As the Bulls continue to climb in both major national polls, expectations continue to rise. Especially for senior QB Quinton Flowers who has come in and out of Heisman discussion over the past two seasons.
Is it a long shot for Flowers to get an invite to New York, come December? Perhaps. Let’s not forget that the last time a player from a non-Power Five program won the Heisman was Ty Detmer in 1990.
History may not point in his favor, but Flowers is making a case to be in the mix.
Despite a slow start to the season, he’s leading an offense that ranks 5th in scoring (44.8 ppg), and rushing (309.2 ypg) and 10th in total offense (510.0 ypg).
While there have been games he’s left points on the field, his standings within the conference are solid. Flowers is seventh in the American Athletic Conference in rushing (79.0 ypg) and total offense (265.8), and eighth in passing yards per game (186.8).
It also helps that his team is currently ranked No.18 and No.15 in the national polls. Oh, and they’re undefeated. The Bulls are establishing a winning culture, and Flowers is a big part of that.
USF is riding a program record 10-game win streak, the second-longest active streak in the nation. If that trend continues, it will be hard for the Heisman committee to ignore.
But one thing Flowers is lacking this season is an impressive performance against a great team. Each team Flowers has faced has had their share of struggles. As noted in our most recent power rankings, USF’s Division 1 opponents: San Jose State, Illinois, Temple and ECU have a 7-17 record.
Flowers doesn’t have the competition that players in Power Five programs face. But his opponents are trying to slow him down in whatever way they can— even including trash talk.
“People try to get in his head, and it’s gonna come with the territory,” Senior C Cameron Ruff said. “It’s like, ‘He’s a great player, so let’s see if we can break him down mentally.'”
TE Mitchell Wilcox expressed a similar sentiment.
“Our offensive coaches are saying we’ve got a big target on our back right now,” Wilcox said. “Especially with Quinton, and it doesn’t really faze him. And that’s kind of the mindset we need to have, just play our game, do what we need to do.”
Flowers, who has only been flagged once for unsportsmanlike conduct this season, seems to be keeping his cool.
“He’s a man of focus and a man of drive and he does a great job staying focused on the game, staying focused on every single play and not worrying about the outside voices,” Ruff said.
The stats show that Flowers’ focus is there.
The dual-threat quarterback recently passed Tim Tebow to become the all-time quarterback rushing leader in the state of Florida’s FBS history with 2,989 yards.
Although he’s averaging only 265.8 yards a game, which is less than last season, he’s leading a more balanced attack. Five different players on the Bulls’ offense scored touchdowns in their last game against East Carolina.
The hype surrounding Flowers began in the preseason when he became the first-ever USF player to be named to four preseason national award watch lists.
Now the biggest question is: if he will be able to continue to meet and exceed increasing expectations?
If the Bulls keep winning, and the offense continues to find consistency, Flowers will simply be too difficult to look past.