Dec. 13, 2013
UCF Athletics Social Media Directory
By Brian Ormiston
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - The hard work, long hours and endless preparation has paid off for No. 15 UCF as it earned the American Athletic Conference title and its first trip to a BCS bowl where it will face No. 6 Baylor in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Jan. 1 at 8:30 p.m. in Glendale, Ariz.
Wednesday, Jan. 1 - Glendale, Ariz. - 8:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. MT
No. 6 Baylor - 11-1 Overall, 8-1 Big 12
No. 15 UCF - 11-1 Overall, 8-0 American
University of Phoenix Stadium (73,000)
740-AM - Orlando
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Ticket Information
-Tickets are on sale for fans looking to sit in great UCF sections at the University of Phoenix Stadium.
-Call the UCF Ticket Office at 407-UCF-1000.
-Visit UCF's Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Ticket Central Page.
-"Be an Early Bird" - 2014 season tickets are on sale now.
This will be the first meeting between UCF and Baylor.
The Knights have battled at least one school from Texas every season since 2005.
UCF is 0-5 against current teams from the Big 12 (Texas 0-2, West Virginia 0-2, Kansas State 0-2). It entered 2013 without a win vs. the Big Ten before it toppled Penn State Sept. 14.
UCF claims a 17-9 record vs. teams from the Lone Star State.
The Knights are 2-3 all-time in bowl games, while the Bears are 10-9, and both schools have won their last two bowl appearances.
Baylor has reached a bowl game three straight seasons after going from 1995-09 without a bowl berth.
The 2013 Big 12 champion, Baylor stands at 11-1 with its lone loss coming in a 49-17 defeat at Oklahoma State.
BU ranks first in the country in total offense (624.5) and scoring offense (53.3). It also is 17th in total defense (344.0) and 19th in scoring defense (21.2).
Junior Bryce Petty averages 320.3 passing yards a game, and has thrown 30 touchdowns with just two interceptions.
The ground game has a 265.2 per-game average, while junior Antwan Goodley has 1,319 receiving yards with 13 touchdowns.
BU's defense boasts 32 sacks (compared to giving up 20), 17 interceptions and 17 forced fumbles.
UCF-BAYLOR PLAYER CONNECTIONS
UCF's only player from the Lone Star State is sophomore linebacker Domenic Spencer.
The Knights have 67 players from Florida, while the Bears have 93 players from Texas.
Baylor does not carry a Floridian on its roster.
There are a combined seven international student-athletes in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl:
-UCF - Rodrigo Quirarte (Queretaro, Mexico)
-UCF - Sean Galvin (Cork, Ireland)
-UCF - Jaryl Mamea (Fagasa, American Samoa)
-BU - Peni Tagive (Campbelltown, Australia)
-BU - Blake Muir (Sutherland, Australia)
-BU - Sean Muir (Sutherland, Australia)
-BU - Jason Osei (London, England)
UCF-BAYLOR COACHING CONNECTIONS
Baylor head coach Art Briles served as Houston's head coach from 2003-07, and went 1-1 vs. the Knights when the schools were members of Conference USA.
Also on that Cougar staff was BU offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery and running game coordinator/offensive line coach Randy Clements.
BU passing game coordinator Kendal Briles played against the Knights while attending Houston in 2005. He finished with four receptions for 36 yards as UCF won, 31-29, in Orlando.
Both UCF head coach George O'Leary and Briles were voted as their respective conference's coach of the year in 2013.
Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Bennett was SMU's head coach from 2002-07, and suffered a 49-20 C-USA loss to UCF in Dallas Nov. 17, 2007. On that Mustangs' staff was Jim Gush who is now Baylor's linebackers coach.
The Knights and Bears are both making their first appearances in the BCS.
UCF officially received its invitation to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 8, 2013. Head coach George O'Leary was hired at UCF on Dec. 8, 2003.
UCF (0 votes), Auburn (0 votes), Baylor and Michigan State all were unranked in the AP Preseason Top 25, and they all have earned spots in the BCS.
THE YOUNGEST ONE
With this year being the last season of the BCS, a total of 51 teams have advanced to a BCS game under its current format (since 1998).
In its 18th season at the FBS level, the Knights are the second-fastest program in FBS history to make a BCS appearance behind only Boise State (11th season in the FBS).
Youngest schools to reach a BCS game (based on date founded):
School - Founded
1) UCF - 1963
2) Boise State - 1932
3) Miami (Fla.) - 1925
4) Hawaii - 1907
Youngest football programs to reach a BCS game (based on first season of football):
School - First Season Playing Football
1) UCF - 1979
2) Florida State - 1947
3) Boise State - 1933
4) Miami (Fla.) - 1926
GETTING USED TO THE POSTSEASON
The Knights are making back-to-back trips to the postseason, and are appearing in a bowl game for the fourth time in the last five years.
Overall, this will be UCF's sixth bowl game since 2005 when it reached its first bowl contest (Sheraton Hawaii Bowl).
Head Coach George O'Leary was selected as a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award Dec. 9. He has now been a finalist for the honor three times in his career (1998, 2005, 2013).
Both O'Leary and Baylor coach Art Briles were one of eight to receive the accolade. The BCS National Championship Game (Florida State vs. Auburn) and the Rose Bowl Game (Michigan State vs. Stanford) also feature Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award finalists doing battle against each other.
O'Leary also picked up The American's Coach of the Year, his sixth conference honor of his career. Only South Carolina's Steve Spurrier (nine) and Bill Snyder (seven) have more among active head coaches.
First BCS bowl berth.
Third conference championship (first year in a league was 2002).
First year in program history UCF posted at least 10 regular-season victories.
Double-digit wins for the second year in a row, for the third time in the last four years and for the fifth time overall.
Set a school record by winning eight straight games.
Every recruiting class under head coach George O'Leary (first year was in 2004) has won at least one conference title (the Knights have won league crowns in 2007, 2010 and 2013).
First win over a Big Ten and a top-10 team.
Highest ranking in school history (No. 15).
Bowl eligible for the sixth time in the last nine years, and fourth time in the last five campaigns.
A SELECT GROUP
UCF carries an 11-1 overall record and went 8-0 in The American.
Eighteen schools had one or fewer conference losses in 2013. Teams that did not have a loss in league play in the regular season: UCF, Florida State, Michigan State, Northern Illinois and Ohio State.
Ten programs enter bowl season with one or fewer overall defeats, while 22 schools posted double-digit wins.
Most victories in a single season for UCF:
Season - Record
T1) 2013 - 11-1
T1) 2010 - 11-3
T3) 2012, 2007, 1990 - 10-4
Highest winning percentage in UCF history:
Season - Record - Win Percentage
1) 2013 - 11-1 - .917
2) 1998 - 9-2 - .818
3) 2010 - 11-3 - .786
Longest active winning streaks in the FBS:
School - Consecutive Wins
1) Florida State - 15
T2) Auburn - 9
T2) Michigan State - 9
4) UCF - 8
UCF went undefeated (6-0) on the road for the first time in school history.
Including neutral-site affairs, only the 2010 team had six wins away from home before this year.
Schools who were perfect on the road in 2013:
School - Away Record
Northern Illinois - 7-0
UCF - 6-0
Ohio State, Florida State, Louisville, Missouri, Duke - 5-0
UCF has 37 victories since the 2010 season, which ranks tied for the 14th most in the FBS.
Average home attendance for 2013 was 42,084, marking the second highest average in school history behind only 2007 (44,018) when Bright House opened.
The Knights are 7-1 this year in games decided by seven points or less. Two years ago, they lost six games by seven points or less.
This year is the first where UCF posted at least six wins by seven points or less.
Deficits overcome in 2013:
Opponent - Trailed - Result
at Memphis - 17-10 late 4th quarter - W, 24-17
at Louisville - 28-7 3rd quarter - W, 38-35
Houston - 7-6 3rd quarter - W, 19-14
at Temple - 36-29 late 4th quarter - W, 39-36
USF - 20-16 4th quarter - W, 23-20
at SMU - 13-10 3rd quarter - W, 17-13
Largest come-from-behind wins in school history:
Opponent, Year - Deficit - Trailed - Won
at Louisville, 2013 - 21 points - 28-7 - 38-35
Illinois State, 1984 - 21 points - 21-0 - 28-24
UCF (seven games), Auburn (six games) and San Diego State (six games) are the only three schools in the country this year to win at least six games by one possession (eight points).
The Knights are the only team to post seven victories by seven points or less (San Diego State has six).
UCF has just eight seniors this year (seven scholarship seniors). E.J. Dunston, Jeff Godfrey, Chris Martin, Jordan McCray and Justin McCray have all been with the Knights since 2010 (Martin joined in 2009).
Fewest number of seniors nationally:
School - Seniors
1) South Carolina - 5
T2) UCF - 8*
T2) Virginia - 8
* - Does not include Jackie Williams who sits out 2013
The last four seasons have produced a combined record of 37-15 from 2010-13.
Highest winning percentage over a four-year stretch:
Seasons - Record - Win Percentage
1) 2010-13 - 37-15 - .712
2) 1987-90 - 32-16 - .667
3) 1990-93 - 31-16 - .660
4) 1989-92 - 29-16 - .644
5) 2009-12 - 34-19 - .642
Most victories over a four-year stretch:
Seasons - Record - Win Percentage
1) 2010-13 - 37-15 - .712
2) 2009-12 - 34-19 - .642
3) 2007-10 - 33-20 - .623
There are plenty of Knights from the central Florida area who have played important roles in 2013:
Player - Hometown - Notes
DB Brandon Alexander - Orlando - 6 break-ups
QB Blake Bortles - Oviedo - 22 TD passes
DT E.J. Dunston - Eatonville - 3.0 sacks
LB Michael Easton - Winter Haven - 2 forced fumbles
C Joey Grant - Apopka - Starting center
DB Sean Maag - Orlando - 2 BRUP, 2 INT
PK Shawn Moffitt - Orlando - Lou Groza Semifinalist
DB Jordan Ozerities - Mount Dora - 6 BRUP, 1 INT
SOLID SIGNAL CALLERS
In Blake Bortles and Bryce Petty, the UCF-Baylor matchup will feature two of the nation's premier quarterbacks.
Here is how the signal callers stack up in the national statistical rankings:
Category - Bortles - Petty
Passing Efficiency - 9 (163.3) - 2 (179.2)
Passing Yards - 19 (3280.0) - 7 (3844.0)
Passing Yards PG - 18 (273.3) - 8 (320.3)
Completions PG - 27 (19.92) - 42 (18.33)
Passing TDs - 23 (22.0) - 9 (30.0)
Completion Pct. - 9 (.681) - 45 (.618)
Total Offense - 22 (288.3) - 8 (336.3)
PASS IT ON
Fans should certainly expect an exciting contest at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl as UCF and Baylor feature two of the top passing offenses in the country.
The contest will serve as the only BCS bowl game with two of the top-30 passing offenses: Baylor (5th, 359.3 yards per game), UCF (27th, 280).
The Bears rank second in team passing efficiency at 176.59, while UCF is 13th at 157.95.
WHAT A RIDE
Senior offensive tackle Chris Martin has formed his own club at UCF as he is the only player in school history to be a member of four bowl teams.
A native of Fort Walton Beach, Martin joined the Knights in 2009 and redshirted. That year, UCF advanced to the St. Petersburg Bowl, and eventually he participated in the 2010 AutoZone Liberty Bowl and the 2012 Beef `O' Brady's Bowl.
There have been several late-game heroics by the Knights, so here are key fourth-quarter plays by the offense in 2013:
at Penn State
-After PSU closed to a 34-31 deficit with 2:51 remaining, Blake Bortles hit J.J. Worton for 13 yards and a first down as UCF would run out the clock.
-Trailing 17-10 and facing 4th-and-10 with 3:11 showing, Bortles connected with Breshad Perriman for 16 yards and two plays later UCF tied it up.
-Trailing 35-31, Bortles converted on 3rd-and-goal from the 2-yard line as he found Jeff Godfrey in the corner with 23 seconds left.
-William Stanback's 38-yard run put UCF up 19-7 with 10:23 showing en route to the win.
-J.J. Worton's highlight-reel catch with 1:06 remaining tied it at 36-36, then Bortles went to Rannell Hall for 64 yards to set up the game-winning field goal with no time left.
-Bortles registered another game-winning drive on a 52-yard touchdown pass to Perriman and a 23-20 lead with 4:50 to go.
FAIR AND BALANCED
Thanks to Blake Bortles, UCF's passing attack has received plenty of attention, but the Knights have a surprisingly balanced offense.
UCF has scored 24 rushing touchdowns and 23 through the air.
OVIEDO'S OWN Blake Bortles
Hailing from nearby Oviedo, junior Blake Bortles was The American's Offensive Player of the Year, becoming just the second Knight to earn a conference's offensive player of the year accolade (RB Kevin Smith in 2007 in the media poll).
Bortles ranks fourth in UCF history with 53 career passing touchdowns, 565 completions and 7,297 yards.
Meanwhile, he ranks first all-time at UCF with an .0198 interception-to-attempt ratio and a 153.4 efficiency rating.
Blake Bortles by quarter this year:
Quarter - C-A-INT - Yards - TD - COMP%
First - 60-87-2 - 747 - 5 - 69.0
Second - 79-119-3 - 966 - 7 - 66.4
Third - 56-73-0 - 809 - 4 - 76.7
Fourth - 44-72-2 - 758 - 6 - 61.1
Totals - 239-351-7 - 3,280 - 22 - 68.1
Bortles did not attempt a pass in the fourth quarter against Akron, FIU and UConn.
Led by Bortles completing 68.3 percent of his passes, UCF is completing 66.8 percent of its passes as a team.
UCF's highest team completion percentage:
Season - Percentage
1) 1998 - 73.4
2) 2011 - 67.9
3) 2013 - 66.8
That 66.8 percentage ranks 12th in the FBS in 2013.
Bortles is ninth in the FBS this year in completion percentage and efficiency. He also stands 18th by averaging 273.3 passing yards a game and 22nd in total offense at 288.3
He set a career-high with 404 passing yards at Temple, which were the 10th most all-time by a Knight and the first time since FAU (497) in 2003 that UCF had a 400-yard game through the air.
Bortles became just the fifth different player in a UCF uniform to throw for at least 400 yards.
Running backs Storm Johnson (first team) and William Stanback (second team) were both selected to The American's postseason teams, marking the first time in school history UCF had two backs earn all-league honors in the same season.
Johnson has 1,015 rushing yards, which is the 10th time a UCF player reached the 1,000-yard plateau.
Stanback and running back Kevin Smith (2005) are the only two freshmen offensive players to earn spots on an all-league first or second team.
Most rushing touchdowns by a UCF freshman (including quarterbacks and redshirts):
Player - Season - Rushing TDs
1) Gerod Davis - 1992 - 10
1) Jeff Godfrey* - 2010 - 10
3) Kevin Smith - 2005 - 9
3) Alex Haynes+ - 2001 - 9
3) Elgin Davis - 1983 - 9
6) William Stanback - 2013 - 6
Stanback also ranks 11th among all UCF freshmen with 410 rushing yards (record is 1,178 by Kevin Smith in 2005) and 11th with 92 attempts (record is 249 by Smith).
With 24, UCF has posted at least 20 rushing touchdowns or more in six of the last seven seasons.
THE MEN UP FRONT
Among the offensive line starters, only left tackle Torrian Wilson (two) has missed a game this year.
Sophomore Joey Grant is in his first year at center after spending time on the defensive line, and he is surrounded by senior identical twins Jordan and Justin McCray at the guard spots.
Right tackle Chris Martin also is a senior, and the quintet has helped UCF rank second in the league in fewest sacks allowed.
They did not give up a sack against Louisville and UConn, and the last time UCF went back-to-back games without giving up a sack was vs. FAU and at Syracuse in 2003.
Louisville was coming off an eight-sack performance against Rutgers until it ran into the Knights.
AN EXCITING BUNCH
UCF's 33.2 points per game average is eighth all-time.
Highest yards-per-game average in UCF history:
Season - Yards Per Game
1) 1998 - 487.7
2) 1992 - 478.8
3) 1994 - 444.5
4) 2002 - 436.1
5) 2013 - 432.0
Most total yards in a game:
Opponent - Date - Yards
Gardner-Webb - Sept. 5, 1992 - 818
West Georgia - Oct. 17, 1987 - 700
at Temple - Nov. 16, 2013 - 657
It was the ninth time UCF posted 600 yards of total offense or more in a game, and the first time since 601 at Memphis in 2007.
BRING IT IN
Rannell Hall has a reception in 27 straight games for the seventh longest streak in school history.
The school record stands at 42 by current UCF wide receivers coach Sean Beckton from 1987-90.
SPREADING THE LOVE
J.J. Worton (four), Rannell Hall (three) and Breshad Perriman (three) have combined for 10 100-yard receiving games, the most since 11 in the 2005 season, all done by Brandon Marshall and Mike Sims-Walker.
Most combined receiving yards by a UCF duo in a single game:
Players - Date - Yards
Gabriel (206), Fryzel (150) - 10/12/02 - 356
Rhodes (231), Whittemore (109) - 10/24/92 - 340
Worton (179), Hall (159) - 11/16/13 - 338
A SELECT CLUB
Senior Jeff Godfrey opened his collegiate career as the starting quarterback from 2010-11, but now is in his second season as one of UCF's top receivers.
Due to his versatility, Godfrey is the only player in school history to have at least 200 career yards passing, rushing and receiving.
Jeff Godfrey's career breakdown:
Season - Rush YDS - Pass YDS - REC YDS
2010 - 566 - 2,159 - 0
2011 - 405 - 1,898 - 0
2012 - 70 - 38 - 429
2013 - 57 - 0 - 346
Totals - 1,098 - 4,095 - 775
Sean Beckton joins Godfrey as the only two players with at least 100 career yards in all three categories.
SLOWING THEM DOWN
The defense has limited nine of its 12 opponents to under its scoring average this season:
Opponent - Average Entering Game - vs. UCF
Akron - 26.1* - 7
at FIU - 10.0 - 0
at PSU - 34.0 - 31
S.C. - 30.7 - 28
at MEM - 20.0 - 17
at LOU - 41.0 - 35
UConn - 16.3 - 17
Houston - 41.1 - 14
at Temple - 22.3 - 36
Rutgers - 29.3 - 17
USF - 14.0 - 20
at SMU - 28.0 - 13
*Entering the 2013 season
Houston, Rutgers and SMU all were held under their averages in total, rushing, passing and scoring offense against the Knights.
UCF has held its last five opponents, and seven of its last nine, to under their rushing average. That includes keeping Rutgers, USF and SMU to under 100 yards on the ground.
UCF has just two seniors who have played on the defensive side of the ball this year in E.J. Dunston and Sean Maag.
One end of the defensive line has seen five different starters this year.
During a critical fourth quarter at Temple Nov. 16, UCF's defensive 11 consisted of five members of the 2013 signing class:
Player - Eligibility
CB Shaquill Griffin - True Freshman
CB D.J. Killings - True Freshman
DE Seyvon Lowry - True Freshman
DE Deondre Barnett - True Freshman
DT Jaryl Mamea - Junior Transfer
A total of 21 defensive players on the active roster have made their UCF debuts this year (including on special teams), including seven members of the 2013 signing class.
Current players who have made their debuts with the Knights in 2013 and who have also started at least one game:
Player - Games Played - Starts
DT Demetris Anderson - 12 - 12
CB Jacoby Glenn - 11 - 11
DE Luke Adams - 9 - 5
DT Jaryl Mamea - 11 - 3
LB Justin McDonald - 8 - 3
DE Miles Pace - 7 - 3
DB Shaquill Griffin - 8 - 1
DL Seyvon Lowry - 6 - 1
LB Chequan Burkett - 4 - 1
The 21 student-athletes have a combined 144 games played to their credit this year.
UCF has had 21 different players earn at least one start on defense this year.
Those who have started every game in 2013: DE Thomas Niles, DT Demetris Anderson, MLB Terrance Plummer, FS Brandon Alexander, SS Clayton Geathers and CB Jordan Ozerities.
Terrance Plummer (96) and Clayton Geathers (90) have inched closely to the 100-tackle mark.
Plummer had 108 a year ago, while Geathers finished with 117 as UCF played in 14 games.
If either can reach the 100-mark in 2013, it would be the first time since both Atari Bigby and Peter Sands recorded back-to-back years with at least 100 tackles from 2002-03.
IN THE WAY
As a team, UCF has 62 break-ups and 13 interceptions.
The Knights are averaging 6.3 passes defended per game, which is the second-highest mark in the George O'Leary era (since 2004). The 2008 team had the highest mark under Coach O'Leary with a 6.8 average.
UCF had 12 break-ups against Rutgers, which were the second most in the FBS era (since 1996).
BREAKING UP IS EASY TO DO
Freshman cornerback Jacoby Glenn tied a school record with five break-ups against Rutgers, including four in the first half.
Glenn has 15 break-ups this season, which ranks tied for second (record is 22 set by Atterberry in 1983).
Most break-ups in a game in UCF history:
Player - Break-Ups - Date
Jacoby Glenn - 5 - 11/21/13
Davin Bush - 5 - 9/9/00
Greg Atterberry - 5 - 11/26/83
Tim Kiggins - 5 - 11/15/80
He ranks fourth in the FBS in passes defended per game (1.5), and the next closest freshman is Virginia Tech's Kendall Fuller (1.3) at 11th.
UCF has four players in The American's top 15 in passes defended per game (Jacoby Glenn first, Clayton Geathers fifth, Terrance Plummer 14th and Brandon Alexander 14th).
Glenn is first with a 1.6 average thanks to 15 break-ups and a pair of picks.
NOT JUST ONE GUY STEPPING UP
Almost every game there is someone new delivering for the Knights' defense, and it shows in the numbers.
A total of 17 players have posted at least half a sack in 2013, and no one has more than 3.0 sacks.
Seven Knights boast at least one interception, but no one has more than two.
WHEN IT COUNTS
The defense produced several big stands late to allow the Knights to hold on for a win.
at Penn State
-Ahead 34-24, UCF's Terrance Plummer forced a fumble and Sean Maag recovered with 5:43 left as the Knights held on for a 34-31 win.
-Clinging to a 24-17 advantage with 1:46 on the clock, UCF permitted the Tigers to reach the red zone before Clayton Geathers tipped a Brandon Hayes pass and Plummer came down with it in the endzone.
-The offense grabbed a 38-35 lead with 23 seconds left, and the defense held Teddy Bridgewater at bay for the upset win.
-The Cougars entered averaging 41.1 points per game, but trailed UCF 19-14 with three minutes to go. Houston drove down for a 1st-and-goal situation from the UCF-10, yet a QB hurry from Jaryl Mamea, a 3-yard rush, an incomplete pass and a break-up by Brandon Alexander sealed the win for the Knights.
-UCF tied things up at 36-36 with 1:06 on the scoreboard. Only the Owls witnessed Thomas Niles and Deondre Barnett deliver sacks and had to punt it away as the Knights kicked the game-winning field goal in regulation.
-The Bulls trailed 23-20 with 4:46 left, and reached the UCF-39, but Jordan Ozerities stepped in front of a Mike White pass for an interception to halt the drive.
-The Mustangs had four offensive drives on a 24-degree day in Dallas as they looked to erase UCF's late 17-13 lead, but the visitors stepped up each time, including three fourth-down stops, and kept SMU scoreless in the fourth quarter.
HE GOT IT
Making his 36th straight start and in his 37th game overall, junior strong safety Clayton Geathers recorded his first career interception against Rutgers.
Geathers had 19 break-ups as a Knight before hauling in that pick.
He then intercepted his second pass against SMU en route to American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors.
Geathers has 276 tackles for his career, which stands 18 shy of cracking UCF's all-time top 10.
Where UCF ranks in The American:
-Pass Efficiency Defense (second)
-Total Defense (third)
-Scoring Defense (third)
-Passing Defense (fourth)
Where UCF ranks in the FBS:
-Red Zone Defense (ninth)
-Rushing Defense (13th)
-Scoring Defense (13th)
-Passing Efficiency Defense (17th)
-Total Defense (19th)
-First Downs Defense (21st)
STANDING ITS GROUND
Facing one of the best teams in the country, UCF held then-No. 12/13 South Carolina scoreless in the first half, marking the first time the Gamecocks did not score in the opening 30 minutes since the Papajohns.com Bowl Jan. 2, 2010.
I LOVE A GOOD DONUT
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
Opponents' completion percentage the last six games against the Knights, as SMU was the only team during that stretch to post a percentage of at least 60.0:
Opponent - Completion Percentage
UConn - 43.8
Houston - 52.2
at Temple - 57.8
Rutgers - 34.9
USF - 44.1
at SMU - 64.1
OUT OF NOWHERE
Not seeing playing time in the first four games, true freshman outside linebacker Justin McDonald started seeing sporadic action at Memphis Oct. 5.
It was not until Rutgers Nov. 21 when he earned his first start, and in the last three games combined, McDonald has 25 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss, a sack, a break-up and a fumble recovery.
McDonald had a personal-best 10 tackles vs. USF.
Special Teams Notes
A big reason UCF has won close games is that Lou Groza Award semifinalist Shawn Moffitt is 20-for-22 in field goals this year.
Highest single-season field-goal percentage at UCF:
Player - Year - Percentage
1) Shawn Moffitt - 2013 - .909 (20-22)
2) Charlie Pierce - 1994 - .875 (14-16)
Highest career field-goal percentage at UCF:
Player - Years - Percentage
1) Shawn Moffitt - 2011-pres. - .778 (35-45)
2) Michael Torres - 2006-07 - .771 (37-48)
3) Charlie Pierce - 1993-96 - .754 (46-61)
Most field goals made in a single season:
Player - Year - Field Goals
T1) Shawn Moffitt - 2013 - 20
T1) Michael Torres - 2007 - 20
Moffitt converted his first collegiate game-winning attempt when he booted a 23-yarder with no time left at Temple for a 39-36 win.
Before USF, Rannell Hall's longest kick return this year was 31 yards. But against the Bulls, all four of his returns went for at least 33 yards including a 69-yard gallop.
Hall finished with 177 yards in kick returns in the win en route to receiving the American Athletic Conference Special Teams Player of the Week award.
For his career at UCF, he ranks fourth with 1,736 kick return yards and fifth with 69 returns.
Hall is also UCF's leading receiver with 53 catches.
THE J.J. EFFECT
The Knights have received great field position several times this year due to the legs of J.J. Worton.
The junior averages 12.3 yards per punt return thanks to 148 yards on 12 returns.
Worton ranks fourth in UCF history with 54 punt returns and 564 return yards.
HOW `BOUT THAT
Caleb Houston (How-stin) has shined in his first year as UCF's punter, averaging 42.4 yards per punt.
Due to UCF's offense having one of its most productive seasons in history, he has only booted 37 punts, but has placed 11 of them inside the 20 with eight going for at least 50 yards.
His 45-yard boot in the first quarter Temple rested on the 1-yard line, and two plays later the defense made it pay off by notching a safety.
With family watching in-person at Memphis, the Tennessee native booted six punts for 313 yards and a 52.2 average, including a long of 71. His 52.2 average was the fourth-highest in a single game at UCF, while his 71-yard effort tied for the third-longest punt in school history. The last 70-yard punt by a Knight came in 2009 by Blake Clingan (70 yards).
Houston's performance helped limit Memphis to a starting field position of its own 23 for the game. Off his six punts, Memphis started drives on its own 33, 15, 20, 10, 38 and 24.
THE BIG HIT
Running back William Stanback already had a rushing touchdown at Memphis before he gave UCF its first lead when he forced kick returner Marquis Warford to fumble, where Drico Johnson recovered for a touchdown and a 24-17 lead with 1:56 to go.
Ronnie Weaver was the last Knight to post a rushing touchdown and a forced fumble in the same game when he did so vs. Charleston Southern in 2011.
A LOT TO LOOK FORWARD TO
Not only heading to a BCS bowl game, kickoff specialist Sean Galvin is anxious for the start of 2014 as well when UCF heads to Dublin, Ireland, for the Croke Park Classic against Penn State.
He hails from Cork - 2.5 hours southwest of Dublin.
ONE OF THE ELITE
UCF has the second-highest graduation rate for football student-athletes out of the 10 teams competing in the Bowl Championship Series.
UCF's graduation rate of 83 percent for football student-athletes trails only Stanford University among BCS teams and ranks No. 12 overall among the 70 teams competing in bowl games.
The annual study of the academic performance of bowl game participants is conducted by UCF's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, led by founder and director Richard Lapchick.
The study also looks at the institutions' overall graduation rates for student-athletes in all sports. UCF tied for No. 10 in that category among the 70 bowl teams. Both UCF and Alabama recorded overall graduation rates of 89 percent.
To conduct the annual study, the institute reviewed six-year graduation rates of each school's freshman classes that enrolled between 2003 and 2006.
UCF football Academic Progress Rate data since 2004-05 (O'Leary's first year):
Season - UCF APR
2004-05 - 929
2005-06 - 973
2006-07 - 965
2007-08 - 971
2008-09 - 977
2009-10 - 973
2010-11 - 974
2011-12 - 975
In the latest APR report released in June, UCF ranked 15th in the nation among FBS programs with a 975 APR score, which was first among Florida public universities and 26 points above the national average.
GET THE DEGREE
The UCF football team continues to post outstanding academic numbers.
The NCAA announced Graduation Success Rates (GSR) for student-athletes who first enrolled in 2006 in October. In that report, the Knights came in at 83 percent, 12 points above the national average of 71 percent.
It was the seventh consecutive year the football program improved its GSR and it was a program-best score.
Throughout the Football Bowl Subdivision, only 17 schools had a higher graduation rate than UCF. The Knights' GSR ranked No. 2 among American Athletic Conference schools.
The American Football Coaches Association recognized UCF for its performance in the classroom on Nov. 27. The Knights were one of 50 institutions honored for graduating 75 percent or more of their football student-athletes.
The American Athletic Conference, the ACC and Conference USA all tied for the most schools recognized by the AFCA with seven.
THE ONLY ONE
The Knights put together a 3.024 grade-point average (GPA) last year and back in July they were honored with the Conference USA Sport Academic Award for the second straight year. UCF became the first football team in C-USA history to record a 3.0 or better GPA and it was a program-best mark as well.
Both fall (3.095) and spring (2.954) terms last season were the highest for those respective semesters under head coach George O'Leary, who took over the program in 2004. A total of seven Knights had a 4.0 last fall, while three posted a 4.0 in the spring.