UCF Game Notes - Penn State


GO KNIGHTS
GO KNIGHTS

GO KNIGHTS
Aug. 25, 2014

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By Brian Ormiston
UCFKnights.com

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - UCF's 2014 opener may be the most anticipated in school history, not only because the Knights are coming off an incredible 12-1 season, but they will be battling Penn State in the Croke Park Classic in Dublin Saturday, Aug. 30.

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Game Details:
Saturday - Dublin, Ireland - 8:30 a.m. ET/1:30 p.m. IST
2013 Records:
Penn State - 7-5 Overall, 4-4 Big Ten
UCF - 12-1 Overall, 8-0 American
Stadium:
Croke Park
Series:
Penn State, 2-1
Live Coverage:
740-AM - Orlando
UCF Gameday
Twitter.com/UCF_Football
Television:
ESPN2

Team Notes
THE MATCHUP
• This will be the 36th season of UCF football. The Knights are entering their 19th year at the FBS level.
• UCF is 23-12 overall in season-openers, and has won its last eight.
• The Knights are 6-3 all-time in the month of August.
• This will be the second NCAA game held at Croke Park (1996 - Notre Dame def. Navy).
• Penn State captured victories on its home field in 2002 and 2004, however UCF produced a 34-31 win at PSU last season.
• The Knights never trailed in 2013, with quarterback Blake Bortles going 20-for-27 with 288 yards and three touchdowns. PSU's counterpart, Christian Hackenberg, went 21-for-28 with 262 yards and a touchdown.
• The 2004 meeting between the Knights and Nittany Lions was during George O'Leary's first year at UCF.
• Closing out 2013 with a win at Wisconsin, Penn State went 7-5 overall and 4-4 in the Big Ten.
• Just a true freshman quarterback, Christian Hackenberg had a 58.9 completion percentage with 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions a year ago. Top target Allen Robinson who had 40 percent of the team's receptions moved on to the NFL.
• Seniors Zach Zwinak and Bill Belton combined for 1,792 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns in 2013.
• The Nittany Lions lost DT DaQuan Jones (11.5 TFL), but return DE C.J. Olaniyan (11 TFL) and CB Jordan Lucas (13 break-ups, 3 INT, 16 passes defended).

FAN EVENTS IN BAILE ÁTH CLIATH
• From week-long excursions to weekend trips, UCF fans will have a lot to do in Ireland. In Dublin, free events will include a UCF Pep Rally Friday at 4 p.m. at Meeting House Square, and a tailgate party Saturday at 10 a.m. at The Old Storehouse.

WHEN IT BEGAN
• The Croke Park Classic was announced on July 14, 2013, with both athletic directors and UCF head coach George O'Leary in attendance at Croke Park before the GAA Leinster Football Finals.
• Members of the GAA would be at Beaver Stadium for last year's UCF-PSU meeting, as well as in Orlando for UCF's win over South Florida.

WHAT THEY'RE PLAYING FOR
• The Croke Park Classic victor will receive the Dan Rooney Trophy, named after the chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers and U.S. Ambassador to Ireland from 2009-12.
• The trophy is a replica football made of bog yew and Pittsburgh steel, with the yew coming from what remains of forests that grew 4,200 years ago and lie deep in the Irish midlands. The steel is left from the construction of the Steelers' Heinz Field.

STAYING HOT
• With nine in a row, UCF has the third-longest active winning streak in the FBS:
School - Consecutive Wins
1) Florida State - 16
2) Michigan State - 10
3) UCF - 9
• From 2010-13, UCF has 38 overall wins. That ranks in a tie for 14th in the nation, while the 15 losses are tied for the 13th fewest.

NOT MANY AS GOOD AS THIS
• Only UCF, Iowa State, North Carolina and USC open 2014 with their first six games against teams with winning records from 2013.
• UCF also joins Hawaii, North Carolina, UNLV and Tennessee as schools with four non-conference opponents that had winning records in 2013 (not including independent programs).
• Schools facing non-conference teams with a combined 37 wins or more in 2013:
School - 2013 Record of Non-Conf. Opponents
1) Wyoming - 40-12
2) Louisiana Tech - 38-14
T3) UCF - 37-15
T3) Hawaii - 37-27 (Five Opponents)
T3) UNLV - 37-28 (Five Opponents)
• Highest combined winning percentage of non-conference opponents by league:
Conference - Combined 2013 Winning Pct. of Non-Conf. Opponents
1) American - .569
2) Big 12 - .554
4) Mountain West - .533

HIGH ON THE CHART
• UCF was the first team outside the AP Preseason Top 25, placing No. 26. The Knights received more points than 40 schools in the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC.

UCF-PENN STATE CONNECTIONS
• UCF OC Charlie Taaffe: Maryland OC 2001-05
PSU HC James Franklin: Maryland WR 2000-04
PSU OC John Donovan: MD RECRUIT/RB 2001-05
• UCF HC George O'Leary: Georgia Tech HC 1995-01
UCF OL Brent Key: Georgia Tech player 1997-00
PSU OC John Donovan: Georgia Tech OGA 1998-00
• UCF ST Mike Buscemi: North Carolina GA 2010-11
UCF TE/HB Allen Mogridge: UNC TE/ST 2009-11
PSU WR/ASST ST John Gattis: UNC GA 2010
• UCF TE/HB Allen Mogridge: Temple OL 2013
PSU CB Terry M. Smith: Temple WR 2013
• UCF's first head football coach, Don Jonas, was a running back at Penn State and was selected by Philadelphia in the 1961 NFL Draft. He coached the Knights from 1979-81.
• There are no high school connections.

Offense Notes
BY COMPARISON
• With all of that talent back at wide receiver, it comes as no surprise that UCF's group combines for some of the best production in the nation.
• Most career receptions returning among the FBS (includes only wide receivers and transfers):
School - Career Receptions
1) Washington State - 546
2) UCF - 495
3) Texas-San Antonio - 416
4) East Carolina - 403
5) Akron - 371
• Most career receiving yards returning among the FBS (includes only wide receivers and transfers):
School - Career Receiving Yards
1) UCF - 7,164
2) Washington State - 6,204
3) Texas-San Antonio - 4,927
4) East Carolina - 4,549
5) Akron - 4,449
• Most career receiving touchdowns returning among the FBS (includes only wide receivers and transfers):
School - Career Receiving TDs
1) Washington State - 47
2) East Carolina - 42
3) UCF - 39
4) Boise State - 36
5) UNLV - 34

ACTIVELY STREAKING
Rannell Hall enters his senior year with a reception in 28 straight games, good for a tie for sixth on the UCF all-time chart.
• Consecutive games with a reception in the FBS (active players only):
Player - School - Games
1) Matt Miller - Boise State - 39
2) Justin Hardy - East Carolina - 36
T3) Tyler Lockett - Kansas State - 29
T3) Rashad Greene - Florida State - 29
T5) Rannell Hall - UCF - 28
T5) Jamison Crowder - Duke - 28
T5) Quinton Dunbar - Florida - 28
T5) Jordan Leslie - BYU - 28
9) D.J. Foster - Arizona State - 27

THE QB BATTLE
• A little more than a week into preseason camp, redshirt freshman Pete DiNovo was named the No. 1 quarterback.
• If the Tarpon Springs, Fla., native starts vs. PSU, he would be the first UCF freshman quarterback to start since Jeff Godfrey in 2010, and the first to start a season-opener since Daunte Culpepper in 1995.

AN IMPRESSIVE BUNCH
• With the ninth best group of receivers in the nation according to Phil Steele, UCF has weapons all over the field.
• The Knights only lost Jeff Godfrey from last year, but UAB transfer Jackie Williams joins the mix for 2014.
Rannell Hall and Breshad Perriman were on the Biletnikoff Award Watch List (best receiver in the nation).
• The UCF wide receiving corps:
Player - Career REC - Career YDS - Career TDS
Sr. Rannell Hall - 96 - 1,551 - 9
Jr. Breshad Perriman - 65 - 1,199 - 7
Sr. Josh Reese - 62 - 835 - 3
Sr. Jackie Williams* - 140 - 1,733 - 4
Sr. J.J. Worton - 132 - 1,846 - 16
Totals - 495 - 7,164 - 39
* - At UAB
• Chipping in through the air also will be tight ends Justin Tukes (25-241-3 TD) and Kevin Miller (2-18-0 TD), while running back William Stanback had 15 catches for 186 yards and a score a year ago.

ONE OF A KIND
William Stanback busted out as a true freshman running back in 2013.
• His 105 carries were the 10th most among all freshmen in UCF history (including quarterbacks Jeff Godfrey and Daunte Culpepper), while his 443 yards also put him in 10th and his six touchdowns ranked sixth.
• In the preseason, he was selected as a candidate for this year's Doak Walker Award, which is handed out to the nation's premier running back.

THE MEN UP FRONT
• Senior Torrian Wilson anchors the offensive line at left tackle in 2014, with junior Joey Grant entering his second season as the starting center.
• Both Wilson (Outland - best interior lineman) and Grant (Rimington - best center) were on prestigious watch lists in the preseason.

Defense Notes
ALL OF O'LEARY'S MEN
• UCF had 30 defensive players see action in at least one game in 2013 (including now offensive lineman Jason Rae). Of that group, 24 are back for 2014 highlighted by nine consistent starters.
• In all, 87.4 percent of those who started in one game or more on defense returns this year.
• Combined games played and games started of those returning and lost for 2014:
Returning or Lost - 2013 GP - 2013 Starts
Returning (24 Players) - 265 - 125
Lost (6 Players) - 34 - 18
Returning or Lost - Career GP - Career Starts
Returning (24 Players) - 457 - 201
Lost (6 Players) - 86 - 37

SOLID SECONDARY
• The Knights' secondary has combined for 97 career starts, as all four primary starters are back from a year ago in safeties Clayton Geathers and Brandon Alexander and corners Jordan Ozerities and Jacoby Glenn.
• Most career starts returning in the secondary for 2014:
School - Career Starts - Scheme
1) UTSA - 133 - 4-2-5
2) Virginia - 112 - 4-3
3) Colorado - 111 - Multiple/4-3
4) Ole Miss - 108 - Multiple
5) Arizona - 105 - 3-3-5
T6) UCF - 97 - Multiple/4-3
T6) Arkansas State - 97 - 4-3

CLAYTON IN CHARGE
• Senior strong safety Clayton Geathers saw time in one game as a true freshman in 2010 before suffering an injury. Since then, he has started all 39 games from 2011-13.
• With 40 career games played, Geathers leads the way among all returners on the roster:
Player - Games Played
SS Clayton Geathers - 40
LB Troy Gray - 39
WR Rannell Hall - 39
WR J.J. Worton - 39
LB Terrance Plummer - 38
WR Josh Reese - 38
FS Brandon Alexander - 37
OL Torrian Wilson - 36
• If Geathers plays in 13 games in 2014, he will tie the UCF record of 53 career games played set by Jeff Godfrey, Kemal Ishmael, Bruce Miller and David Williams.

RETURNING TACKLERS
• Most career tackles among current UCF Knights:
Player - Career Tackles
SS Clayton Geathers - 286
LB Terrance Plummer - 235
FS Brandon Alexander - 168
LB Troy Gray - 125

TIME FOR TERRANCE
• A 2013 All-American Athletic Conference First Team member and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Defensive MVP, Terrance Plummer has a lot of attention on him entering his senior year.
• Plummer was on the following preseason National College Football Awards Association watch lists:
-Walter Camp Award (player of the year)
-Rotary Lombardi Award (lineman of the year)
-Butkus Award (best linebacker)
-Bednark Award (defensive player of the year)

FIND THE END ZONE THIS YEAR
• UCF's defense failed to produce a touchdown last season (which did not affect the Knights due to their high-powered offense). That ended a streak of six straight seasons in which it registered a TD.

FAMILIAR MINDS
• UCF does not have a "new" assistant coach on its staff this year, but it did make a couple changes in the offseason.
• Linebackers coach Tyson Summers will remain in charge of that position group, but was elevated to defensive coordinator. He was the interim D.C. for the Fiesta Bowl and during the spring. This marks his first full season at the coordinator level.
Allen Mogridge is back for his second season at UCF. He was the Knights' special teams and tight ends coach in 2012, went to Temple in 2013 and was with UCF's defensive ends in the spring. He is now working with the tight ends and H-backs.
Mike Buscemi was with UCF's special teams and tight ends a year ago, but will solely focus on special teams this season.

Special Teams Notes
DREAM COME TRUE
• Senior kickoff specialist Sean Galvin will be fulfilling a dream when he takes the pitch vs. Penn State.
• A native of Cork, Ireland, Galvin did it all as a youngster, playing Gaelic football, hurling, rugby and soccer, all while thinking about playing at Croke Park, the home of the Gaelic Athletic Association. He will get his chance Aug. 30.

I KNOW YOU
• UCF has all of its key pieces from special teams back for 2014:
Player - Note
P Caleb Houston - `13 Ray Guy Award candidate
K Shawn Moffitt - `13 Lou Groza semifinals
KO Specialist Sean Galvin - Kicked off in `12 and `13
KR Rannell Hall - 4th in career KR yds at UCF
KR William Stanback - 11 KR and 218 yds in `13
PR J.J. Worton - 4th in career PR yds at UCF
Holder J.J. Worton - Starting holder in `13
SN Scott Teal - Starting SN in `12 and `13

KEEP IT ROLLING
• Senior Shawn Moffitt will have the chance this year to become UCF's all-time leading scorer. He sits in seventh on the career points chart with 233, as Charlie Pierce leads the way with 297.
• Moffitt is seventh in field goals made with 36 (Ed O'Brien and Matt Prater are first with 50) and third in extra points made with 125 (Pierce is first with 159).

 

 

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