Cincinnati was looking forward to this game since taking a 65-27 beating in Tampa last November but South Florida got put its running game to work.
Quentin Flowers and Marlon Mack ran for two touchdowns apiece and Mack became South Florida's career rushing leader as the Bulls scored the final 28 points to beat Cincinnati 45-20 on Saturday night.
Last season the Bearcats trailed the Bulls 51-3 at halftime this time they trailed 24-20 but Bearcats' freshman Ross Trail threw three interceptions before being replaced by Gunner Kiel after Johnny Ward's pick-six as the Bulls ran away with this game too.
Trail threw for one touchdown and ran for another.
Mack finished 118 yards on 20 carries, including a 49-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that moved him past Andre Hall into first on South Florida's career rushing list. Mack, a junior, has 2,755 yards rushing in 28 career games.
"That was a big hole,” Mack said. “I had to make a move on the linebacker and I did it.. I just had to make him miss. "The record feels great. I thank my O-Line for the last three years. It is a good feeling. It is very nice to get our first conference win on the road."
The Bulls’ offense rushed for five touchdowns and 226 yards.
'Mack's run was pretty impressive,” Bulls’ coach Willie Taggart said. “He pushed the L1 button like on the video game to make the move on that linebacker. He deserves everything he gets. Quentin was sharp. Once his baby girl was born, he returned to practice and was very sharp.”
There were six lead changes in the first half and South Florida led 24-20
“"We did a a good job of taking what we learned at halftime and took it to the field,” USF coach Willie Taggart said.
Flowers completed 16 of 26 passes for 196 yards and added 74 yards rushing.
Mack's first touchdown, a 4-yard run, gave USF (4-1, 1-0 American Athletic Conference) a 24-20 lead with 1:40 left in the first half.
Flowers scored on a 19-yard run with 4:29 to play in the third quarter and, fewer than 3 minutes later, Ward returned an interception 11 yards for a touchdown to make it 38-20.
Tion Greene had 98 yards rushing and a touchdown on 12 carries for Cincinnati (3-2, 0-1).
South Florida - The Bulls came into the game ranked 24th in the FBS with eight takeaways. They had four more against the Bearcats: three interceptions and a fumble recovery.
Cincinnati - Kiel, who threw 40 combined touchdown passes in 2014 and 2015, completed his first three passes before finishing 3-of-11 passing for 47 yards. Sophomore Hayden Moore started the first three games of the season, throwing for 785 yards with seven TDs and three interceptions, before injuring his ankle in a 40-16 loss to Houston on Sept. 15.
South Florida - The Bulls host East Carolina in its second conference game October 8 at noon. USF edged East Carolina 22-17 in 2015.
Cincinnati - The Bearcats travel to Connecticut on October 8 for an 11:30 am game. Cincinnati was a 37-13 winner in their last meeting.