No. 23 South Florida meets Texas Tech in Birmingham Bowl
Birmingham Bowl: No. 23 South Florida (9-2) vs. Texas Tech (6-6), Saturday, Dec. 23, 12 p.m. EST (ESPN)
Line: South Florida by 2-1/2.
Series record: First meeting.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
South Florida is gunning for a second straight season with double-digit victories and back-to-back Birmingham Bowl victories over teams from Power 5 conferences. Texas Tech can avoid the third losing record of Kliff Kingsbury’s five seasons after closing the regular season with a comeback win over Texas that might have saved his job.
South Florida’s offense against a Texas Tech team that ranks 99th in total defense and 123rd in passing yards allowed. The Red Raiders have made strides this season defensively but face an offense that ranks ninth in total and rushing yards per game and 16th in scoring average.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
South Florida: QB Quinton Flowers has passed for 2,600 yards and 21 touchdowns but also leads the team with 972 rushing yards. With 11,385 yards of total offense, he needs just 47 to break the American Athletic Conference career record held by Temple’s Phillip Walker.
Texas Tech: WR Keke Coutee’s 1,242 receiving yards ranks fourth among receivers from Power 5 conferences. He’s coming off a 168-yard performance against Texas, the fourth time Coutee topped 150 yards this season.
FACTS & FIGURES
Both teams have won four of their last five bowl games. … Flowers can join Louisville’s Lamar Jackson as the only FBS players with 2,500 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards this season. … Texas Tech QB Nic Shimonek came off the bench to throw a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes in a 27-23 win over Texas. The Red Raiders were trailing 23-13 when Shimonek came into the game. He and Oklahoma Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield are the only FBS passers with at least 30 touchdown passes and eight or fewer interceptions. … South Florida won last year’s Birmingham Bowl 46-39 over South Carolina on Flowers’ 25-yard touchdown pass in overtime.
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