The opening victory over Notre Dame was big, of course. But what has followed for South Florida since then has been a series of three tune-ups for Big East play, the last of which ended with the Bulls outscoring Texas-El Paso 52-24.
"Never take one for granted," said coach Skip Holtz, whose team finished the non-conference portion of its schedule with a 4-0 mark. "I mean you're excited about the win, you're excited about a lot of the positive things that happened on the field.
"But at the same time you've got a pit in your stomach because there's so many things that we've got to do better."
Whatever those things are the Bulls have to get to them right away because they have a Thursday night game coming up at Pittsburgh.
That game will serve as the Bulls' Big East opener. They have made no secret of their goal of winning a conference title and the BCS bowl berth that goes with it.
Getting an early win would be a big step in that direction because another road game -- at defending league champ Connecticut -- follows.
"Like I said, I'm excited about the win and there is a lot of positive things to build on," Holtz said. "I want to get to the film. I want to watch it, I want to get I corrected, I want to get it in the filing cabinet so we can get onto Pitt.
"We've got to improve. I know Pitt is a 2-2 football team and they lost a tough game today, but they are a good football team and they're a very talented football team and a team that beat us down here last year.
"So it will be a great challenge for us."
--USF came up four yards short of tying the school record for rushing yards in a game when the Bulls settled for 373 after RB Demetris Murray gained only one yard on the final play of the game against UTEP. The Bulls set the school record of 377 against Florida A&M in 2005.
--The 52 points against UTEP followed up the 71-point effort against Florida A&M, giving USF back-to-back games of 50 points or more for the first time in program history.
--The Bulls have outscored their first four opponents 65-7 in the first quarter. This is the fifth time in the history of the program, which started in 1997, that the Bulls have started a season 4-0.
KEEP AN EYE ON: WR Victor Marc -- The junior had only one catch for three yards, but he flashed his potential for big-play capability with a scintillating 67-yard run for a touchdown early in the second quarter. Marc lined up in the tailback position and took a pitchout from QB B.J. Daniels, breaking tackles and eluding defenders all along the way.
LOOKING GOOD: Obviously, the running game was clicking. With Daniels going for a game-high 130 backed up by the 87 of RB Darrell Scott and the 67-yard run by WR Victor Marc, the Bulls netted 373 yards on the ground. Daniels also was efficient in his passing, going 15-of-24 for 202 yards with no picks and two touchdowns. That's more than 500 yards total offense for a third straight game, the second time in school history the Bulls have done that (2008).
STILL NEEDS WORK: The defensive work against UTEP was a big disappointment. The Bulls held the Miners to just 95 yards rushing but gave up 244 yards and two touchdowns through the air. "There are a lot of things we've got to fix on defense," junior LB Sam Barrington said.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It gives us an edge going in 4-0. We got a target on our back, and we got to come in each and every week." -- Junior RB Darrell Scott, who rushed for 87 yards in the win over UTEP that kept USF unbeaten.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--Junior PK Maikon Bonani booted a 38-yard field goal in the second quarter, giving him a school record 39 for his career. Bonani, who missed the 2009 season because of a back injury sustained in a fall during his summer job, is 39-of-52 on field goals in his career and 7-of-10 this season.
--Junior QB B.J. Daniels' 202 passing yards gave him 1,071 passing yards for the year for a third straight season. He is only the third quarterback who has done that for the Bulls, joining Matt Grothe (2006-08) and Marquel Blackwell, who did in in four consecutive seasons (1999-2002).
--Junior RB Darrell Scott scored on a three-yard run in the first quarter to record his fifth touchdown of the season, all in the last three games.
--WR Terrence Mitchell sustained a head injury after a collision making a tackle on a fake punt in the fourth quarter. It was first feared Mitchell may have suffered a neck injury because he lay motionless on the field after the play and was taken off on a stretcher, but coach Skip Holtz said the concern was with Mitchell's head.
--Junior CB George Baker made his second career start and first of the season, giving senior CB Quenton Washington's injured knee more rest.
--Senior S Tyson Butler and redshirt freshman OL Tony Kibler both sat out the game with injuries.Click here to share your thoughts with other USF fans!