TAMPA, Fla. -- Sometimes all South Florida head coach Willie Taggart can do is sit and admire the abilities of quarterback Quinton Flowers.
"He's like a video game out there," Taggart said. "Some of the things he does I just can't explain."
Flowers accounted for four touchdowns as South Florida rushed for a school-record 412 yards to lift the Bulls to a 52-45 win against the No. 22 Navy Midshipmen.
The Bulls quarterback threw for 219 yards and two touchdowns and added another 176 rushing yards and two touchdowns. South Florida built a 28-0 lead in the first quarter and led by as many as 31 points before Navy scored 24 points in the fourth quarter in a mad rally to make the game appear closer than it was.
Marlon Mack added 125 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries for South Florida (6-2, 4-1) while D'Ernest Johnson rushed for a career-high 107 yards and two touchdowns as the Bulls had three 100-yard rushers for the first time in program history.
"It was a great win for our team," Taggart said. "We needed to respond well after the way we played last week. We needed to run the ball well and score early. You want Navy to have to play from behind."
Navy (5-2, 4-1) got 129 yards rushing and four rushing touchdowns from quarterback Will Worth, but could not get closer than the final score which came when he threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to Darryl Bonner as time expired. Worth also threw for 290 yards and a touchdown.
"We gave them a 28-point lead," Worth said. "It's tough to come back against a talented team like that."
Worth's two-yard run made the score 52-39 with 2:12 left in the game but South Florida recovered the onside kick which forced Navy to burn through their remaining time outs.
The Bulls finished with a school record 629 total yards.
"We ran into a buzz saw," Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "They just had so many things going. We weren't sure about Flowers' hamstring and we found out real quick. Between him, Mack and (Rodney) Adams they presented so many problems for us. We sputtered early on offense and that compounded the problems for us."
South Florida had 464 total yards and held a 42-14 lead at halftime after scoring on its first six possessions.
The Bulls took the opening drive of the game and scored on the fourth play with Flowers going 63 yards on a quarterback draw to take a 7-0 lead.
Navy tried to answer on their first drive, but the Midshipmen were stopped on a 4th-and-1 at their 49 when Worth was stopped for a two-yard loss.
South Florida made the score 14-0 on a 23-yard touchdown from Johnson with 7:25 remaining in the first quarter.
"That game was more than one play," Niumatalolo said. "You have to give them credit. They are a talented team, well coached with a good scheme. We didn't play our best game but I don't want to take credit away from them."
The Bulls scored two more times in the quarter on an 85-yard run by Mack and a 42-yard touchdown pass from Flowers to tight end Elkanah Dillon to take a 28-0 lead into the end of the quarter.
"We had to keep scoring," Flowers said. "At the end of the day, you're playing a team like Navy that can easily put up points and drive the ball. The only thing that was going through my mind was every time, just score."
Navy got on the board early in the second after Worth connected with Toneo Gulley on a 42-yard pass to set up a 4-yard touchdown run on a keeper by Worth to make the score 28-7.
Flowers accounted for two more touchdowns in the second quarter, a 1-yard run and a 16-yard pass to Marques Valdes-Scantling.
Worth added one-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter to make the score 35-14.
"They are a team that's not going to give up so kudos to them," South Florida linebacker Auggie Sanchez said. They've got a good quarterback. We got to jump out on them early and it helped us a lot."
NOTES: QB Quinton Flowers has 921 rushing yards this season, most of any quarterback in the country. He said he was limited in practice on Monday and Tuesday with a sore hamstring. ... QB Will Worth was named AAC Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for 201 yards and three touchdowns in Navy's 42-28 win against Memphis last Saturday. Worth also completed 3-of-4 passes for 85 yards and two touchdowns. ... South Florida players wore a No. 42 helmet sticker for in honor of Pat Tillman and the Tillman Foundation Scholars for its "Salute to Service" Game.