In less than two weeks, South Carolina and South Florida will square off in the Birmingham Bowl.
The 10-2 Bulls come in with a high-powered offense and a host of experienced players defensively. In this five-part series, SEC Country will take a look at the 10 USF players to know heading into the Birmingham Bowl.
To start, we take a closer look at players Nos. 1 and 2 in Part 5:
2. Marlon Mack – junior running back
Mack is fresh off his third All-American Athletic Conference first-team season, as he rushed for more than 1,000 yards for the third year in a row.
The 6-foot, 210-pound Mack set the USF single-season record in rushing yards in 2015, a record now broken by quarterback Quinton Flowers. He again had a big season, rushing for 1,137 yards and 15 touchdowns in his junior campaign.
He’s a threat to take it to the house on every play and routinely gains yards in chunks, evidenced by his 7.1 yards per carry this season. Mack already holds the USF record for career rushing yards and constantly puts up more than 100 yards in a game.
South Carolina’s run defense has been spotty at times, and it will have its work cut out for it with Mack.
1. Quinton Flowers – junior quarterback
While Mack put up big numbers on the ground, Flowers put up even better numbers. The USF quarterback was named the AAC offensive player of the year after he threw for 2,551 yards and 22 touchdowns, while rushing for 1,425 yards — a school record — and scoring 15 times on the ground.
Flowers makes the whole USF offense go as a true dual-threat quarterback. South Carolina has seen a number of dual-threat talents like Flowers this season (Josh Dobbs, Trevor Knight, Nick Fitzgerald), but Flowers might be the best, and that’s what makes this matchup tough for the Gamecocks.