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Bowl Preview: Texas Tech vs South Florida

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Red Raiders look over matched in rematch with Charlie Strong

Nikopoia

Texas Tech (6-6, 3-6) is set to take on South Florida (9-2, 6-2) in the Birmingham Bowl this Saturday in a game where Tech will see a familiar enemy. After his dismissal from Texas, Charlie Strong found a home with the Bulls and has had a very successful first campaign in 2017.

While ranked, #23 currently, South Florida really hasn’t played anyone of note that would make Tech fans concerned by any stretch. They played only one other ranked team in Central Florida and lost to the Knights, 49-42, by giving up 21 points in the 4th quarter. What should concern Tech fans is how familiar Charlie Strong is with Texas Tech and its offense.

Charlie Strong is 2-1 against Kingsbury and company while he was at Texas, with his only loss coming in 2015 in Austin and most Tech fans can probably expect a similar style of game to play out between these two teams.

So let’s go ahead and talk about the guy Tech needs to be the most concerned about, South Florida quarterback, Quinton Flowers.

For most of us, we are quite unaware of who Flowers is or what his ability on the field is, but after looking at his stats and seeing him on film, he is a dynamic play maker/escape artist. I think he might be better at escaping pressure in the pocket than former Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes was. I’ve seen multiple times where the defense has him dead to rights in the pocket and he escapes. I introduce as evidence, Exhibit A:

Hero Sports

The good news here is that Quinton Flowers seems to be a glorified running back playing basically “wildcat” every play rushing 182 times for 972 yards and 10 TDs. He is suspect in the passing game, with a 53.4% completion percentage, but is efficient due to the respect of his running ability. If Tech’s defense can contain him like they did Sam Ehlinger in the finale against Texas, Tech’s defense should have an opportunity to get some turnovers if he’s forced to pass.

The problem with that, is Flowers isn’t the only rushing weapon on their offense. Darius Tice has rushed 162 times for 878 yards and 11 TDs and D’Ernest Johnson has rushed 177 times for 745 and 7 TDs.

Here’s the tale of the tape:

Nikopoia

South Florida is going to try to use this three-headed rushing attack to control the clock, wear Tech’s defense down and keep Kingsbury’s offense off the field. Much like Texas tried to do in the regular season finale, Tech’s defense is going to need to create turnovers and get the ball back in the hands of the offense. Even with his improved defense, Kingsbury may try to push the envelope on offense in 4th down situations knowing his possessions are going to be limited.

The game will be televised on ESPN at 11am.

Check the Texas Tech website for radio affiliates in your area.

Here are some links from the week to get you caught up on South Florida:


The Anti-Preview: South Florida

The Air Raid Podcast #115: South Florida Preview

The Double OT: It only takes one

Enjoy the game and don’t forget to come hang with us during the game on the Gameday Thread or on Twitter @vivathematadors

Go Tech!