Quinton Flowers

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Brandon Doughty’s 3 TDs lead WKU to Miami Beach Bowl win

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Western Kentucky (12-2) may have started off slowly against South Florida (8-5) in he Miami Beach Bowl, but the Hilltoppers exploded in the second half. Western Kentucky quarterback Brandon Doughty passed three touchdowns in the third quarter as WKU outscored the Bulls 28-7 out of the halftime break en route to a 45-35 victory.

Wester Kentucky used big plays to lead the charge in the second half. Doughty completed a 69-yard pass to Nicholas Norris in the third quarter to take a 17-14 lead on South Florida. The two hooked up again a couple of minutes later for a 55-yard scoring strike. Doughty tossed a third touchdown late in the third quarter, this time to Jared Dangerfield from 28 yards ou to build a 38-21 lead heading to the fourth quarter.

South Florida was not quite down for the count though. In a span of four minutes, South Florida scored two touchdowns with Quinton Flowers passed and ran for a score to trim the Western Kentucky lead to 38-35, but with just over five minutes to play the Hilltoppers padded their lead to 45-35 with a 42-yard touchdown run by Anthony Wales.

Western Kentucky racked up over 600 yards of offense, with Dougthy throwing for 461 yards. South Florida’s offense had a productive day as well, putting together 543 yards of offense.

Western Kentucky is now 2-1 all-time in bowl games, including last year’s thriller against Central Michigan in the Bahamas Bowl. The Conference USA champions also defeated their former head coach, Willie Taggart. Western Kentucky will open the season on the road against Alabama on September 10. The Hilltoppers will also host Vanderbilt next September.

South Florida will have a chance to get off to a good start in 2016 with a home game against Towson. A home game against Northern Illinois and a road game at Syracuse will be good opportunities for some solid wins as well as South Florida could emerge as a trend team in the American athletic Conference. The Bulls also host Florida State next September. Watch out for these Bulls.

Miami Beach Bowl: South Florida defense cooling off explosive WKU

AP Photo/Chris O'Meara
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Conference USA champion Western Kentucky took a while to get going and appeared to be set to tie the Miami Beach Bowl at 14-14 before halftime, but a bad penalty and back-to-back sacks by South Florida’s defense assured the Bulls would keep a 14-10 halftime lead, and perhaps the momentum.

On first and goal from the six-yard line, Western Kentucky offensive lineman Forrest Lamp was called for an unsportsmanlike penalty, and the Bulls sacked WKU quarterback Brandon Doughty on the next two plays for a combined loss of  17 yards to drive WKU out of field goal range, leaving the Hilltoppers to punt the ball away instead.

Western Kentucky could go just seven yards on the first six plays of the game, but the first few possessions of the game for both teams were far from extraordinary. The teams exchanged punts and a turnover on downs on the first five drives of the game. South Florida finally got things going with Quinton Flowers rushing 12 yards for a touchdown to cap a 62-yard drive keyed by back-to-back completions for first downs from Flowers to Rodney Adams and Ryeshene Bronson.

Down 14-0, Western Kentucky finally found a spark with a Doughty pass to  for a 53-yard gain on the first play of a drive midway through the second quarter. Anthony Wales picked up the final 13 yards on the drive for a touchdown. The touchdown had to be upheld by a video review, because it appeared Wales lost control of the football as he crossed the goal line. The official video review led to upholding the call on the field.

Goal line cameras, people. Goal. Line. Cameras. You have the technology. Use it.

Dalvin Cook helps No. 11 FSU overcome sloppy performance vs. USF

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Florida State running back Dalvin Cook was the star of the day for the No. 11 Seminoles (2-0) in a 34-14 win over visiting USF (1-1). Cook rushed for 266 yards and three touchdowns to lead the ACC contenders past a sluggish first half and sloppy play all around.

Cook’s rushing total was the second most yards ever by a Florida State running back in a single game. Florida State should be thankful for having him on the field today. Florida State’s offense did nothing in the first half of the game. Quarterback Everett Golson completed just one of his nine first half attempts, but he, along with the rest of the team, seemed to turn things around after halftime. Golson ended his afternoon with 163 yards and a touchdown while completing 14 of 26 passes. Golson made some bad decisions at times but managed to avoid having a mistake cost him too much.

Florida State came out of the halftime break with three scores in the third quarter. Cook ran once for a 24-yard score, kicker Roberto Aguayo nailed a 3-yard field goal and Golson completed a touchdown pass to Jesus Wilson from 23 yards out. That was enough to pretty much seal the victory heading into the fourth quarter. USF would trim the lead down to 10-points early in the fourth quarter with a Quinton Flowers touchdown pass to D’Ernest Johnson for a quick 71-yard score, but the Seminoles tacked on more points tokeep the game out of reach.

Florida State will jump into ACC play next week when they head north to play at Boston College. The primetime match-up could be a tricky one for the Seminoles, as Steve Adazio has his Eagles at 2-0 out of the gates. Of course, those two wins have come at the expense of two FCS opponents, so how well will Boston College really be ready to step things up next week in terms of level of competition?

USF will be back on the road against a power conference opponent next week. The Bulls head to Maryland of the Big Ten for the second game in a home-and-home series. Maryland won a 24-17 game last season in Tampa between the two schools.

Sloppy Florida State lets USF hang around at halftime, 7-7

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This seems to be a case today around the country, but an early kickoff for Florida State and USF in less-than-ideal weather has led to some sloppy play in the first half in Tallahassee. Other than Dalvin Cook having a 100-yard rushing performance, the highlights have been few and far between for either team in the first half of a 7-7 tie.

Cook’s 74-yard touchdown run in the first quarter gave the Seminoles a lead, but the offense struggled for much of the half against USF’s defense. This, along with some decent special teams work, allowed USF to begin working an advantage on the field position battle

Everett Golson failed to complete a pass in the first quarter of the game, with all five of his attempts falling incomplete. It would take seven attempts before being able to complete one for a six-yard gain. USF managed to tie the game at 7-7 in the second quarter after driving only 45 yards. Bulls quarterback Quinton Flowers completed a short pass to running back D’Ernest Johnson for the score. A previous possession knocking on the door step ended in an interception on a fade pass, otherwise USF would have a lead at the break.

In the first quarter Florida State’s Lamarcus Brutus was ejected from the game following a targeting call on special teams return coverage. The call was upheld following a video review, and according to the rule book the call looked to be correct by the book. A helmet-to-helmet clash is what probably drew the penalty to begin with.

Florida State needs to get better play up front from the offensive line if they are going to shake an upset bid from the USF Bulls. Florida State had just 112 yards of total offense, and Cook has rushed for 115 yards. That pretty much tells you what the story is in Tallahassee.