his 295.6 average. He didn’t start the regular-season finale against Texas, but came off the bench when the offense stalled and rallied the Red Raiders to the 27-23 victory with a pair of touchdown passes in the fourth quarter.
Kingsbury said the redshirt senior, who has completed 68.2 percent of his 434 pass attempts for 30 touchdowns against only eight interceptions, will start against the Bulls.
“I think that game really helped his confidence,” Kingsbury said, “and I expect him to play at a high level in the bowl game.”
Both teams will put up points but it is South Florida’s defense that will make just enough stops to win the game.
LINE: -3 South Florida
South Florida 45 Texas Tech 34