UCF Game Notes - Akron 8/30


GO KNIGHTS Senior safety Kemal Ishmael anchors a unit that ranked ninth in total defense last year.
GO KNIGHTS
Senior safety Kemal Ishmael anchors a unit that ranked ninth in total defense last year.
GO KNIGHTS

Aug. 24, 2012

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By Brian Ormiston
UCFAthletics.com

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - UCF's 34th season opens up at Akron Thursday, Aug. 30, at 7 p.m. on ESPN3. This year marks the 17th campaign for the Knights at the FBS level as they began as an NCAA Division III member in 1979.

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Game Details:
Thursday - Akron, Ohio - 7 p.m.
2012 Records:
Akron - 0-0 Overall, 0-0 MAC
UCF - 0-0 Overall, 0-0 C-USA
Stadium:
InfoCision Stadium - Summa Field (30,000)
Series:
Akron Leads, 5-2
Live Coverage:
740-AM, UCF Gameday and Twitter.com/UCF_Football
Television:
ESPN3

Team Notes
THE MATCH-UP
• UCF and Akron are getting together for the first time since 2004 during the Knights' final season in the MAC. Akron holds a 5-2 overall lead in the series, and was 2-1 vs. UCF in MAC play.
• The Zips are 3-0 all-time when hosting the Knights.
• First-year head coach Terry Bowden has a 4-1 record vs. UCF. While with Samford, Bowden fell to the Knights in 1990 before pulling out wins in 1991 and 1992. He also guided Auburn to wins over UCF in 1997 and 1998.
• Akron is coming off a 1-11 record, and was outscored 462-170 a year ago before Bowden took over in the offseason.
• The Zips have six quarterbacks on their roster, five of which are either freshmen or redshirt freshmen. The only signal-caller with collegiate experience is senior Dalton Williams, who was the backup quarterback at Stephen F. Austin from 2008-11.
• Sophomore RB Jawon Chisholm is back after rushing for 961 yards in 2011, as is junior WR Keith Sconiers, who had 47 catches for 639 yards and five touchdowns last year.
• Akron lost leading tackler Brian Wagner (147 tackles at linebacker), as well as DT Oren Wilson who led the team with 3.5 sacks.

BRING IT ON
• The Knights hold a 21-12 record in openers, and have won their last six. The last time they opened on the road was in 2007 (def. NC State, 25-23).
• UCF is 4-3 in the month of August, and has kicked off a season on a Thursday three other times, defeating Eastern Kentucky in 1995 and William & Mary in 1996, but falling to South Carolina in 2005.
• The earliest season-opener in UCF history was that 1996 contest against William & Mary, played on Aug. 29 (UCF won, 39-33).

A QUICK 2011 RECAP
• The Knights went 5-7 on the year with a 3-5 mark in Conference USA, posting a 5-1 record in home games. They had six selections to the C-USA All-Freshman Team, marking the most by a league school since 2008.
• The Knights averaged 406.8 yards per game, the second-most in eight years under head coach George O'Leary.
• The defense allowed 303.3 yards per game, the fewest by a UCF team since 1990.
• Of UCF's seven losses in 2011, six of them came by seven points or less as it was outscored by just a 159-128 margin in those contests.
• In all, the Knights were only outscored by a total of 50 points in their seven losses for a 7.14 average margin of defeat.

C-USA PRESEASON POLL
• Although C-USA does not conduct an official poll, the Houston Chronicle administered a C-USA preseason poll with media members from around the league, and they picked UCF to win the East Division.
C-USA East - Points
1) UCF (13 first-place votes) - 85
2) Southern Miss (2) - 70
3) Marshall - 58
4) East Carolina - 56
5) UAB - 29
6) Memphis - 17
C-USA West - Points
1) Houston (8 first-place votes) - 81
2) Tulsa (4) - 73
3) SMU (3) - 67
4) UTEP - 39
5) Rice - 35
6) Tulane - 20
• Meanwhile, the Knights are receiving votes in both the AP and USA Today preseason top 25 polls.

UCF-AKRON CONNECTIONS
• UCF does not have any student-athletes from the state of Ohio.
• Akron has 11 players from the Sunshine State, including Sr. DE C.J. James who graduated from Colonial High School and attended Colorado State.
• First-year defensive coordinator Jim Fleming served in the same role for Akron from 2004-09. His son, Will, is currently a tight end with the Zips. Last year, he had four catches for 51 yards as a redshirt sophomore.
• High school and junior-college connections:
-Milford Academy (N.Y.) - UCF Fr. DB Jeremy Davis. UA Jr. DB Anthony Holmes.

Offense Notes
TOTAL OFFENSE
• UCF's top seasons in terms of total yards per game:
Season - Average - Yards - Games
1) 1998 - 487.7 - 5,365 - 11
2) 1992 - 478.8 - 4,788 - 10
3) 1994 - 444.5 - 4,889 - 11
4) 2002 - 436.1 - 5,233 - 12
5) 1993 - 424.3 - 5,091 - 12
6) 1999 - 417.2 - 4,589 - 11
7) 1997 - 417.1 - 4,588 - 11
8) 2007 - 411.6 - 5,763 - 14
9) 2001 - 408.8 - 4,497 - 11
10) 2011 - 406.8 - 4,881 - 12
• Last year's 406.8 average was UCF's second-highest under George O'Leary (since 2004).

UCF'S SOPHOMORE SIGNAL CALLER
• Redshirting the 2010 season, quarterback Blake Bortles made a statement in his first-collegiate game as he came off the bench to go 8-for-10 for 144 yards vs. Charleston Southern Sept. 3.
• The Oviedo native would end up having the third-best season among UCF QBs all-time by posting a 153.88 passing efficiency rating in 2011.
• A member of the C-USA All-Freshman Team, Bortles' best game was at Southern Miss when he went 24-for-34 for 248 yards and two touchdowns.
• Bortles is slated to make his first-collegiate start in the season-opener at Akron.

A LOT OF SCORING RETURNS
• The Knights have eight returning student-athletes who have at least one rushing touchdown as a Knight (Storm Johnson had one while at Miami).
• UCF leads all C-USA schools with 69 total rushing touchdowns returning.
C-USA School - Rushing TDs*
1) UCF - 69
2) Rice - 42
3) SMU - 39
4) Tulsa - 33
T5) Southern Miss - 27
T5) Tulane - 27
7) Houston - 19
T8) Marshall - 13
T8) UAB - 13
10) East Carolina - 9
11) Memphis - 4
12) UTEP - 2
• Of all FBS schools, only Wisconsin has more rushing touchdowns returning this year.
School - Rushing TDs* - Overall Rush TDs
1) Wisconsin - 78 - 81
2) UCF - 69 - 70
* Only includes players with TDs with their current school
• UCF also is the only school in the country which has three players on its roster with at least 18 career rushing touchdowns. Latavius Murray leads the way with 22, Jeff Godfrey has 19 and Brynn Harvey has 18.

RB: THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER
• One of the big discussions in the preseason was the UCF running back trio of senior Latavius Murray, senior Brynn Harvey and sophomore Storm Johnson.
• The group has a combined 41 rushing touchdowns in their careers, as well as 3,639 rushing yards.
• Johnson came to UCF after spending 2010 with Miami (Fla.), but did not start a game. Harvey has 23-career starts to his credit, while Murray has six.

OL: PUSHING PEOPLE AROUND
• UCF's offensive line paved the way for 27 rushing touchdowns in 2011, marking the fourth-most in single-season history:
Season - Rushing TDs
1) 2007 - 41
T2) 2010 - 36
T2) 1990 - 36
4) 2011 - 27
• The Knights lost right guard Cliff McCray (34 starts) and right tackle Nick Pieschel (43 starts) who were seniors on the 2011 squad.
• Among all offensive linemen, including Phil Smith who started 20 games at Georgia Tech, the group has a combined 77 starts among Theo Goins (22), Jordan McCray (1), Justin McCray (5), Jordan Rae (25) and Torrian Wilson (4).
• Senior center Jordan Rae leads all linemen with 25 career starts, and he has started 17 straight games entering 2012.

TE: MAKING THE TRANSITION
• Junior Chris Martin had 12 starts on the offensive line (nine in 2011 at either right or left tackle) before moving to tight end during the 2012 preseason.
• It is a similar move Adam Nissley made during his career. Nissley, who also wore No. 88, was a right tackle in 2008 and switched to tight end that season. He eventually started 48 games, and in 2011, ranked tied for fourth all-time among UCF tight ends with 21 receptions. Nissley signed a free-agent deal with the Atlanta Falcons in 2012.

WR: WE ARE YOUNG
• A pair of seniors will be guiding the way for UCF's young wide receivers. Quincy McDuffie led the Knights with 43 receptions in 2011, and Rob Calabrese has been in Black and Gold since 2008 as he serves as both a wideout and a quarterback.
• A total of nine wide receivers are either freshmen or sophomores, led by J.J. Worton and Josh Reese. Worton set a UCF freshman record with 41 receptions a year ago, and Reese had the fifth-most with 30 catches.
• UCF's only two juniors are Jeff Godfrey and Jared Greenaway. Godfrey was the starting quarterback from 2010-11 and demonstrated his impressive athletic skills during the preseason as he adjusted to wide receiver. Greenaway transferred from South Florida and did not have a catch in 2011.
• The UCF wide receivers:
Player - Note
Sr. Rob Calabrese - Made starts at QB from 2008-10
Sr. Quincy McDuffie - Led UCF with 43 REC in 2012
Jr. Jeff Godfrey - Starting QB from 2010-11
Jr. Jared Greenaway - Joined UCF in 2011 from USF
So. Rannell Hall - All-C-USA First Team KR
So. Christopher Nahat - Attended Sacred Heart
So. Josh Reese - Averaged 15.4 yds a catch
So. J.J. Worton - Led UCF with 531 rec. yards
Fr. Drico Johnson - Hails from Orlando, Fla.
Fr. Jacques Mackeroy - Earned a redshirt last year
Fr. Taylor Oldham - Played HS at Warner Christian
Fr. Dareen Owi - Stands at 6-foot-3
Fr. Breshad Perriman - Joined UCF in the spring

Defense Notes
UCF IN THE NCAA RANKINGS
• Where UCF's defense has ranked in the NCAA in the Bright House Networks Stadium-era.
Category - `11 - `10 - `09 - `08 - `07
Rushing - 16th - 8th - 4th - 33rd - 39th
Passing - 23rd - 41st - 113th - 58th - 69th
Pass Eff. - 8th - 18th - 83rd - 18th - 27th
Total - 9th - 15th - 48th - 43rd - 49th
Scoring - 9th - 8th - 42nd - 54th - 56th

UCF IN THE C-USA RANKINGS
• Where UCF's defense has ranked in C-USA in the Bright House Networks Stadium-era.
Category - `11 - `10 - `09 - `08 - `07
Rushing - 1st - 1st - 1st - 1st - 2nd
Passing - 1st - 2nd - 9th - 4th - 4th
Pass Eff. - 2nd - 1st - 6th - 1st - 1st
Total - 1st - 1st - 1st - 2nd - 3rd
Scoring - 1st - 1st - 2nd - 2nd - 2nd
• The Knights have ranked in the top-five in all five major defensive categories in four of the last five seasons.
• UCF is the only school in the country which has led its respective conference in rushing defense every year from 2008-11.

STOPPING THE RUN
• UCF and Alabama are the only schools to rank in the FBS top 20 in rushing defense each of the last three seasons.
• The defense did not allow Memphis (23), SMU (97) and Georgia (82) to record at least 100 rushing yards in the final three games in 2010.
• Charleston Southern (49) and Boston College (57) then also failed to reach the 100-yard mark to start 2011. A total of six schools rushed for less than 100 yards vs. the Knights a year ago.

ONE OF THREE
• UCF was one of just three schools in 2011 to rank in the top 10 in the country in total, scoring and passing efficiency defense, joining Alabama and LSU.
• UCF, Alabama and LSU are the only schools to rank in the FBS top 10 in scoring, total and passing efficiency defense in 2011.

LINEBACKERS EARN EXPERIENCE IN 2011
• The linebacker corps has once again been a focal point in the preseason, but the difference in 2012 is that the projected starters now have much-needed experience to their credit.
• Senior Jonathan Davis switched over from running back in 2011 and ended up leading the Knights with 10.5 tackles for loss. Classmate Ray Shipman spent his first full season as a LB last year after he spent two seasons on the Florida basketball team.
• Sophomores Troy Gray and Terrance Plummer combined for 10 starts as true freshmen, with Plummer looking to take the spot of middle linebacker Josh Linam, who joined the San Diego Chargers as a free agent.

A TALENTED SECONDARY
• Boasting 244-career tackles since his true-freshman season, senior free safety Kemal Ishmael is on pace to enter UCF's top-10 for total tackles, as Cory Hogue (2006-09) claims 10th with 279 tackles.
• Ishmael has finished each season with at least 70 tackles (70 in 2009, 93 in 2010 and a team-high 81 in 2011). He averages just over six tackles per game.
• Sophomore strong safety Clayton Geathers was a member of the C-USA All-Freshman Team, posting six break-ups and 67 tackles.
• Over at the corners, Josh Robinson was selected in the third round by the Minnesota Vikings, and UCF has been looking to fill that spot. Senior cornerback A.J. Bouye started the first seven games as a junior before an injury kept him on the bench. He had two picks and three break-ups before the injury. Then-freshman Brandon Alexander stepped in and recorded five break-ups and 43 tackles, while sophomore Jordan Ozerities was injured in 2011 after being on the 2010 C-USA All-Freshman Team.

A LOOK AT THE LINE
• Junior defensive tackle Victor Gray moved over to defensive end in the spring, and combined with senior Troy Davis on the other side, the duo has 13.0 sacks in their careers.
• Up the middle, tackles E.J. Dunston, Josh Wofford, Jose Jose, Thomas Niles and Andrew Rice have been battling for starting jobs. In all, the returning defensive line has 52-career starts.

THIRD-DOWN DOMINANCE
• Opponents were successful on just 31.55 percent of their third-down conversions in 2011, which ranked as the third-best showing by a Knights' defense, and also ninth in the country last year.
• Lowest third-down conversion percentages in UCF history:
Season - Percentage
1) 1985 - 30.9
2) 1998 - 31.0
3) 2011 - 31.5
• Charleston Southern, Boston College, Marshall, SMU, Memphis, Southern Miss and East Carolina all managed three or less third-down conversions.

Special Teams Notes
ONE OF THE BEST
• From 2008-10, UCF finished the season ranked in the top three in the country in kickoff returns, including first in 2010. In 2011, the Knights were at it again.
• UCF's 2011 week-by-week ranking:
After Week... - FBS Ranking - Average
One (CSU) - 102nd - 13.00
Two (B.C.) - 110th - 16.67
Three (FIU) - T-105th - 18.17
Four (BYU) - 113th - 17.86
Five (Bye) - 112nd - 17.86
Six (MAR) - 104th - 19.30
Seven (SMU) - 100th - 19.57
Eight (UAB) - 32nd - 23.63
Nine (MEM) - 29th - 23.75
10 (TULSA) - 17th - 24.88
11 (USM) - 4th - 26.74
12 (ECU) - 1st - 27.53
13 (UTEP) - 3rd - 26.93

"SPEEDY" IN CHARGE
• True freshman and All-C-USA First Team member Rannell Hall averaged 31.0 yards on 23 kickoff returns, with his first return coming in UCF's sixth game of the year at SMU.
• The Miami native ranked fifth nationally in kickoff returns, as his 31.0 average ranked second in UCF single-season history. Hall amassed at least 138 yards in returns in four different games in 2011.

THE KICKING GAME
• UCF lost punter David Bohner and kicker Nick Cattoi, so the preseason has been a big test for the specialists. Senior Jamie Boyle began booting punts at least 50 yards in the spring, while sophomores Sean Galvin, Shawn Moffitt and Rodrigo Quirarte are vying for the starting kicking spot.

 

 

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