ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Homecoming has arrived on campus as UCF will host SMU Saturday at 7 p.m. at Bright House Networks Stadium. The Knights are 22-10 all-time on Homecoming, highlighted by victories in their last three contests. The game will be presented by Lowe's.
Team Notes THE MATCHUP • UCF is 4-1 on Homecoming since the opening of Bright House Networks Stadium in 2007. This year will be the first time the Knights play the Mustangs for a Homecoming game. • The Black and Gold has scored at least 37 points during their three-game Homecoming winning streak, and has outscored opponents overall, 993-596, on Homecoming. • Every team in the C-USA East Division except UCF and East Carolina (4-1) has at least two league losses, and the Knights defeated the Pirates Oct. 4. • A win on Saturday would be UCF's 200th overall victory since the program's inception in 1979. • It will be the Knights' 200th game since joining the FBS in 1996. • The Knights carry a 3-1 lead in the series with the Mustangs. • SMU has been held to under 100 rushing yards in each of the previous three meetings, including 92 (all by current senior Zach Line) in last year's 38-17 SMU win in Dallas. • The last time SMU played in Orlando was in 2010 when UCF topped the visitors, 17-7, in the C-USA Championship Game. • The Knights lead the overall turnover battle with SMU by a plus-8 margin. • SMU moved to 4-4 overall and 3-1 in C-USA last weekend thanks to a 44-13 home win over Memphis. The Mustangs did not commit a penalty in the game, and outgained the Tigers, 487-202. • C-USA Preseason Offensive Player of the Year Zach Line has 40-career rushing TDs, and averages 4.6 yards per carry in 2012. • SMU's offensive line gave up four sacks vs. Memphis, and it has surrendered 20 altogether this year. • Junior Garrett Gilbert started at quarterback at Texas in 2010 and 2011, and for the Mustangs in 2012, he is completing 52.8 percent of his passes with 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. • The Mustangs are plus-nine in turnover ratio.
HONORING Robert Pritchard • UCF will be wearing an "RP" sticker on the back of its helmets Saturday to honor former defensive end Robert Pritchard. • A Georgia native, Pritchard suffered a rare, massive stroke on July 9. His road to recovery has been a difficult journey, and it still has a long way to go. • Pritchard, who is unable to fly yet due to doctors' orders, is scheduled to drive down with his family from Atlanta for the game, and he will be recognized at halftime. He is aiming to return to UCF as soon as possible to complete his graduate studies.
UCF LETTERMEN'S CLUB BARBECUE • The annual UCF Football Lettermen's Barbecue will take place before Saturday's game on the practice fields just south of the stadium. Members and immediate family (limit four) can attend for free, and their guests are $10. It runs from 3-6 p.m., with food served from 4-5:45 p.m.
BOWL ELIGIBLE • With the 54-17 win at Marshall, UCF became bowl eligible for the fifth time in the last eight seasons. • The Knights' last bowl appearance was the 2010 AutoZone Liberty Bowl victory over Georgia, their first bowl win in school history.
NOTES FROM THE WIN AT MARSHALL • UCF's winning streak over Marshall moved to eight games, which tied for the longest streak over a single opponent in school history. The Knights also have a current eight-game streak over Memphis after topping the Tigers Oct. 27. • With 54, UCF put up the most points against Marshall in series history. It also was the most the Herd has allowed at Joan C. Edwards Stadium, and the 37-point victory was the largest margin for a visitor in the stadium, which was built in 1991. Overall, it was the worst home loss for Marshall since 1982. • Marshall ran 98 plays for 364 yards - an average of 3.7 yards per play. Conversely, UCF had 568 yards on 62 plays - an average of 9.2 yards per play.
SCORING DIFFERENTIAL IN C-USA • UCF leads all C-USA schools by outscoring its opponents by a plus-117 margin (top six are below): School - GP - Points For - Points Against - Diff. 1) UCF - 8 - 288 - 171 - +117 2) TLS - 8 - 316 - 205 - +111 3) SMU - 8 - 254 - 213 - +41 4) HOU - 8 - 273 - 282 - -9 5) ECU - 9 - 234 - 258 - -24 6) MAR - 8 - 319 - 345 - -26
Offense Notes A DYNAMIC OFFENSE • With 568 vs. Marshall, UCF racked up its most yards of total offense since 601 vs. Memphis Sept. 22, 2007. • It was the second-most total yards under head coach George O'Leary (since 2004), and the ninth-most in the FBS era (since 1996). Dating back to 1996, it was the fourth-most yards against a FBS opponent. • Most total yards in a game in the FBS era: Opponent - Date - Total - Yards 1) Kent State - 10/4/97 - 612 2) Liberty - 10/13/01 - 602 3) Memphis - 9/22/07 - 601 4) Illinois St. - 11/2/97 - 597 5) Youngstown St. - 10/31/98 - 575 T6) Louisiana - 10/24/98 - 574 T6) E. Illinois - 9/12/98 - 574 8) Liberty - 9/28/02 - 571 9) Marshall - 10/27/12 - 568 • The Knights are averaging 421.6 yards of total offense per game in 2012. Last season it finished with a 406.8 average. • The last time UCF had back-to-back seasons in which it amassed at least 400.0 yards of total offense was 2001-02.
MASSIVE SCORING DRIVES • One emphasis going into the Marshall game was to sustain long drives and get first downs so the Herd's offensive attack would stay off the field. The plan worked as the Knights had five scoring drives of at least 75 yards. UCF won the TOP battle, 32:59-27:01. • The final UCF drive was a 15-play, 99-yard, 10:10 drive, culminating in Brynn Harvey's 21-yard touchdown run. • The last 99-yard scoring drive was vs. Southern Miss Nov. 13, 2010. It was the first drive of at least 10 minutes since a 10:40 drive at FIU Sept. 17, 2011. • This year, UCF has 21 scoring drives of at least 70 yards (19 touchdowns, two field goals), that includes two of at least 98 yards.
THE Latavius Murray SHOW • Senior running back Latavius Murray may only have nine-career starts, but he ranks first all-time at UCF with a 5.66 average per carry, third with 30 rushing touchdowns and ninth with 1,856 yards. • Top-seven longest rushes in UCF history: Player - Yards - Opponent 1) Kevin Smith - 87 (TD) - Marshall, 11/3/07 2) Latavius Murray - 83 (TD) - Memphis, 10/20/12 T3) Kevin Smith - 80 (TD) - NC State, 9/1/07 T3) Kevin Smith - 80 (TD) - SMU, 11/17/07 5) Elgin Davis - 79 (TD) - Samford, 11/15/86 6) Kevin Smith - 78 (TD) - Nevada, 12/24/05 T7) Latavius Murray - 75 (TD) - Marshall, 10/27/12 T7) Daunte Culpepper - 75 (TD) - Kent State, 10/4/97 • Murray had three rushing touchdowns at Marshall (one shy of the school record set three times), which was only the 25th time a Knight had three or more in a game. • He also had a receiving touchdown, marking his first-career game with four overall touchdowns. • Murray has produced back-to-back 100-yard rushing games for the first time, and he now has six in his career which rank tied for ninth all-time. • Murray has a streak of 282-consecutive carries without losing a fumble (Memphis in 2008), and has not fumbled at all in 149 carries (FIU in 2011). Those were the only two fumbles as a Knight since 2008. • The New York native had 192 rushing yards on 23 carries at Memphis, marking the 12th most yards by a UCF running back in single-game history. • Murray missed three games this year due to an injury, but has 538 rushing yards and a team-high eight rushing touchdowns as well as a 7.4 average per carry (single-season record is 6.44 yards per rush by Gerod Davis in 1992). Murray's career-high for rushing yards in a season is 637 in 2010.
SCOREBOARDS ARE BUSY IN 2012 • UCF has totaled at least 16 points in all eight games this season. • The last time it accomplished that feat through the first eight games was when the 2000 squad scored 17 points or more in all 11 contests. That also was the only season in school history the Knights posted at least 16 points in every single game. • UCF has scored at least 50 points in a game twice in 2012, the first time that has happened since 2001.
GODFREY BECOMING A GO-TO TARGET • In his first year as a wide receiver, junior Jeff Godfrey is feeling more and more comfortable every week. • At Marshall, he led all players with 71 receiving yards on five catches and a touchdown. • Godfrey and Rannell Hall are the only two Knights with at least one reception in all eight games. • Godfrey is second on the team with 24 receptions, trailing only J.J. Wortonwho has 33.
GIVING BORTLES TIME TO WORK • UCF has held opponents to just 12 sacks this year for an average of 1.5 per game. That ranks 35th in the nation and third in C-USA. • For a 13-game schedule, the Knights are on pace to surrender just 19-20 sacks this year. The last time UCF held opponents to less than 20 sacks in a single-season was 2002 (15). • UCF started the same five on the O-line for the first seven games this year, but gave senior transfer Phil Smith his first start of 2012 at right tackle at Marshall. Identical twins Jordan and Justin McCray, who anchored the right side of the line, moved to left guard and right guard, respectively.
Defense Notes HOLDING MARSHALL'S OFFENSE AT BAY • Marshall was kept to well below its season averages by the UCF defense in the Knights' 54-17 win Oct. 27. The Herd's previous season low for total yards was 491 vs. Ohio, but they had just 364 against the Knights. • Comparing Marshall's season averages entering the game with UCF, and what it ultimately finished with vs. the Knights: Category - Avg. Through 7 Games - vs. UCF Points Per Game - 43.1 - 17 Rushing Yards - 178.4 - 66 Passing Yards - 390.0 - 298 Total Offense - 568.4 - 364 • In the 11-game series with Marshall, the Thundering Herd has never scored over 26 points, and it was the sixth-straight time they did not post over 20 points vs. the Black and Gold defense.
PRESSURE WAS KEY • Knowing Marshall quarterback and the nation's leading passer Rakeem Cato was going to test the UCF defense, the Knights needed help from their defensive line to limit Cato's damage, especially since UCF did not have a sack in the previous two games. • Cato would post 35-for-62 numbers but had just 298 yards for a 4.8-yards-per-attempt average in UCF's 54-17 win. It was his second-lowest output in terms of yards this season (259 vs. Rice). • UCF broke out with four sacks, its second-highest total of the season (five vs. Missouri). • Although several schools' statisticians do not keep track of quarterback hurries in games, Marshall did, and the end result was UCF had 10 hurries compared to Marshall's one. Troy Davisboasted five of those pressures, and added half a sack.
BEING GREEN • Redshirt freshman defensive end Deion Green received his first-career start at Marshall, and proved he could be a threat for years to come as a Knight. • Green had 2.0 sacks for a loss of 17 yards, and 3.5 tackles for loss (20 yards). • The Edgewater High School product became the first UCF freshman since Bruce Miller in 2007 (2.0 vs. Tulsa Oct. 20) to post at least two sacks in a game. • Green now has 4.0 sacks this year, which ranks second on the team behind only Troy Daviswith 4.5. The last UCF freshman to have 4.0 sacks or more in a single-season was Miller when he had 7.0 during that 2007 campaign. Miller is now the starting fullback for the San Francisco 49ers.
A DEFENSIVE FLURRY IN THE BACKFIELD • UCF totaled 11 tackles for loss at Marshall, the most in a game since 11 at Rice Oct. 24, 2009. Along with Green's 3.5 TFLs, senior linebacker Jonathan Davishad a pair of tackles for a loss of 15 yards.
KEEPING TEAMS UNDER 100 • The Knights have held four opponents to under 100 rushing yards this year: Opponent - Attempts - Rush Yards 1) East Carolina - 29 - 64 2) at Marshall - 36 - 66 3) at Akron - 27 - 69 4) Missouri - 29 - 89 • Last season, six teams were unable to break the 100-yard barrier against the Knights.
LINEBACKERS TAKE CHARGE • Against Marshall, all three linebackers, Jonathan Davis, Ray Shipman and Terrance Plummer, tied for the team lead with nine tackles. • The trio combined for 27 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss, while Davis added a sack.
THE LOWDOWN ON ISHMAEL • Senior free safety Kemal Ishmael is eighth on the UCF all-time tackles chart with 311, and trails seventh-place Tito Rodriguez who had 321 from 1998-01. • Ishmael has 67 tackles in 2012, and is on pace for 109 during a 13-game schedule. That would give him 353, which would be good for fourth in the all-time record book. • Safety Jason Venson holds the record for most tackles by a defensive back when he racked up 322 from 2005-08. • Most career tackles by a UCF defensive back: Player - Tackles - Seasons 1) FS Jason Venson - 322 - 2005-08 2) FS Kemal Ishmael- 311 - 2009-12
Special Teams Notes JAW-DROPPING PERFORMANCES • Quincy McDuffie tied an NCAA record, and set a C-USA and UCF record with two kickoff returns for a touchdown at Marshall. It has now happened just 17 times in NCAA history (including twice on Oct. 27 as Utah's Reggie Dunn did it as well). He earned his second C-USA weekly award of the season for his effort. • The 97.5 average on two returns also set a C-USA single-game record, while his 2,365 career yards rank eighth all-time in league history, his 28.2 career average is second in C-USA and six career touchdowns is second as well. • Where McDuffie ranks on the UCF career charts: Category - Rank - Stat KO Return Yards - 1st - 2,365 KO Return TDS - 1st - 6 KO Returns - 3rd - 84 • McDuffie also ranks tied for first in single-season history (Todd Cleveland in 1994) with three returns for touchdowns this year. • McDuffie's kickoff returns for touchdowns: Opponent - Date - Yards Samford - Sept. 5, 2009 - 95 NC State - Sept. 11, 2010 - 93 at Tulane - Nov. 20, 2010 - 95 East Carolina - Oct. 4, 2012 - 99 at Marshall - Oct. 27, 2012 - 97 at Marshall - Oct. 27, 2012 - 98 • UCF and Kansas State are the only two teams to have a KO return for a TD every year since 2007.