GREENVILLE, N.C. — Quinton Flowers' 93 rushing yards Saturday for USF against East Carolina give him 2,989 for his career, making him the state of Florida's all-time leading rusher among Division I-A quarterbacks.
He entered the game 51 yards shy of Florida's Tim Tebow (2,947), and he probably can put the record out of reach for the foreseeable future by season's end.
After the 61-31 romp, he praised his offensive line for a collective Bulls rushing effort that amassed a season-best 390 yards.
"Them guys, they just kept telling the coaches, 'Just hand it (off), let the running backs eat,' " Flowers said.
"And that's what you want out of an O-line, guys that want to block for your running back and do whatever it takes to keep the chains moving. That's what they gave us (Saturday), and we had no chance but to keep it on the ground and let the backs do what they do best."
Almost on top
The Bulls find themselves at a historic juncture.
They have scored at least 30 points in 22 consecutive games, one shy of the Division I-A record for the Associated Press poll era (since 1936), set by Oregon in the 2011-12 seasons.
Additionally, the Bulls' program-record win streak stands at 10 games, the second-longest current streak in I-A. Oklahoma has the longest active streak at 14; it was off this weekend.
USC had won 13 straight before losing to Washington State late Friday.
Second-ranked Clemson, which played at No. 12 Virginia Tech late Saturday, entered the weekend on a nine-game winning streak.
No close shaves … yet
If you think the Bulls' defensive effort was a bit hairy, MLB Auggie Sanchez has a response: He hopes it gets hairier.
Sanchez, who scored on a 43-yard interception return in the first half, said he and a handful of other players — including defensive linemen Bruce Hector and Deadrin Senat — have vowed not to shave until the Bulls lose or the season ends.
"So we're planning on keeping (the beards) for a while," Sanchez said.
Sanchez's pick-six was the first of his college career and his third interception overall. It occurred on a bubble screen that ricocheted off WR Quay Johnson and sailed straight up.
"(Johnson) looked up, and when he saw me, I think he started trying to run without the ball," Sanchez said. "He started bobbling it, and I took it, and then I had a lot of green grass in front of me."
Rising to the challenge
Senior WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who says he has been challenged more than once by coach Charlie Strong to step up, responded with his best game of the season. His six catches tied a season high, and his 94 yards were three more than his previous season best, at San Jose State.
He also scored on a 75-yard jet sweep.
"Coach Strong messes with him every day," Flowers said. "He comes out before practice, and I always told him, 'Valdes, you've got to be a dude.' And (Saturday) he showed it. He's one of those dudes that can play, and he came out, and I just gave him a chance. … He made big plays for us."
Odds and ends
TB D'Ernest Johnson (16 carries, 111 yards) has three consecutive 100-yard games. … USF's two interceptions, including a late one by Plant High alumnus Mazzi Wilkins, increases its nation-leading total to 14. … At 5-0, USF has matched the second-best season start in program history. The 2007 team, ranked second in the BCS standings at one point, started 6-0.
Contact Joey Knight at [email protected] Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.