Game Notes - Penn State Sept. 14


GO KNIGHTS
GO KNIGHTS

GO KNIGHTS

Sep 8, 2013

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By Brian Ormiston
UCFKnights.com

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - With a 2-0 record, UCF kicks off a two-game series with Penn State Saturday at 6 p.m. on Big Ten Network. It will be the Knights' first trip to Beaver Stadium since 2004.

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Game Details:
Saturday - University Park, Pa. - 6 p.m.
2013 Records:
Penn State - 2-0 Overall, 0-0 Big Ten
UCF - 2-0 Overall, 0-0 American
Stadium:
Beaver Stadium (106,572)
Series:
PSU, 2-0
Live Coverage:
740-AM - Orlando
UCF Gameday
Twitter.com/UCF_Football
Television:
Big Ten Network

Team Notes
THE MATCHUP
• In the first meeting between UCF and Penn State in 2002, the No. 24 Nittany Lions scored 17 unanswered points after halftime en route to a 27-24 win. Matt Prater was 3-for-3 in field goals, Ryan Schneider went 32-for-46 with 345 yards and Doug Gabriel caught 11 passes for 153 yards.
• Two years later and with head coach George O'Leary in his first season at UCF, the visitors dropped a 37-13 decision to give Penn State a 2-0 lead in the series.
• UCF has a 4-4 all-time record vs. teams from the Keystone State.
• After Eastern Michigan returned a fumble 11 yards to lead Penn State, 7-0, the Nittany Lions scored 45 unanswered points for a 45-7 win Sept. 7. Combined with a 23-17 neutral-site victory over Syracuse Aug. 31, PSU currently stands 2-0 on the year.
• PSU posted 574 total yards compared to EMU's 183.
• For 2013, true freshman QB Christian Hackenberg is completing 70.3 percent of his passes with three TDs and three INTs.
• Three running backs have at least 100 yards this season: Bill Belton (127), Akeel Lynch (108) and Zach Zwinak (104).
• Penn State has five sacks, but given up seven.
• PSU has converted 2-of-26 third-down opportunities.
• Next season's contest with the Nittany Lions will take place across the pond for the Croke Park Classic in Dublin, Ireland, Aug. 30, 2014.
• If the Knights can get a victory in Pennsylvania, they will move to 3-0 for the first time since 1988 and for the fourth time dating back to the first year of the program in 1979.
• Since joining its first conference in 2002 (MAC), UCF has never won two non-conference regular-season road games in the same year. It will be looking to do that Saturday at Penn State.

FACING THE BIG TEN
• The 2013 schedule serves as the second-straight season UCF travels to a Big Ten opponent, as it visited Ohio State in 2012.
• This will be UCF's eighth contest against current Big Ten teams as it has faced Nebraska (0-1), Purdue (0-2) and Wisconsin (0-1) along with PSU (0-2) and OSU (0-1) since the Knights jumped to the FBS level in 1996. It also will be the first of two trips to Pennsylvania in 2013, as UCF is slated to visit Temple in Philadelphia as well.
• Largest crowds to watch a UCF game:
Opponent - Date - Attendance
1) at Ohio State - 9/8/12 - 104,745
2) at Penn State - 8/31/02 - 103,029
3) at Penn State - 9/18/04 - 101,715

WHAT A DIFFERENCE
• UCF just visited FIU Stadium, which has an official capacity of 20,000, making it the second-smallest venue (Idaho) among full FBS programs this year.
• This week it travels to Beaver Stadium, the second-largest college stadium with a capacity of 106,572.

THE TURNOVER BATTLE
• Through two games in 2013, UCF has yet to turn the ball over, and has not committed a turnover in three straight outings dating back to last year.
• The 2009 season (Rice, Marshall, Texas) was the last time the Knights went three consecutive games where they did not have a turnover.
• UCF's last time it started a season without a turnover in the first two contests was in 2006.
• The Knights are one of nine teams in the country without having a turnover this year.

UCF-PENN STATE CONNECTIONS
• It will be a reunion between UCF head coach George O'Leary and PSU head coach Bill O'Brien, as the Nittany Lions' leader worked under O'Leary at Georgia Tech from 1995-01, including serving as the offensive coordinator in 2001.
• This will be the first time the two veteran coaches will be on opposite sidelines.
• PSU assistant head coach and WR coach Stan Hixon was Georgia Tech's WR coach from 1995-99.
• PSU offensive line coach Mac McWhorter served in the same capacity at Georgia Tech from 2000-01 and was the assistant head coach in 2001.
• Current UCF offensive line and assistant head coach Brent Key played for both O'Leary and O'Brien with the Yellow Jackets from 1997-00.
• 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.
• UCF does not have a player from Pennsylvania, and Penn State's lone student-athlete from Florida is redshirt freshman linebacker Gary Wooten (Miami).
• There are no high school connections between the two programs.

Offense Notes
A HALLMARK SHOWING
• Junior Rannell Hall recorded his first career 100-yard receiving game at FIU. He finished with four catches for 127 yards, marking the most receiving yards since A.J. Guyton had 163 at BYU Sept. 23, 2011.
• With Breshad Perriman having 113 vs. Akron, it was the first time UCF had 100-yard receivers in back-to-back games since 2010 when Jamar Newsome had 123 at Houston Nov. 5 and he then collected 100 vs. Southern Miss Nov. 13.

EFFICIENT OFFENSE
• UCF has scored a touchdown on 48 percent (10-of-21) of its offensive possessions (not counting the two small drives at the end of each victory).
• The Knights are 4-for-4 when facing third-and-two or less.
Blake Bortles is 7-for-12 on third-down passing, with all seven completions resulting in a first down.

LOTS OF OPTIONS
• At FIU, UCF traveled six running backs, including four true freshmen.
• Three of those freshmen have at least two rushing attempts, led by William Stanback who is averaging a team-best 5.8 yards per carry on 93 yards and 16 rushes.
Storm Johnson paces all running backs with 188 yards on 38 carries.
• Most rushing touchdowns in the FBS this year:
Player - School - Rush TDs
T1) Storm Johnson - UCF - 5
T1) Lache Seastrunk - Baylor - 5
T1) De'Anthony Thomas - Oregon - 5

EVEN MORE TRUE FRESHMEN AT QB
• UCF has a pair of true freshmen vying for the backup quarterback spot, and both enrolled with the Knights in the spring.
Justin Holman has already appeared in his first collegiate game, coming on at FIU and going 2-for-2 with 11 yards.
Pete DiNovo hails from Tarpon Springs north of St. Petersburg, and was the 2012 Tampa Bay Times Suncoast Player of the Year after setting the Pinellas County career record with 6,733 passing yards.

#BORTLESKOMBAT - THROUGH TWO GAMES
• Quarterback Blake Bortles has thrown 17 touchdown passes since his last interception Oct. 27, 2012.
• FBS active streaks without throwing an INT:
Player, School - Pass Attempts w/o INT
1) Blake Bortles, UCF - 217*
2) Jalen Whitlow, Kentucky - 160
* - UCF Record
• The FBS career record stands at 444 by Louisiana Tech's Colby Cameron from 2011-12.
• Bortles ranks seventh in the nation with a 203.6 passer efficiency rating.
• A junior, he finally went past the 300-yard barrier when he passed for 314 vs. Akron - his previous personal-best was 277 yards. Brett Hodges was the last UCF QB to throw for more than 300 yards when he did so vs. Marshall Nov. 1, 2009 (342).
• Bortles also tied a career-high with three touchdown passes in the victory over Akron.
• The Oviedo native has thrown a touchdown pass in 10 consecutive games (record is 28 by Ryan Schneider from 2001-03).

BORTLES THE RUNNING BACK
• At FIU, Blake Bortles rushed for his first touchdown of the season. It also was his 10th touchdown on the ground of his career.

FBS QBS IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA
• Career statistics for the FBS signal-callers in the Sunshine State:
School - Player - C-A-I - YDS - TDS
UCF - Jr. Blake Bortles - 356-549-10 - 4,545 - 35
UCF - Fr. Justin Holman - 2-2-0 - 11 - 0
UF - Jr. Jeff Driskel - 211-334-9 - 2,238 - 14
FAU - Jr. Stephen Curtis - 14-31-0 - 127 - 0
FAU - Fr. Greg Hankerson - 19-37-1 - 150 - 1
FAU - So. Jaquez Johnson - 20-34-1 - 145 - 0
FIU - So. E.J. Hilliard - 73-104-4 - 713 - 4
FIU - So. Jake Medlock - 210-359-3 - 2,657 - 14
FSU - So. Jacob Coker - 5-7-0 - 66 - 1
FSU - Fr. Jameis Winston - 25-27-0 - 356 - 4
UM - Sr. Stephen Morris - 380-663-19 - 5,190 - 31
UM - Jr. Ryan Williams* - 183-314-10 - 2,252 - 14
USF - So. Steven Bench** - 2-9-0 - 12 - 0
USF - Sr. Bobby Eveld - 98-195-8 - 1,040 - 5
USF - So. Matt Floyd - 66-130-7 - 538 - 0
* One year at Memphis - ** One year at Penn State

ACCOLADES FOR NO. 5
Blake Bortles' 2013 preseason watch lists:
-Davey O'Brien Award
-Maxwell Award (Player of the Year)
-Manning Award
-Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award
-College Football Performance Awards QB Trophy

PRODUCTION FROM EVERYONE
J.J. Worton has posted a touchdown reception in each of the first two games, while Rannell Hall leads the team with seven catches and 181 yards.
• Hall has recorded a catch in 17 straight games, and Jeff Godfrey is right behind him with a reception in 16 consecutive outings.
• UCF's starting quarterback from 2010-11, Godfrey received his first career start as a wide receiver at FIU.

Defense Notes
GIVING THE OFFENSE ROOM TO BREATHE
• The defense has opened 2013 by allowing just seven points in the first two games.
• UCF did not allow single digits in any game in 2012.
• Fewest amount of combined points given up in the first two games of a season:
Season - Points Allowed Through 2 Games
1) 2011 - 3
2) 1979 - 6
3) 2013 - 7

I LOVE A GOOD DONUT
• With the 38-0 win at FIU Sept. 6, it was UCF's first shutout since a 41-0 blanking of Memphis Oct. 29, 2011.
• It also was the Knights' first shutout of a non-conference opponent dating back to a 62-0 triumph over Charleston Southern Sept. 3, 2011.
• Meanwhile, the last time UCF posted a shutout on the road was a 12-0 win at Valdosta State Sept. 14, 1991.
• UCF's road shutouts since the first year of the program in 1979 (the victory at FIU marked the biggest road shutout in school history):
Opponent - Score - Date
at St. Leo - 21-0* - 9/22/79
at Fort Lauderdale - 14-0 - 10/20/79
at Valdosta State - 12-0 - 9/14/91
at FIU - 38-0 - 9/6/13
*-First game in program history

NO ROOM TO RUN
• FIU mustered 31 yards on the ground Sept. 6, marking the fewest rushing yards by an opponent since Memphis Nov. 27, 2010 (23), and the fewest by a non-conference opponent with head coach George O'Leary at the helm.
• Lowest amount of rushing yards under coach O'Leary (since 2004):
Opponent - Att-Yards - Date
1) Tulane - 24-(-30) - 11/21/09
2) Marshall - 16-11 - 9/17/05
3) at Memphis - 21-23 - 11/27/10
4) SMU - 21-25 - 10/4/08
5) UTEP - 19-28 11/24/07
6) at Tulane - 26-28 - 11/18/06
7) at FIU - 29-31 - 9/6/13

BREAKING THEM IN
• UCF has used 12 true or redshirt freshmen on the defensive side of the ball, including starting defensive end Luke Adams and starting cornerback Jacoby Glenn.
• In all, the Knights have had 17 defensive players make their debuts in a Black and Gold uniform in 2013.

SACK METER
• 2012 Conference USA All-Freshman Team member Deion Green has just two tackles this year. But the defensive end has made them count as he posted a sack against Akron and then at FIU.
• The Knights have another sack on the board, and it came from true freshman defensive end Blake Keller when he earned his first collegiate sack at FIU.
• The last true freshman to record a sack for UCF was linebacker Troy Gray when he accomplished the feat against Memphis Oct. 29, 2011.
• The last true freshman defensive lineman with a sack was E.J. Dunston vs. East Carolina Oct. 30, 2010.

EARLY RANKINGS
• It may be early, but through the first two contests, UCF ranks in the top two in the American in rushing, passing, total and scoring defense, including placing first in the latter three categories.

NOT ALLOWING BIG PLAYS
• Akron's longest play from scrimmage was a 23-yard rush, while FIU's biggest play came on a 20-yard pass.
• Overall, those were the only two plays the UCF defense has given up of at least 20 yards.
• Also, opponents have had just 10 passes and five rushes that went for 10 yards or more.

Special Teams Notes
STRONGER LEG
• Kickoff specialist Sean Galvin had 31 touchbacks in 88 kickoffs a year ago for a 35.2 percentage.
• In 2013, the junior has nine touchbacks in 14 kicks for a 64.3 percentage.
• The Ireland native is looking forward to not only the rest of the season, but also 2014 when the Knights visit Dublin for the Croke Park Classic vs. Penn State.

ANOTHER SOLID START
Shawn Moffitt has opened 2013 by converting his first two field-goal attempts. As a sophomore in 2012, he started the year 8-for-8.
• Highest career field-goal percentage at UCF:
Player - Years - Percentage
1) Michael Torres - 2006-07 - .771 (37-48)
2) Charlie Pierce - 1993-96 - .754 (46-61)
3) Shawn Moffitt - 2011-pres. - .680 (17-25)
4) Fred Waczewski - 1997-98 - .677 (21-31)

A SPECIAL DUO
• Opposing teams have to be on their toes every time they kick the ball away to UCF.
• Kick returner Rannell Hall ranks seventh all-time at UCF in career yards with 1,118, while punt returner J.J. Worton is fourth with 439 career yards.

CONTINUING TO IMPROVE
• Redshirt freshman Caleb Houston got his first taste of college action vs. Akron when he punted four times for a 40.0 average, including one inside the 20.
• The following week against FIU, he had four more punts, this time for a 43.8 average with a long of 51 in the win over the Panthers.
• Houston is UCF's fourth different punter in the last four years.

 

 

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