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USF pulls away from UCF to win their annual rivalry game

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When the record 10th game had been won, when Willie Taggart was drenched in Gatorade, the only thing USF had left to say to UCF was this:

Well, we told you.

The Bulls won Saturday the way they have won all season long. They played hold-your-breath offense. They played hold-on-for-dear-life defense. And, in the end, they held on for a 48-31 victory over the UCF Knights for their school-record 10th win.

USF piled up 503 yards on offense to pull away from UCF, which trailed only 31-24 going into the final period.

Quarterback Quinton Flowers combined for 304 yards worth of offense – 152 rushing and 152 passing – and scored two touchdowns. Running back Marlon Mack ran for 155 yards and two more scores. It was the 16th straight game the Bulls have scored more than 30.

“It was another great win for our guys,” said USF coach Willie Taggart. “I’m really excited for our seniors to finish their last regular season game at Ray Jay with a victory. Not only with the victory, but for those guys to finish their season with a 10-2 record, it’s pretty darn big-time around here.

“It’s hard to win football games. Not too long ago, wins came pretty hard around here.”

Tre’Quan Smith caught seven passes for 183 yards for UCF. McKenzie Milton threw for 225 yards, but he had two interceptions in the game.

UCF ran the ball 35 times for only 62 yards.

“I had a little angry in me,” Mack said. “A lot of guys on their team, they were trash-talking as the play was going on, so I had a little angry in me.”

The Bulls still had an outside shot at the American Conference East title, but only if Eastern Carolina upset Temple.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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