July 21, 2008
ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - UCF will look to avenge its only Conference USA defeat from a year ago when it hosts East Carolina on Nov. 2 at Bright House Networks Stadium.
In last year's meeting hosted by the Pirates, the Knights jumped out to a 28-17 halftime lead. The Knights then struggled in the third quarter, getting outscored 28-3 while comitting five turnovers. The Pirates capitalized on the opportunities and turned three of those turnovers into scores. East Carolina won the game 52-38. Running back Chris Johnson sparked the third quarter romp by running back the opening kickoff 96-yards for a touchdown. He accumulated a school record for all-purpose yards with 372 (89 rushing, 89 receiving and 194 return yards).
East Carolina is returning 50 lettermen from last season's squad, including six starting offensive players. One noticeable loss for the Pirates is Johnson. Johnson was a do-it-all type of player with 1,423 rushing yards, 529 receiving yards and also led the nation with 229 all purpose yards per game. Replacing Johnson falls into the hands of senior Dominique Lindsay, who accumulated 204 rushing yards on 66 carries last season with five touchdowns. The Pirates could consider going with a dual-running back system after sophomore Jonathan Williams had 44 yards in the weather-shortened spring game.
The Pirates' defense is returning nine starters from last year's campaign, including the entire defensive line. Defensive leader C.J. Wilson comes off of a seven sack year in 2007 and proved during the spring game, with 2.5 tackles for loss, that last season's numbers weren't a fluke.
Although East Carolina's run defense and defensive line is solid, its pass defense was ranked 114th nationally last year and needs to improve. The Pirates turn to freshman Emanuel Davis and sophomore Darryl Reynolds to provide help in the secondary. Reynolds played in nine games last season and had one interception, three pass break ups and 15 total tackles. During the spring game, Davis had a team-high five tackles and Reynolds broke up a pass.
East Carolina went 8-5 last season and finished second in the C-USA East division at 6-2. The Pirates defeated Boise State in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.
In 2007, UCF recorded a 10-4 mark, claimed the C-USA Championship and participated in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
Season tickets for the 2008 UCF football campaign are currently available. To order season tickets, or to learn more abut attending games at Bright House Networks Stadium, call 407-UCF-1000. The Knights are scheduled to play six home contests this year.
For the latest news and information on the Knights, tickets or apparel, log onto www.ucfathletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. Also visit www.ucfphotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.