UCF Football Game Notes - The Houston Game

Oct. 31, 2005

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ORLANDO -UCF looks for its sixth win in seven games Saturday when Houston visits the Florida Citrus Bowl in front of a national television audience on the i Network. The Golden Knights welcome the Cougars for Homecoming as UCF continues its remarkable turnaround. UCF is atop the standings in the East Division of C-USA with a 4-1 mark after last weekend's 30-20 victory at East Carolina. Houston was idle last week.

The i Network, which reaches more than 95 million homes nationwide, will televise the game as part of CSTV's Football Nation.

The UCF ISP Sports Network begins pregame coverage at 4 p.m. with kickoff set for 6:15 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.

A Remarkable Turnaround
George O'Leary has engineered the top turnaround in the nation. After going 0-11 in 2004, UCF is 5-3 in 2005, including a 4-1 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 24 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.

Best Turnarounds in the NCAA (as of Oct. 30)Team 2004 record 2005 record Win differentialUCF 0-11 5-3 +5Penn State 4-7 8-1 +4W. Michigan 1-10 5-3 +4TCU 5-6 8-1 +3

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

NCAA Rankings 2004 2005Category Rank Actual Rank ActualRushing Offense 113 90.1 52 153.1Rushing Defense 105 213.3 67 149.5Scoring Offense 112 14.7 63 26.1Scoring Defense 105 35.3 59 25.3Passing Offense 88 177.3 41 236.4Total Offense 115 267.5 49 389.5Total Defense 94 423.5 70 388.8Passing Efficiency 92 110.5 28 141.01Turnover Margin 64 0.00 7 1.25

Series Notes
Saturday's game is the first meeting between UCF and Houston. The game vs. Houston marks UCF's first game vs. a school from the state of Texas as a member of Division I-A.

UCF is 2-3 all-time vs. schools from the Lone Star state. The last time UCF played a team from Texas, UCF defeated Texas Southern 63-6 on November 17, 1990.

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 five games in conference play over the last four seasons:

Year Record (Conference)2002 3-2 (MAC)2003 2-3 (MAC)2004 0-5 (MAC)2005 4-1 (C-USA)

Homecoming Fact
UCF is 17-8 all-time in Homecoming games, including nine wins in its last 10 Homecoming games at the Florida Citrus Bowl.

Home Sweet Home
With a win Saturday, UCF would go undefeated at home for the season for the first time since 2001. The Golden Knights - currently 3-0 on the year at the Florida Citrus Bowl - finished the 2001 campaign 5-0 in Orlando.

The Golden Knights are 108-54-1 all-time at the Florida Citrus Bowl.

UCF has finished undefeated at home five other times in school history (2001/5-0; 1998/5-0; 1997/4-0; 1993/7-0; 1979/4-0).

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 fourth-leading rusher.

He ranks fifth in the NCAA in rushing yards for a true freshman with 651. 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 11th-highest total by a true freshman in the nation this season in a single game.

NCAA True Freshman Running Back LeadersRushing Yards1. Tyrell Sutton, NorthwesternAtt Yards Avg TD Long167 1,020 6.1 14 622. Ontario Sneed, Central MichiganAtt Yards Avg TD Long153 794 5.2 6 803. Darren McFadden, ArkansasAtt Yards Avg TD Long86 682 7.9 8 704. Javon Ringer, Michigan StateAtt Yards Avg TD Long96 693 7.2 5 595. Kevin Smith, UCFAtt Yards Avg TD Long144 651 4.5 3 44="https://ucfknights.com/http:%3E%3C/strong%3E%3Cbr%3E100-Yard%20Games1.%20Tyrell%20Sutton,%20Northwestern%20%20%20%20%20%205%3Cstrong%3E2.%20%3Cahref="http: ucfathletics.collegesports.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/smith_kevin00.html"="">Kevin Smith, UCF 3="https://ucfknights.com/http:%3E%3C/strong%3E2.%20Darren%20McFadden,%20Arkansas%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%2032.%20Ontario%20Sneed,%20Central%20Michigan%20%2032.%20Javon%20Ringer,%20Michigan%20State%20%20%20%20%2036.%20Keegan%20Herring,%20Arizona%20State%20%20%20%2026.%20Felix%20Jones,%20Arkansas%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%2026.%20DeMaundray%20Woolridge,%20Washington%20St.%2026.%20Ray%20Rice,%20Rutgers%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%2026.%20Steve%20Slaton,%20West%20Virginia%20%20%20%20%20%2026.%20Aaron%20Brown,%20TCU%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%2026.%20James%20Davis,%20Clemson%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%202%3C/pre%3E%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%3Cp%3E%3Cstrong%3EDouble%20Trouble%3C/strong%3E%3Cbr%3E%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20For%20the%20first%20time%20in%2013%20years,%20UCF%20had%20two%20players%20rush%20for%20100%20yards%20in%20a%20game%20Oct.%2021%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20vs.%20Tulane.%20Against%20the%20Green%20Wave,%20%3Ca%20href="/roster.aspx?rp_id=2655" class="imported_story_link" oldlink="/sports/m-footbl/mtt/smith_kevin00.html">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 Road Conference Win since 2002
UCF used two fourth quarter touchdown passes from Steven Moffett to Mike Walker to give the Golden Knights their first Conference USA victory on the road, 30-20 Oct. 29. The win marked the first time since Nov. 23, 2002 that UCF won a conference game away from home.

UCF topped Ben Roethlisberger and the RedHawks of Miami 48-31 in 2002.

13 Years since ...
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 prior to the Tulane game Oct. 21.

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'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 14th nationally in punt returns with an average return of 13.8 yards.

The true freshman added a critical fourth quarter INT at East Carolina to seal the 30-20 victory over the Pirates. He is tied for 38th nationally and third in Conference USA with three interceptions.

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

The Golden Knights have 13 interceptions in the last six games, including seven in their last two games.

Consecutive Games with an INTYear Games1. 2000 92. 2005 62. 1999 64. 2003 55. 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 third in league play in receiving yards per game (87.9).

He caught two key fourth quarter touchdowns vs. East Carolina to seal the 30-20 victory.

Walker has seven touchdown receptions to lead UCF in 2005. With his next touchdown catch, he will move into the top 10 annals in single-season history at UCF in touchdown receptions.

In UCF's last two victories over Tulane and East Carolina, UCF is +11 in the turnover department. The Golden Knights have forced 11 turnovers (seven interceptions, four fumbles) while not committing a single turnover in the two games.

UCF is seventh nationally and second in Conference USA with a turnover margin of +1.25.

11 for Number 9
Steven Moffett has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 11 consecutive games. Moffett is sixth in school history with a touchdown pass in 11 straight games. He also ranks third in Conference USA in pass efficiency and fifth in total offense.

Consecutive Games with a TD Pass1. Ryan Schneider 28 2001-032. Daunte Culpepper 22 1996-983. Darin Hinshaw 12 1991-923. Darin Hinshaw 12 1993-945. Vic Penn 12 1999-006. Steven Moffett 11 2004-present="https://ucfknights.com/http:%3E%3C/pre%3E%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%3Cp%3E%3Cstrong%3EBig%20Play%20Peters%3C/strong%3E%3Cbr%3E%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20Jason%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20Peters%20has%20gone%20long%20distance%20on%20two%20of%20his%20three%20touchdowns%20runs%20this%20season.%20The%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20junior%20tailback%20has%20scored%20on%20runs%20of%2050%20yards,%20one%20yard%20and%2067%20yards%20on%20his%20three%20scoring%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20plays%20this%20season.%3C/p%3E%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%3Cp%3EThe%2067-yard%20TD%20at%20East%20Carolina%20was%20the%20fifth%20longest%20run%20in%20school%20history.%3C/p%3E%3Cpre%3ELongest%20Run%20from%20Scrimmage1.%20Elgin%20Davis%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%2079*%20Samford,%2011/15/862.%20Daunte%20Culpepper%2075*%20Kent%20St.,%2010/4/973.%20John%20Muldoon%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%2073*%20Savannah%20St.,%2010/10/814.%20Marquette%20Smith%20%2068%20%20Florida%20St.,%209/23/955.%20%3Cahref="http: ucfathletics.collegesports.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/peters_jason00.html"="">Jason Peters 67* ECU, 10/29/055. Gerod Davis 67 G-Webb, 9/5/92* Touchdown run="http:>

In the Month of November
Since joining Division I-A in 1996, the Golden Knights are 15-14 in the month of November.

UCF in November1996 3-01997 2-11998 2-11999 1-22000 1-12001 2-12002 4-12003 0-42004 0-32005 0-0Totals 15-14 (.517)

Scouting Houston
The Cougars of the University of Houston come to Orlando with an overall record of 4-3, including a 2-2 mark in Conference USA. Houston was idle last week after a key non-conference victory at Mississippi State on Oct. 22, 28-16.

Along with the victory over Mississippi State, Houston also has wins vs. Sam Houston State, Tulsa and Tulane. The Cougars lost to Oregon, UTEP and Memphis, with the UTEP loss on the road in two overtimes in El Paso.

Houston has a potent offense that ranks 14th nationally in total offense (459 ypg). The Cougars have shown great balance, rushing for an average of 183.1 yards per game (32nd nationally) and passing for 276.8 yards per game (20th nationally). Houston is 40th in the NCAA in scoring offense (29.9 ppg) and third in C-USA. The Cougars are first in the league in total offense.

Defensively, Houston is 77th in the NCAA in total defense (396.7 ypg). The Cougars are 92nd in the nation against the run (181.7 ypg) and 53rd in pass defense (215 ypg).

Junior quarterback Kevin Kolb is among the league leaders in passing efficiency (fourth/134.51) and total offense (third/286.3 ypg).

Houston Head Coach Art Briles
Art Briles is in his third season as head coach of the Houston Cougars. He made history in 2003 when he led the Cougars to a 7-6 record and a berth in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl in just his first season as a collegiate head coach.

Even though the Cougars' came up short in their first bowl game in seven years, Houston's 54-48 triple overtime loss to Hawai'i was one of the most exciting bowl games not only in 2003, but in the history of college football.

Briles became the second UH head coach to lead his troops to a bowl game in his first year, joining his former coach and legendary College Football Hall of Fame head coach Bill Yeoman in this exclusive group.