Bulls finish sixth nationally in total offense, second in interceptions
Flowers finishes ninth in total offense, joins Senat on All-Bowl team
Bulls post 12 team season records
TAMPA, JAN. 11, 2018 – The USF football team (10-2; 6-2 American), which was ranked No. 21 in the final AP Top 25 and Amway Coaches polls of 2017, also finished among the top 25 nationally in 14 NCAA team statistical categories, including sixth nationally in total offense with a program record 513.0 yards per game.
The Bulls saw several individuals finish among the top players nationally in several NCAA statistical rankings, including senior quarterback Quinton Flowers (Miami), who ranked ninth in total offense and among the top 30 in six categories. Flowers and fellow senior Deadrin Senat (Immokalee) were both named to All-Bowl Teams. Flowers earned honors from ESPN after posting 417 total yards and five touchdowns in the Bulls’ win over Texas Tech, while Senat earned honors from Sports Illustrated following his three sacks and five tackles vs. the Red Raider.
USF, which completed the season by posting 561 yards of offense in a 38-34 defeat of Texas Tech in the Birmingham Bowl, ranked among the top 25 in eight offensive categories. Under first-year coordinator Sterlin Gilbert, the Bulls ranked in the top 10 in total offense (6th, 513.0 ypg), rushing offense (8th, 264.1 ypg), scoring offense (10th, 38.3 ppg) and interceptions thrown (8th, 6 total), with the yards per game mark setting a new program record. The Bulls also stood in the top 25 in first downs (17th, 309 total), turnovers lost (19th, 14), yards per completion (8th, 15.24 ypc) and fourth-down conversion percentage (11th, .368), with the first downs and turnovers setting new program records.
The Bulls saw tremendous improvement on defense under first-year coordinator Brian Jean-Mary. USF ranked in the top 25 nationally in six defensive categories, including passes intercepted (2nd, 20), tackles for loss (5th, 8.4 tpg), pass efficiency defense (8th, 110.53), sacks (11th, 3.0 spg), turnover margin (15th, +10) and rushing defense (21st, 126.9 ypg). The Bulls improved to 37th in total defense (359.8 ypg) and 41st in scoring defense (23.5 ppg) one year after ranking 120th (482.0 ygp) and 92nd (31.6 ppg), respectively.
Among 12 program season records the Bulls set in 2017 were marks for yards per game (513.0 ypg), first downs (309), plays (1,001), rush attempts (634), third-down conversions (90), fewest turnovers (14), fewest fumbles (11) and punts forced (86). The Bulls also set the second-best team marks ever in points scored (459), touchdowns (57), total yards (6,156) and rushing touchdowns (30).
Flowers finished the year ninth nationally in total offense, posting 332.4 yards per game, just two yards off his 2016 average (334.0 ypg), when he finished 10th. Flowers also finished the year ranked third in yards per completion (15.48 ypc), 11th in points responsible for per game (18.2 ppg), 13th in points responsible for (218), 25th in yards per pass attempt (8.22 ypa) and 27th in passing touchdowns (25). His passing touchdown mark broke his own school record, one of 42 program records that he set or tied during his career.
Senior kicker Emilio Nadelman (Miami) ranked eighth nationally and first in The American in field goals per game (1.75) and 19th nationally and first in The American in field goal percentage (.840). He also stood 10th in scoring (9.6 ppg) and 20th in total points scored (115) nationally. Senior safety Devin Abraham (Tarpon Springs) finished 11th in interceptions (5) and 12th in interceptions per game (0.4), while fellow senior defensive back Deatrick Nichols (Miami) ranked 22nd nationally and first in The American in passes defended (1.3).
Senior Devon Jones-Stewart (Lake Mary) finished third nationally with two blocked kicks, while senior Tajee Fullwood (Tampa) was fourth in punt returns nationally and first in The American averaging 13.3 ypr. Senior Jonathan Hernandez (Bradenton) ranked 31st nationally and second in The American averaging 43.4 yards per punt, while junior Tyre McCants (Niceville) was 19th nationally averaging 19.06 yards per reception.
USF was ranked in the final AP Top 25 Poll of the season for the second straight year, extending its school-record run of poll appearances to 20 straights weeks, which stands as the longest active streak in the state of Florida.
The Bulls’ 2018 signing class is currently ranked No. 1 in the American Athletic Conference and 45th nationally by Rivals, while 247Sports ranks 21of the Bulls’ 24 signees as three-star recruits.
USF will return six starters on offense for 2018, including three of its top four receivers and three offensive line starters, led by second team all-conference pick Marcus Norman (Sebastian) at right tackle. On defense, USF will return five starters, including defensive end Greg Reaves (Bradenton), who led the Bulls with 14.0 tackles for loss in 2017, and three starters in the secondary.