ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - A lot will be on the line this Saturday when UCF travels to Oklahoma to rumble with Tulsa in a battle of C-USA division leaders at 12 p.m. ET on FOX Sports Networks. Both teams boast 8-2 overall records and 6-0 marks in league play.
Team Notes THE MATCHUP UCF Climbs Toward the Top 25
A win for the Knights, or a loss by East Carolina at Tulane, will clinch the East Division for UCF. Since joining the league in 2005, UCF has won the C-USA East three times (2005, 2007, 2010), while Southern Miss and East Carolina have won it twice.
Tulsa can also win its division with a victory or a loss by SMU at Rice. The Golden Hurricane and Houston have each won the West three times.
UCF can host the C-USA Championship Game (Dec. 1) with a win. There is a situation that if Tulsa wins Saturday it still may not host. It could win out, UCF loses its final two games, ECU wins out and hosting duties come down to who ranks higher in the BCS. Tulsa and ECU would both have 7-1 league records, and they did not play each other in the regular season.
The game will mark the latest that the leaders of both divisions get together since C-USA went to divisional play in 2005 (and the latest where both had undefeated league records).
This Saturday also will be one of just two league games in the FBS for the rest of the regular season in which both teams are undefeated in conference play. Louisiana Tech and Utah State are both 4-0 in the WAC and they play each other Saturday as well.
Tulsa claims a 3-2 lead in the series, including defeating UCF in its only trip to Oklahoma in 2008.
The 2011 meeting was the closest in the five-game series, as the Golden Hurricane broke a 17-17 tie with 8:23 left in the fourth quarter for a 24-17 win. It was the only time that the winner scored less than 40 points.
UCF and Tulsa met in the 2005 and 2007 C-USA Championship Games with the Knights claiming a win in the `07 contest.
Thanks to a seven-game winning streak earlier this year, Tulsa is 8-2 and 6-0 in C-USA. It is coming off a 41-7 win at Houston where it amassed 350 yards rushing.
The Golden Hurricane rank first in C-USA in rushing offense and rushing defense, as well as kickoff returns, punt returns and sacks.
Junior QB Cody Green is completing 53.5 percent of his passes with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Ja'Terian Douglas (808), Trey Watts (655) and Alex Singleton (572) all have over 500 rushing yards, with Singleton ranking among the national leaders with 18 rushing touchdowns.
Linebacker DeAundre Brown has eight sacks and 14.0 TFLs.
GOING FOR SEVEN
If the Knights can pull out a victory at Tulsa, it would tie for the school's longest winning streak.
Longest winning streaks in school history: Season(s) - Wins - Dates
1) 2007 - 7 - 10/20-12/1
T2) 2012 - 6 - 10/4-current
T2) 1990 - 6 - 10/27-12/1
Across the nation, the Knights are currently tied for the seventh-longest active winning streak.
A FORCE IN CONFERENCE PLAY
UCF has started 6-0 in conference action for the first time since joining a league in 2002 (MAC).
The Knights have won seven league games three times in their history, but never eight.
THE BEST CLASS?
UCF has a total of 20 seniors on the squad this year, and they could end their careers by going out as the top senior class in school history.
Although three members of this year's class played for UCF in 2008 (Rob Calabrese, Brynn Harvey, Latavius Murray), the last four seasons have produced a combined record of 32-17 from 2009-12.
Best combined records over a four-year stretch: Seasons - Record - Win Percentage
1) 1987-90 - 32-16 - .667
2) 1990-93 - 31-16 - .660
3) 2009-12 - 32-17 - .653
4) 1989-92 - 29-16 - .644
T5) 1991-94 - 28-16 - .636
T5) 1992-95 - 28-16 - .636
Most victories over a four-year stretch: Seasons - Record - Win Percentage
1) 2007-10 - 33-20 - .623
T2) 2009-12 - 32-17 - .653
T2) 1987-90 - 32-16 - .667
LIMITING THE PENALTIES
Fewest penalties per game in the FBS: School - Average - W-L Record
1) Kansas State - 3.20 - 10-0
T2) Air Force - 3.40 - 5-5
T2) Navy - 3.40 - 6-4
4) Kansas - 3.60 - 1-9
T5) UCF - 3.80 - 8-2
T5) Wisconsin - 3.80 - 7-3
Offense Notes REACHING THE 30-POINT MARK
During UCF's six-game winning streak, it has scored at least 30 points in every contest. The last time it registered six-straight games with 30 points or more was during the seven-game winning streak of 2007.
The only other time besides 2007 and 2012 that the Knights had a stretch of six-consecutive games with at least 30 points was in 1987.
AN ADDED WEAPON IN 2012
In 10 games off the bench last year, Blake Bortles was credited with only 21 rushing attempts for a total of four yards and one touchdown, including eight sacks for 47 yards. His longest rush was 11 yards.
As a sophomore in 2012, Bortles has 53 carries for 132 yards and six touchdowns, highlighted by a long of 33 yards. Combined in the last three games, he has racked up 95 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 23 attempts.
Take away the 14 sacks for 93 yards and Bortles boasts 225 yards on 39 carries for a 5.8 average.
Among those 39 carries, the Oviedo native picked up the first down 17 times with 12 of them coming on third down.
Bortles has nine rushes this year that went for 10 yards or more.
TD-INT RATIO IMPROVING
UCF quarterbacks have combined for 20 passing touchdowns and just seven interceptions this year.
Best TD-INT ratio in school history: Season - Touchdowns - Interceptions - Ratio
1) 1998 - 29 - 7 - 4.14
2) 2012 - 20 - 7 - 2.86
3) 2005 - 24 - 9 - 2.67
4) 1997 - 26 - 10 - 2.60
Latavius Murray has been torching defenses during his senior year, especially in the last four games where he has 620 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. He also has one rushing TD or more in each of the last five contests.
The New York native has posted at least 100 rushing yards in four-straight games.
Consecutive 100-yard rushing games at UCF: Player - Games - Season
1) Kevin Smith - 8 - 2007
2) Kevin Smith - 5 - 2007
T3) Latavius Murray - 4 - 2012
T3) Marquette Smith - 4 - 1994-95
Murray has eight-career 100-yard rushing games, which are tied for the fifth-most in UCF history.
He also owns a streak of 328-consecutive carries without losing a fumble (Memphis in 2008), and has not fumbled at all in 205 carries (FIU in 2011). Those were the only two fumbles as a Knight since 2008.
In 41 games, Murray has 33 career rushing touchdowns to rank third all-time. In 2012 alone, he has 11 which are tied for seventh on the single-season chart. And he has accomplished that feat even though he missed three games with an injury.
UCF single-season record for average yards per carry: Player - Average - Season
1) Latavius Murray - 6.81 (810/119) - 2012
2) Gerod Davis - 6.44 (1,179/183) - 1992
3) Aaron Sam - 6.00 (648/108) - 1986
Meanwhile, Murray's 5.69 career average currently ranks first on the UCF all-time chart.
TAKE WHAT YOU CAN GET
Senior running back Latavius Murray has carried the ball 119 times this season and has only been tackled behind the line of scrimmage nine times.
Seven of those nine rushes have been for just a loss of one yard. In all, Murray at least gets to the line of scrimmage 92 percent of the time.
SURPRISING GO-TO GUYS
Rannell Hall had just four receptions as a freshman in 2011 while junior Jeff Godfrey was the starting quarterback for the Knights last year. This season, they are the only two players who have a catch in all 10 games.
The duo ranks only behind J.J. Worton (35) in receptions as Godfrey (no starts) has 29 for 315 yards and Hall (five starts) claims 25 receptions for 470 yards.
Hall currently has an 18.8 average gain per reception, and that would rank fifth on the single-season register.
Yards per reception - UCF single-season history (minimum 25 catches): Player - Average - Season
1) Bernard Ford - 21.8 (30/653) - 1986
2) Mark Whittemore - 21.7 (31/674) - 1993
3) David Rhodes - 19.6 (51/1,002) - 1992
4) Jimmy Fryzel - 19.4 (58/1,126) - 2002
5) Rannell Hall - 18.8 (25/470) - 2012
Defense Notes NOTHING IN THE AIR
UTEP gained just 79 yards on five completions vs. the UCF defense Nov. 10. It was the 14th time dating back to 2007 that an opponent had less than 130 yards in the air.
Giving up less than 130 passing yards since the opening of Bright House Networks Stadium in 2007: Opponent - Passing Yards - Date
vs. MSU - 39 - 12/29/07
CSU - 70 - 9/3/11
SCSU - 74 - 8/30/08
at UTEP - 79 - 11/10/12
Tulane - 80 - 11/21/09
B.C. - 84 - 9/10/11
at MAR - 84 - 11/15/08
MAR - 87 - 10/8/11
at Miami - 88 - 10/11/08
Memphis - 101 - 10/29/11
S. Dakota - 104 - 9/4/10
NC State - 105 - 9/11/10
at Memphis - 121 - 10/20/12
at FIU - 127 - 9/17/11
The five completions were the fewest by an opponent since Buffalo had five Oct. 2, 2004. They also tied for the second-fewest since the Knights joined the FBS in 1996 (Virginia Tech had two in 2000).
A week earlier, SMU entered the game by averaging 267.2 passing yards per game, but ended with less than half that at 133.
A total of six teams this year have failed to rack up more than 165 yards through the air.
Meanwhile, the UCF defense has not allowed a team to throw for over 300 yards all season. The last time the Knights went an entire year without giving up at least 300 passing yards in a game was 2001.
Fewest passing yards given up in 2012: Opponent - Passing Yards - C-A-INT-TD
1) at UTEP - 79 - 5-11-1-0
2) at Memphis - 121 - 20-28-1-0
3) SMU - 133 - 16-29-0-0
4) FIU - 154 - 13-29-0-1
5) at Ohio State - 155 - 18-24-1-1
6) Southern Miss - 165 - 14-27-2-0
THE BEAST UP FRONT
In the 31-24 win at UTEP, junior defensive tackle E.J. Dunston set a career-high with seven tackles and tied a school record with two forced fumbles in the game, a feat that has only been done 11 times (Troy Davis did it earlier this year vs. FIU).
For the year, Dunston has 30 tackles and three forced fumbles. He entered the season without a forced fumble to his credit.
Dunston and Davis both rank tied for eighth in single-season history with three forced fumbles (the record is five set three times).
UCF forced three fumbles at UTEP (two by E.J. Dunston, one by Clayton Geathers), which were the most since causing three vs. Tulane Nov. 21, 2009.
The Knights recovered all three of those fumbles, giving them 12 on the season.
Most fumble recoveries in the FBS era (since 1996): Season - Fumbles - Recoveries
1) 2009 - 31 - 16
2) 2001 - 31 - 15
3) 2002 - 32 - 14
T4) 2000 - 28 - 13
T4) 2005 - 21 - 13
6) 2012 - 19 - 12
SHIP SETTING SAIL
Last year might have been Ray Shipman's first full year on the gridiron after spending two years on Florida's basketball team, but the experience helped set up a successful 2012 so far.
Shipman had 35 tackles in nine games and two starts in 2011. However, as a senior in 2012, he has 73 tackles while starting all 10 games.
That total includes a career-high 14 tackles at UTEP.
KEEPING TEAMS QUIET IN THE FIRST 15 MINUTES
The UCF defense has surrendered just 34 points in the first quarter. That includes holding five teams scoreless in the opening 15 minutes.
By comparison, the third is the next best quarter at 52 points.