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South Florida quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) breaks free of a tackle attempt by San Jose State’s Trevon Bierria (23) during the second quarter.(Photo: D. Ross Cameron, Associated Press)

San Jose, Calif. — The start of the Charlie Strong era at South Florida didn’t quite go as scripted. Now that it’s over the coach of the 19th-ranked Bulls is actually pretty pleased that his team had to show the ability to overcome some adversity.

Quinton Flowers threw two touchdown passes and D’Ernest Johnson had two TD runs in a dominant second quarter that helped South Florida rally from an early 16-point deficit to beat San Jose State 42-22 on Saturday.

“It’s good that you have a good game like this so now guys know there’s improvement to be made,” Strong said. “We can’t get complacent. You want a game like this. It’s not as much pressure as they think it is but you have to play well to win games.”

The Bulls were held to 22 yards in the opening quarter, the defense allowed two early TD passes by Josh Love and two ineffective punts set up two scores for the Spartans.

But the game turned when Josh Black stuffed Malike Roberson for a 1-yard loss on fourth-and-1 from the South Florida 33 in the closing minute of the first quarter with San Jose State leading 16-0.

“I told the guys we can’t flinch,” Flowers said. “We’ve been down like that before. It was time where I had to step up and tell the team, ‘Let’s go.’”

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