Football Game Notes - The USF Game

Sept. 12, 2005

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ORLANDO - Separated by just 98 miles, the University of Central Florida visits the University of South Florida for the first time on the gridiron Saturday, September 17 at 7 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. The I-4 rivalry begins as the two schools have met in several sports over the years - most notably baseball (100 games since 1973) - but for the first time in 2005 in football.

USF (1-1) defeated Florida A&M 37-3 Saturday night in Tampa while UCF (0-1) was idle last week.

FSN Florida is scheduled to televise the game live beginning at 7 p.m. Viewers on DirectTV can view the game on channel 634 while viewers on the Dish Network can tune into channel 423. The UCF ISP Sports Network begins pregame coverage at 5 p.m. The voice of the Golden Knights Marc Daniels will handle the play-by-play duties while Gary Parris provides color commentary and Jerry O'Neill patrols the sidelines. The radio broadcast is also available at ucfathletics.com.

Series Notes
Saturday's game is the first meeting between the two schools. UCF is 0-8 all-time vs. BIG EAST competition. The Golden Knights are 0-3 vs. Syracuse and 0-2 vs. West Virginia. UCF also played Virginia Tech three times when the Hokies were a member of the BIG EAST and lost all three meetings. UCF is 1-32 all-time vs. current BCS schools. The lone victory came at Alabama (40-38).

Shutting Down The Run Game
The Golden Knights limited South Carolina to 32 rushing yards in the season opener, the seventh-best total in UCF single-game Division I history. The Gamecocks rushed 28 times for 32 yards, an average of 1.1 yards per attempt. UCF ranks fifth in the NCAA in rushing defense.

Fewest Rushing Yards Allowed in a Game1. -20 vs. Louisiana-Monroe (10/21/00)2. -7 vs. Louisiana Tech (10/23/99)3. 12 at Louisiana Tech (9/5/98)4. 20 vs. Eastern Kentucky (10/14/00)5. 30 at Eastern Michigan (9/30/00)5. 30 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (11/24/01)7. 32 at South Carolina (9/1/05)8. 35 vs. UAB (10/6/01)9. 36 at Western Michigan (10/12/02)10. 48 vs. Middle Tennessee (11/13/99)

Hitting Double-Digits
For the first time since 2002, UCF had a wide receiver catch at least 10 passes in a game in the season opener at South Carolina. Senior wide receiver Brandon Marshall became the first Golden Knight since Doug Gabriel to record 10 receptions in a game. Gabriel caught 10 passes for 206 yards vs. Syracuse (Nov. 2, 2002).

Marshall hauled in a career-high 10 receptions for 102 yards vs. the Gamecocks.

Double Trouble
UCF quarterback Steven Moffett is happy to have Mike Walker and Brandon Marshall back on offense. The two players spent part of 2004 in the UCF secondary, but both players are back at wide receiver in 2005.

The duo both eclipsed the 100-yard mark in receiving yards in the season's first game at South Carolina.

Walker set career-highs in receptions (9) and receiving yards (105), including a 13-yard touchdown pass from Moffett. He is tied for fifth in the nation in receptions per game.

Marshall established a personal-best with 10 catches for 102 yards. The Winter Park native is tied for second in the NCAA in receptions per game.

The last time two UCF players both went over the century mark in receiving yards in one game was Walker and Marshall vs. Florida Atlantic in 2003.

Sack Attack
By the time UCF recorded its third sack of the season in 2004, the Golden Knights played six games. It only took one game in 2005 for UCF to record three sacks.

UCF sacked South Carolina's Blake Mitchell three times in the season opener. Seniors Paul Carrington and Frisner Nelson totaled one sack each while junior Chris Welsh notched his first career sack as well.

In UCF's last five games, the Golden Knights have 13 sacks as a team.

Fourth Quarter Quarterback
UCF quarterback Steven Moffett has saved some of his best football for the fourth quarter during his career. In 14 fourth quarters, Moffett is 68-for-110 passing for 685 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions. He has completed 62% of his passes during the final quarter of play.

Defense Dominates in Second Half
UCF's defense was dominant vs. South Carolina over the game's final 30 minutes. The Golden Knights limited USC to 55 yards in the second half, including -4 yards in the fourth quarter. South Carolina totaled -15 yards rushing in the final period of play as well.

South Carolina's final five drives ended with three lost fumbles, a punt and a safety.

UCF held on to the ball for 23:23 in the second half vs. the Gamecocks, while USC totaled just 6:37 in time of possession over the final two quarters of play.

Improvement on Third Down
George O'Leary stated prior to the season his team needed to improve on third down - both offensively and defensively.

In the South Carolina game, UCF converted 8-of-19 third down conversions (42%) while limiting the Gamecocks to one third down conversion in eight tries (.12%).

In 2004, UCF was successful on just 34% of its third downs offensively while the UCF defense yielded a 40% conversion rate.

Horne Starts 2005 on Good Note
Junior punter Aaron Horne got off to a solid start in the at South Carolina. The Miami native averaged just under 40 yards per punt, but he pinned the Gamecocks inside their own 20 yard line on three of his four punts.

Welcome to UCF
Seven true freshman made their collegiate debuts for UCF at South Carolina. Linebacker Cory Hogue was the only starter among the group at outside linebacker.

Tailback Kevin Smith, WR Rocky Ross, CB Joe Burnett, DE Clarence Howard, LB Jordan Richards, LB Travis Barr were the other six true freshmen to earn playing time.

Fresh Faces
UCF had 50 players see the field at South Carolina. Nearly half (24) were either first or second-year players (true freshmen, redshirt freshmen or true sophomores).

Seven of UCF's 22 starters on offense and defense were made up of first or second-year student-athletes.

First Time for Everything
UCF faces four opponents for the first time in 2005. USF, Southern Miss, Houston and Rice are newcomers to the UCF schedule.

The Golden Knights are 5-10 vs. the remaining seven teams in 2005, including a perfect 2-0 record vs. Louisiana-Lafayette and UAB along with a 1-0 mark against Tulane.

From Coast to Coast
Freshman defensive end Clarence Howard is not your everyday freshman. The Virginia native has taken a different route to UCF from high school.

After graduation in 2001, Howard spent a year and a half with the U.S. Forest Service, traveling to Texas, California, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana.

During his stint with the forest service, Howard was sent to Texas to help with the clean-up process from the Columbia Space Shuttle tragedy. In addition, he fought wild fires on the west coast in California and surrounding states.

Missing the game of football, Howard spent one semester at Milford Academy, where he played middle linebacker and defensive end.

After a semester at Milford, Howard enrolled at UCF in January and spent the spring practicing with the team.

Scouting USF
The USF Bulls enter Saturday's game with a 1-1 record. The Bulls lost 23-13 at Penn State in their season opener, but responded with a 37-3 victory over visiting Florida A&M last Saturday in Tampa.

USF is in its first season in the BIG EAST conference. The Bulls made the move from Conference USA to the BIG EAST along with Louisville and Cincinnati.

Senior Andre Hall is one of the nation's leading tailbacks. In 2004, Hall rushed for a school record 1,357 yards en route to all-Conference USA honors. Hall is off to a fast start in 2005, averaging 115 yards per game. He ranks 16th nationally in rushing.

USF is ranked 13th in the NCAA in rushing (237 yards per game). The Bulls are 97th nationally in passing offense (156.5 ypg) and are tied for 66th in scoring offense (25.0 ppg).

Defensively, USF is the NCAA leader in pass defense, yielding just 72 yards per game. The Bulls are 66th in rushing defense (147.5 ypg) and 22nd in scoring defense (13.0 ppg). In total defense, USF has the nation's eighth-ranked unit, allowing an average of 219.5 yards per game.

UCF is 13-8 all-time vs. Florida schools. The last time UCF played a team from the state of Florida was in 2003 when the Golden Knights defeated Florida Atlantic.

USF Head Coach Jim Leavitt
USF head coach Jim Leavitt is the program's only head coach. The St. Petersburg native is in his ninth season as head coach at USF with a career record of 56-34.

Leavitt has seen the program vault from the I-AA ranks from 1997-1999 to full-time I-A status in 2001.

Leavitt came to USF after serving as defensive coordinator for Bill Snyder at Kansas State from 1992-05. His 1995 defense at K-State was ranked No. 1 in the nation.

His best season came in 2002, when the Bulls finished 9-2. USF played its first season of football in Conference USA in 2003 before moving to the BIG EAST this season.