Quinton Flowers did it again at the Birmingham Bowl, launching another winning touchdown throw with a game against a Power Five team on the line.
Flowers threw a 26-yard scoring pass to Tyre McCants with 16 seconds left to give South Florida a 38-34 victory over Texas Tech on Saturday in Birmingham, Ala.
Flowers led the Bulls (10-2) to a second straight dramatic victory in the bowl game at Legion Field, throwing for a pair of touchdowns in the final 4:26 after struggling in the first half.
“I was telling myself, ‘I’ve got to hit my guys in the chest,’ ” Flowers said. “I’ve got to put the ball in their chest and just give them a chance. I just went out there and my coach called the play that I wanted, and thank God Tyre did what he was supposed to do and I did what I was supposed to do, and we came out with the victory.”
The Bulls, who are 21-4 the past two seasons and are in their first year under former Texas coach Charlie Strong, won last year’s Birmingham Bowl on Flowers’ 25-yard touchdown pass in overtime against South Carolina.
The Red Raiders (6-7) had taken the lead back with Nic Shimonek’s 25-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open T.J. Vasher in the end zone with 1:31 remaining. That left Flowers with plenty of time to work, it turns out.
Shimonek took Texas Tech across midfield in the final seconds, but his desperation pass on the run was completed well short of the end zone.
Shimonek, who led a fourth-quarter comeback in the regular-season finale against Texas, completed 32 of 59 passes for 416 yards. He threw for three touchdowns and was intercepted twice on deflected balls.
Keke Coutee had 11 catches for 187 yards and a touchdown, and Justin Stockton ran for 103 yards.
The Red Raiders set up two touchdowns in the third quarter with fumble recoveries, taking a 24-17 lead. The defense helped preserve the lead with a pair of fourth down stops, including a goal line stand. Quentin Yontz stuffed Darius Tice from inside the 1 early in the fourth, but Flowers wound up getting the ball back across midfield.
He cashed with a 5-yard touchdown run to tie it with 9:30 left.
“Defensively, it was stop after stop that we had to go get,” Strong said. “And even for our offense, they had two turnovers and then they had two big fourth-down stops, and our offense just continued to play.”
Army 42, San Diego State 35: Darnell Woolfolk scored on a 1-yard run with 18 seconds left, Kell Walker converted a go-ahead two-point run and the Black Knights added a last-play defensive touchdown for a victory over the Aztecs on Saturday in the Armed Forces Bowl at Fort Worth.
After Rashaad Penny’s fourth touchdown run of the game gave San Diego State (10-3) a 35-28 lead with 5:47 to play, Army (10-3) drove 72 yards for the tying score and winning conversion.
The Aztecs made multiple laterals on the game’s final play from their 40. The final lateral was grabbed by Army’s Elijah Riley, who returned it 29 yards for a touchdown.
The Black Knights tied a school record for wins set by the 1996 team.
Penny ran for 221 yards, his fifth straight game of at least 200 yards. His scores came on runs of 81 (on his first carry), 31, 49 and 4 yards. Juwan Washington scored the Aztecs’ other touchdown on a 78-yard kickoff return.