Oct. 14, 2005
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The UCF Golden Knights (3-2, 2-0 C-USA), who have claimed three victories in a row, travel to Hattiesburg, Mississippi this week to face the Golden Eagles of Southern Miss. UCF is coming off perhaps its most impressive win of the season, a 38-17 victory over Memphis last week. The Golden Knights now stand alone atop Conference USA's East Division. UCF is also only the third team in NCAA history to win three games in a row after going 0-11 the previous the season. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET at M.M. Roberts Stadium.
The game will be broadcast as part of CSTV's "All-Access" package. Digital cable subscribers can call 888-SPORTS-IN or contact their local cable operator. In Orlando, the game is available on Bright House Networks channel 505 on a pay-per-view basis. The game will not be carried on DISH Network this week.
The UCF ISP Network and its flagship station 740- The Team AM (WQTM) will broadcast the game live. Marc Daniels will once again have the call with Gary Parris. Jerry O'Neill will handle the sideline duties. Network affiliates in include WMMV-1350 in Cocoa, WDCF-1350 Dade City, WROD-1340 in Daytona Beach and WMMB-1240 Melbourne
Fans looking for a more extensive preview and UCF head coach George O'Leary's thoughts on Southern Miss, should tune into "The George O'Leary Show," which will air Friday at 5:30 p.m. on Sun Sports and again Saturday at 1 p.m. on WESH-2.
Saturday will mark the first ever meeting between the two schools.
About Southern Miss
Southern Miss (2-2, 1-1 C-USA) is coming off a rare home loss, a 34-17 defeat at the hands of Tulsa. The Golden Eagles are currently ranked 39th in the nation in scoring offense at an average of 29.7 points per game. The offense is led by quarterback Dustin Almond, who has completed 64-of-115 passes and has thrown for six touchdowns this year. Two weeks ago against East Carolina, he completed 23-of-34 passes for 324 yards and two touchdowns, good for the seventh-best passing performance in school history.
Southern Miss has never lost two consecutive C-USA games at home.
The Golden Eagles are also one of the better defensive teams in the country. They are currently ranked 44th in scoring defense, surrendering just 22.7 points per game. The defense is led by All-America cornerback John Eubanks. The senior is currently on the Jim Thorpe Award watch list, which is given annually to the nation's best defensive back.
"I think defensively, they (Southern Miss) are a contact defense," said O'Leary. "They get off blocks quickly and they run to the ball extremely well. I think sustaining blocks, moving your feet and getting to the second level is going to be critical for any success on offense."
Southern Miss wide receiver Antwon Courington ranks among the all-time leaders school history in consecutive games with at least one catch. The senior had two catches for 33 yards last week to extend his streak to 26 games with at least one reception.
UCF has now won three games in a row, the longest winning streak in C-USA, and O'Leary feels like his players are coming off their most complete game of the year.
"From a total game standpoint, offense, defense and special teams, they all played well," said O'Leary. "Obviously, we could have played better in some areas (against Memphis), but we played well."
The Golden Knights offense had its most dominate performance of the season in which it racked up 551 yards of total offense. Of those 551 yards, 261 came on the ground. The performance marked the first 200-plus yard game on the ground for UCF in over a year.
Freshmen Kevin Smith led the ground attack with his second straight 100-plus yard game. Against Memphis, Smith carried the ball 31 times for 164 yards and one touchdown. The 164 yards for Smith was the fifth best showing by a true freshman tailback in UCF history.
Junior quarterback Steven Moffett continues to improve during his breakthrough season. For the second straight game, Moffett opened the first quarter perfectly, completing 5-of-5 passes for 89 yards and one touchdown. Moffett finished the game 14-of-21 passing for 290 yards and three touchdowns.
Wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Mike Walker each produced 100-yard receiving games for the second time this season. Walker finished the day with a career-best 10 catches for 157 yards and one touchdown, while Marshall had four catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns.
On the defensive side of the football, UCF continues to limit the opposition's offense. The Golden Knights are currently tied for first in C-USA in scoring defense, allowing just 21.2 points per game. Against Memphis, the Golden Knights surrendered just 17 points, and only three in the second half.