But when the Bulls had only three sacks in their first three games, it was beginning to become a concern.
The Bulls broke through with seven sacks in their 31-3 rout of Florida Atlantic to tie a school record. Seven players contributed to the effort, six of them from the defensive front four.
In all, the Bulls had a dozen tackles for loss.
"Obviously, you can't talk about tonight without talking about the rush loss plays that our defense came up with -- the number of sacks we had," Coach Skip Holtz said after the Bulls held the Owls to just 72 net yards rushing.
"They have a very good football team, and they had a lot of drives moving forward, and then we get behind the chains with a sack and a loss of yardage play. I thought that was really the difference."
Safety Jon Lejiste was the only non-lineman to come up with a sack. He now leads the team with three for the season.
"There aren't many people that account for a safety in the protection," Holtz said. "Your linebackers, your defensive line, or the guys in your offensive line, the linebackers, the blockers, they block.
"You have to be careful because you can get burnt with it, but (the defensive players) are doing a great job with disguising it."
The game was the last non-conference affair before the 3-1 Bulls begin Big East play with a home game against Syracuse. The Bulls have one more non-conference game on their schedule, Nov. 27 at Miami.
--USF special teams registered its second touchdown of the season when Quenton Washington blocked an FAU punt that Armand Sanchez picked up and returned 11 yards to the end zone. The Bulls also had scored after blocking a punt in the opener against Stony Brook.
--USF's seven sacks tied a school record first set against Kentucky Wesleyan in 1997. The Bulls also had seven sacks against FAU in 2002 and against Syracuse in 2006. The 12 tackles for loss were the most since the Bulls had 16 against UCF in 2007.
--PK Maikon Bonani, who missed last season after sustaining a back injury in a fall, just may have won his job back. Bonani, who was 15 of 21 on field goals as a freshman in 2008, booted a 47-yarder in the third quarter of the win over FAU after PK Eric Schwartz had missed from 35 yards in the second quarter.
GAME BALL GOES TO: WR Dontavia Bogan -- After sitting out the previous game with an ankle injury, Bogan was back in business against FAU. He led the Bulls with five receptions for 66 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown reception on the second play of the second half. He went over the 1,000-yard mark in receiving for his career, ending the game with 1,013 yards.
KEEP AN EYE ON: RB Mo Plancher -- Plancher was limited by a shoulder injury early on, but the senior seems to have gotten over it now. He rushed for 93 yards against FAU (coach Skip Holtz later lamented yanking the senior before he got to the 100-yard mark) after posting a 79-yard effort in his previous game.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's good to have him back, because it's definitely important in our scheme and what we try to do on offense." -- QB B.J. Daniels, on Bogan's return to the lineup.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
LOOKING GOOD: USF's defense, which had only two sacks in the first three games, came through in a big way against Florida Atlantic. The Bulls tied a school record with seven sacks against the Owls, one each by DE Craig Marshall, DE David Bedford, DT Terrell McClain, DE Ryne Giddins, DT Cory Grissom, SS Jon Lejiste and DE Patrick Hampton. QB B.J. Daniels was an efficient 14-of-19 passing for 155 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions.
STILL NEEDS WORK: USF ran for only 136 yards against an FAU defense that was giving up 276 yards per game. RB Mo Plancher had 93 yards. P Justin Brockhaus-Kann averaged just over 33 yards a punt on four attempts, with one try covering only 29 yards. His long of the day was only 37 yards.
--WR Dontavia Bogan, who sat out the previous game against Western Kentucky because of an ankle injury, led the Bulls with five catches for 66 yards.
--Junior S Jerrell Young registered his first career interception when he picked off a pass and returned it 17 yards in USF's first defensive series.
--WR Sterling Griffin (ankle) was in uniform but did not play.
--Sophomore LG Mark Popek made his first start of the season.
--RB Demetris Murray, who ran for 115 yards against Western Kentucky, did not play. No reason was given for his absence.