Dec. 4, 2010
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By Sarah Tarasewicz
UCF vs. SMU
Dec. 4, 2010
Conference USA Championship
|From Bright House Networks Stadium
Conference USA Champions
For the second time in four years, the No. 25 UCF football team claimed the Conference USA Championship crown with a 17-7 victory over SMU Saturday afternoon at Bright House Networks Stadium. The Knights became only the fifth team to have at least two C-USA titles since the league's formation in 1996 with the over the Mustangs.
After time ran out and the Black and Gold hoisted the trophy into the air, head coach George O'Leary accepted an invitation from Liberty Bowl President Willie Gregory to play in the 52nd AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn., on Friday, Dec. 31. The Knights will face a member of the SEC in the contest.
MVP - Redshirt sophomore Latavius Murray rushed for 94 yards on 20 carries with one rushing touchdown and also had two receptions for 21 yards and a touchdown. His efforts allowed him to be voted as the game's Most Valuable Player.
Quote of the Game
Quarterback Jeff Godfrey on winning the C-USA Championship...
"It feels great, but I had a lot of help from the older guys. I learned a lot from them. Coming in as a freshman, I learned a lot from Rob Calabrese and the seniors. It feels really great to win it this year as a freshman and I hope to win it again in the next three years. We set this goal at the beginning of the year and I wanted to make it happen for the seniors and for the team."
UCF now owns each of the three highest attendance figures ever for a C-USA Championship Game with today's 41,045. In 2005, UCF drew 51,978 to the Florida Citrus Bowl and UCF drew 44,128 to Bright House Networks Stadium in 2007. The next best sum is 33,048 at East Carolina in 2009.
Continuing to Win
With the win vs. SMU, UCF tied a school record with 10 victories in a single-season, having also won 10 games in both 1990 and 2007. The Knights also improved to 19-8 all-time at Bright House Networks Stadium and remain perfect at 8-0 vs. C-USA West Division teams. UCF is 5-1 against teams from Texas at their on-campus home.
Opening Up Strong
Thanks to Latavius Murray's first receiving touchdown of his career, UCF has scored a touchdown on its opening drive six times in its last eight games. Murray's touchdown also allowed the Knights to score first in 12 of their 13 games this season, with the lone exception coming against NC State on Sept. 11.
Make a Run for It
Following Latavius Murray's 36 yard touchdown run in the second half, UCF joined Wisconsin as the only two teams in the nation to have at least three players with 10 or more rushing touchdowns in 2010. Both Murray and Jeff Godfrey have 10 rushing touchdowns on the season, while Ronnie Weaver leads the Knights with 11.
First Quarter Shutout
After posting a first-quarter shutout today, UCF has yielded just 27 first quarter points this year. Since joining the FBS in 1996, UCF's record low for points allowed in any quarter for a season was 40 (2001, first quarter). Along with the Mustangs, the Knights have also shutout Tulane, Rice, Marshall, UAB, Kansas State, Buffalo and South Dakota in the first quarter this season.
It's Not You, It's Me
With his 11th and 12th pass breakups of the season against SMU, sophomore Josh Robinson moved into a tie for sixth place on the UCF single-season register and also put himself only two pass breakups away from matching the Knights' 10th best total for a career with 20.
Senior defensive end Bruce Miller tied Florida State's Peter Boulware for fourth place all-time in the state of Florida with his 33rd and 34th career sacks when he brought down SMU's Kyle Padron twice in the second half. The total is not only the fourth-best total all-time, but is also the most for a single player since 1996. Miller has seven sacks on the season for a total loss of 28 yards.
Saving a Score
Reggie Weams' interception late in the fourth quarter was his fourth of the year and tied him for eighth in UCF single-season history. The interception came with 5:07 left in the game as SMU was attempting to cut the Knights' lead down to three from the UCF 44 yard line.
Closing the Gap
Jeff Godfrey, who finished the contest 15-for-19 with 167 passing yards and a touchdown, eclipsed the 2,000-yard passing plateau against the Mustangs and now has 2,042 on the year. With the total, the rookie needs only 30 more yards to surpass Daunte Culpepper for the most passing yards by a freshman quarterback in a single-season in program history.
Good Enough for Another UCF...First Down
As a team, the Knights tied a C-USA Championship record by rushing for 11 first downs against the Mustang's defense, while Jeff Godfrey set a new C-USA Championship completion percentage record after connecting on 78.9 percent of his passes.