Football Game Notes - The East Carolina Game

Oct. 24, 2005

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ORLANDO - Two teams that were predicted to finish in a tie for last place in Conference USA's Eastern Division preseason poll meet this Saturday when UCF (4-3, 3-1 C-USA) visits East Carolina (3-4, 2-2 C-USA). The Golden Knights, one of the best turnaround stories in college football, have bounced back from last season's 0-11 record to win four of its last five games to sit in a tie for first with Southern Miss in the division. The Golden Knights ran all over the top defense in Conference USA last week as UCF rolled up 488 yards of total offense in a 34-24 victory over Tulane at the Florida Citrus Bowl.

East Carolina lost 27-24 at Memphis last week. The Pirates were down 20-3 at one point before making a late rally vs. the Tigers.

The UCF ISP Sports Network begins pregame coverage at 12 noon with kickoff set for 2 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.

CSTV is offering this weekend's football game between UCF and East Carolina free to all fans at ucfathletics.com. The game, which will be an internet only broadcast, is not available on Dish Network or on digital cable via pay-per-view.

A Remarkable Turnaround
George O'Leary has engineered one of the top turnarounds in the nation. After going 0-11 in 2004, UCF is 4-3 in 2005, including a 3-1 mark in C-USA. Even more remarkable, UCF has done it with a roster filled with freshmen and sophomores. The Golden Knights have just 10 seniors on scholarship and have 23 freshmen or sophomores who have started this season, including seven true freshmen starters.

Another amazing fact is that UCF will play seven of its 11 games this season on the road.

O'Leary is no stranger to turning around the fortunes of a football program. Inheriting a team which posted a 1-10 record in 1994 at Georgia Tech, O'Leary put together the second-most improved team in the nation in 1995 as the Yellow Jackets finished the season 6-5.

The following is a comparison of UCF's statistics from 2004 entering the eighth game of the season to this year at the same point:

NCAA Rankings 2004 2005Category Rank Actual Rank ActualRushing Offense 111 96.0 ypg 64 139.4 ypgRushing Defense 105 219.1 ypg 43 132 ypg (No. 1 in C-USA)Scoring Offense 110 16.4 ppg 68 25.6 ppgScoring Defense 111 37.5 ppg 63 26.0 ppgPassing Offense 75 194.8 ypg 36 244.3 ypgTotal Offense 108 290.8 ypg 51 383.7 ypgTotal Defense 100 437.1 ypg 56 366.9 ypgPassing Effic. 86 113.3 25 142.5 (No. 2 in C-USA)

Series Notes
East Carolina is 4-0 all-time vs. the Golden Knights, with the last meeting coming in 1996, UCF's first year in Division I-A. The Pirates won 28-7 the last time the teams met in Greenville.

UCF has one player on its roster from the state of North Carolina. True freshman linebacker Jordan Richards hails from Cary, N.C.

UCF linebackers/special teams coach Dave Huxtable served two coaching stints at ECU. Huxtable served in the same capacity for the Pirates in 1990-91 and later returned to ECU from 1998-99 to coach the team's defensive line (1998) and linebackers (1999).

One of Only Three in NCAA History
Only three teams in NCAA history have won three straight games after going 0-11 the previous season. UCF, South Carolina and Boston College are the only schools to record a winning streak of three or more games just one season after going 0-11.

The Gamecocks won four in a row in 2000 to start the season and added a three-game winning streak later that same year. Boston College tallied three straight victories in 1979 after going 0-11 in 1978.

Best Start Ever in Conference Play
The Golden Knights are off to their best start ever in conference play. The Golden Knights, who were an independent from 1996-2001 in Division I-A, were part of the Mid-American Conference (2002-04) before joining Conference USA in 2005.

The following is a list of UCF's record after four games in conference play over the last four seasons:

Year Record (Conference)2002 2-2 (MAC)2003 1-3 (MAC)2004 0-4 (MAC)2005 3-1 (C-USA)

On Fire in the First Quarter
Junior QB Steven Moffett was 7-of-8 passing for 73 yards in the first quarter vs. Tulane.

In 2005, Moffett is 32-of-43 in the first quarter, passing for 504 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. He has completed 74.4 % of his passes in the first 15 minutes of play on the year.

24-K Gold
True freshman tailback Kevin Smith has taken Conference USA by storm in 2005. The Miami native has two 100-yard games in C-USA action and is the league's third-leading rusher.

He ranks fifth in the NCAA in rushing yards for a true freshman with 560. He is also tied for second in 100-yard games for a true freshman with three.

Smith's 164 yards in the Memphis victory is the ninth-highest total by a true freshman in the nation this season in a single game.

NCAA True Freshman Running Back LeadersRushing Yards 1. Tyrell Sutton, Northwestern Att Yards Avg TD Long 157 970 6.2 14 62 2. Ontario Sneed, Central Michigan Att Yards Avg TD Long 133 726 5.5 6 80 3. Darren McFadden, Arkansas Att Yards Avg TD Long 86 682 7.9 8 70 4. Javon Ringer, Michigan State Att Yards Avg TD Long 985 584 6.9 4 59 5. Kevin Smith, UCF Att Yards Avg TD Long 122 560 4.6 3 44

Top Rushing Games 1. Tyrell Sutton, Northwestern (29 att., 244 yards, 3 TD vs. Wisconsin) 2. Ray Rice, Rutgers (27 att., 217 yards vs. Connecticut) 3. Tyrell Sutton, Northwestern (30 att., 214 yards, 4 TD vs. Northern Illinois) 4. Keegan Herring, Arizona State (23 att., 197 yards, 2 TD vs. Northwestern) 5. Javon Ringer, Michigan State (13 att., 194 yards vs. Illinois) 6. Darren McFadden, Arkansas (31 att., 190 yards, 2 TD vs. Georgia) 7. Steve Slaton, West Virginia (31 att., 188 yards, 5 TD vs. Louisville) 8. Ontario Sneed, Central Michigan (21 att., 183 yards, TD vs. Akron) 9. Kevin Smith, UCF (31 att., 164 yards, TD vs. Memphis) 10. Aaron Brown, TCU (17 att., 163 yards vs. Utah) 10. Tyrell Fenroy, Louisiana-Lafayette (15 att., 163 yards vs. Northwestern State)

100-Yard Games 1. Tyrell Sutton, Northwestern 5 2. Kevin Smith, UCF 3 2. Darren McFadden, Arkansas 3 2. Ontario Sneed, Central Michigan 3 5. Keegan Herring, Arizona State 2 5. Felix Jones, Arkansas 2 5. DeMaundray Woolridge, Washington St. 2 5. Ray Rice, Rutgers 2 5. Steve Slaton, West Virginia 2 5. Aaron Brown, TCU 2 5. Javon Ringer, Michigan State 2 5. James Davis, Clemson 2

Double Trouble
For the first time in 13 years, UCF had two players rush for 100 yards in a game. In the Tulane game, true freshman TB Kevin Smith totaled 18 carries for 113 yards while junior TB Jason Peters ran for 110 yards on nine carries.

It was the first time in UCF's Division I-A history two running backs rushed for 100 yards in the same game.

The last time UCF had two rushers over 100 yards was Sept. 5, 1992 vs. Gardner-Webb when Richard Blake ran for 189 yards on 18 carries and Gerod Davis accumulated 151 yards on 18 attempts.

First Non-QB TD Pass since 1992
Kevin Smith tossed a 12-yard touchdown pass to Darcy Johnson to become the first non-quarterback since 1992 at UCF to throw a touchdown pass.

The last non-quarterback to throw a scoring strike for UCF was WR David Bright in 1992. Bright tossed a 34-yard touchdown pass vs. Gardner-Webb.

Ironically, the 71-21 victory over Gardner-Webb was also the last time UCF had two running backs record 100 yards in the same game.

No Ordinary Joe
True freshman CB Joe Burnett has been quite a playmaker on UCF's defense and special teams. The Eustis native recorded his first two career interceptions in the Tulane victory.

It marked the first time since 1997 that a true freshman tallied an interception for UCF (Damian Demps vs. NE Louisiana on Nov. 1, 1997).

Burnett also deflected a pass into the arms of junior MLB Ronnell Sandy at the UCF goal line to prevent a Tulane scoring drive.

Burnett's two interceptions came in the fourth quarter vs. the Green Wave, including a pick in the end zone to secure the victory.

Burnett also had a 34-yard punt return vs. Tulane. He ranks second in Conference USA and 15th nationally in punt returns with an average return of 13.5 yards.

Offensive Explosion vs. C-USA's Top Defense
In UCF's 34-24 victory over Tulane, the Golden Knights accounted for 488 yards of total offense vs. the top defense in C-USA.

UCF passed for 202 yards and ran for 286 vs. the Green Wave.

Tulane entered the UCF game ranked first in the league in total defense (305.6 ypg) and 21st nationally. Tulane is still ranked No. 1 in C-USA and 32nd in the NCAA this week in total defense (336 ypg).

Interception Streak Continues
UCF has recorded at least one interception in five straight games, making it the third-longest streak in UCF's Division I-A history.

The Golden Knights have 10 interceptions in the last five games, including a season-high four vs. Tulane.

The last time UCF picked off four passes in a game was Oct. 28, 2000, in a 40-38 win at Alabama.

Consecutive Games with an INTYear Games1. 2000 92. 1999 63. 2005 53. 2003 53. 1998-99 5

Ready for Primetime
Junior WR Mike Walker is developing into one of Conference USA's best receivers. The Orlando native ranks third in C-USA in receptions per game (6.6) and fourth in league play in receiving yards per game (84.7).

For the season, Walker has 46 receptions for 593 yards, five touchdowns and three 100-yard games.

10 for Number 9
Steven Moffett has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 10 consecutive games. For the season, Moffett is 126-of-204 passing for 1,590 yards with 12 touchdowns and four interceptions. He has completed 61.8 percent of his passes in 2005.

Moffett ranks second in Conference USA in pass efficiency and sixth in total offense.

Hit the Ground Running
In two of UCF's four Conference USA games this season, the Golden Knights have rushed for the third and fourth-highest totals in UCF's Division I-A history.

The Golden Knights rushed for 286 yards vs. Tulane, the third-best total in UCF's Division I-A annals.

UCF Single-Game Rushing Records(Division I-A)1. 323 at Middle Tennessee (11/13/99)2. 298 vs. Buffalo (10/4/03)3. 286 vs. Tulane (10/21/05)4. 261 vs. Memphis (10/8/05)

Moffett on Target
Steven Moffett is one reason why the Golden Knights have been so successful in 2005.

In 2004, Moffett ended the season with nine touchdown passes and 10 interceptions.

This season, he has turned around those totals, tossing 12 touchdowns and just four interceptions.

No. 1 in Conference USA
UCF ranks first in Conference USA in rushing defense. The Golden Knights have yielded an average of 132 yards per game on the ground, which also ranks 43rd in the country.

The Golden Knights had trouble stopping opponents on the ground last season. UCF ended 2004 ranked 105th in the NCAA in rushing defense, giving up an average of 219.1 yards per game.

Peters' Big Day
George O'Leary stated prior to the season that he had several capable running backs to replace UCF's all-time leading rusher Alex Haynes. With the performance of Kevin Smith and the emergence of Jason Peters, O'Leary hit the nail on the head.

Peters exploded for 110 yards on just nine carries vs. Tulane, an average of 12.2 yards per carry.

Peters scored his first career touchdown on a 50-yard run - the longest rush for a Golden Knight in 2005 - in the second quarter. The last UCF player with a 50-yard touchdown run was Steven Moffett in 2003 vs. Marshall, when he scored on a 55-yard touchdown run.

On the season, Peters has 203 yards on 33 carries and one touchdown. His 6.2 yards per carry average leads the team.

In the Month of October
Since joining Division I-A in 1996, the Golden Knights are 23-15 in the month of October.

UCF in October1996 1-21997 2-11998 4-01999 3-12000 3-12001 3-12002 2-12003 2-22004 0-52005 3-1Totals 23-15 (.605)

Scouting East Carolina
East Carolina returns home for Homecoming this weekend vs. UCF. The Pirates are 3-4 overall and 2-2 in Conference USA following last weekend's 27-24 loss at Memphis. ECU owns wins over Duke, Rice and SMU while losing to Wake Forest, West Virginia, Southern Miss and Memphis.

The Pirates possess one of the nation's top pass defenses. ECU is ranked 10th nationally and second in Conference USA in pass defense (161 ypg). The Pirates rank 70th in total defense (386.4 ypg) and 114th in rushing defense (225.4 ypg). ECU's rushing defense is ranked last in C-USA. The Pirates have yielded an average of 27.1 points per game, 71st in the NCAA.

On offense, ECU has a potent passing attack led by QB James Pinkney. He is 29th in the country in passing efficiency and 23rd in total offense (274.1 ypg).

Aundrae Allison has put up tremendous numbers at wide receiver. He is C-USA's leading receiver in receptions per game (8.0) and receiving yards per game (108.4). Those totals also rank fourth and seventh in the nation, respectively.

ECU is 28th nationally in passing offense (258.9 ypg), 100th in rushing offense (105.7 ypg), 65th in total offense (364.6 ypg) and 76th in scoring offense (24.1 ppg).

East Carolina Head Coach Skip Holtz
Louis "Skip" Holtz became East Carolina University's 19th head football coach in the school's all-time history on Dec. 3, 2004.

Holtz, who has played an active role on coaching staffs which have captured seven major bowl titles in eight appearances since 1987, officially ended a six-year position on the South Carolina offensive staff.

Holtz came to South Carolina after a successful five-year stint as head coach at the University of Connecticut. While at Connecticut, he led the Huskies to their best season in school history in 1998.