The good news for Texas Tech is their prized running back, Justin Stockton (114 attempts, 694 yards) is still expected to play. Wide receiver Derrick Willes missed the last three games for disciplinary reasons and it’s unknown if he’ll be involved. South Florida wide receiver Deangelo Antoine (11 catches, 168 yards, 1 TD) has been limited in the last month of the season with an ankle injury, and he’s listed as questionable for the upcoming game.
Texas Tech and South Florida will battle at the Birmingham Bowl at Legion Field. The Red Raiders squeaked into the bowl season after taking down Texas in the regular season finale. The Bulls will attempt to end the season on a high mark after suffering a disappointing loss at UCF.
Shimonek to start bowl game after finishing strong against Texas
It’s a surprise to see Texas Tech going to a bowl. They took advantage of their easy non-conference schedule and taking down Baylor and Kansas like all the other Big 12 teams did. All it took was one other victory somewhere else and it came on the regular season finale against Texas, 27-23. Even though they completed less than 50 percent of their passes, Tech took advantage of four turnovers from the opposition.
Quarterback Nic Shimonek was benched for that game against the Longhorns, but the backup was incredibly mediocre throughout the game. He appears to have himself out of the doghouse after completing 4-of-8 passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns late in the contest. He’s been designated as the starter for the bowl game. Running back Justin Stockton, who has 694 rushing yards on 114 attempts this season, is probable despite dealing with a concussion.
Flowers amazes with 500 passing yards, but not enough for a win
South Florida had a chance to play in the AAC title game if they could beat their rivals, but UCF was able to beat them in a thrilling 49-42 game. A wild fourth quarter saw two long passing bombs by UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton for touchdowns. USF QB Quinton Flowers answered with an 83-yard touchdown pass to tie the game up, but UCF immediately took the lead again on a 95-yard kickoff return. A turnover by the Bulls ended the threat of overtime.
Flowers got just over 50 percent of his passes completed (24-of-45), but he reeled in 503 yards and four touchdowns. He was also the team’s leading rusher with 102 yards on 20 carries with an additional score. He’s been a complete stud this season with a ratio of 21 touchdowns to 6 interceptions in the air, and he added 10 more scores on 972 rushing yards this season. The senior will have one more go in a college game.
Texas Tech is:
- 2-7 ATS in their last 9 bowl games
- 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games overall
South Florida is:
- 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games after a SU loss
- 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing more than 40 points in prior contest
It may be a hard truth, but the Bulls are a better team on paper. The Red Raiders have never looked impressive and it would be a surprise to see them pull this one off, especially if Shimonek ends up struggling.
Pick: South Florida
The over is set at 67 and it couldn’t be high enough. Texas Tech shouldn’t be hobbled in the running game with Stockton expected to play, and Flowers has been a treat to watch offensively. Many, many points will be scored between these electric offenses that combine for 72.6 points per game.
- 7-1 on the Over in Red Raiders last 8 bowl games
- 7-0 on the Over in Bulls last 7 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in prior contest