Nov. 10, 2005
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - UCF (6-3, 5-1 Conference USA) travels to Birmingham this Saturday to face the UAB Blazers (4-4, 2-3 C-USA) in one of the final contests of the regular season. The Golden Knights, who have already clinched a winning season and gained bowl eligibility, now set their sights on a possible C-USA title. Kickoff for the game with the Blazers is set for 4 p.m. at Legion Field.
The game will be televised nationally by CSTV. The game will be available on DirecTV (channel 610) and also on Dish Network's America's Top 120 package (channel 152). Tom Hart and Bill Burke will have the call. The contest will also be available on the CSTV All-Access Package and on the internet at www.UCFathletics.com.
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 UAB, 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.
This will be the third meeting between the two schools, but the first as conference foes. UCF has claimed the previous two contests, a 35-13 victory in Birmingham in 1996 and a 24-7 win in Orlando in 2001.
UAB is coming off a 37-20 win over Memphis on Nov. 5. The Blazers found themselves down 17-3 early in the second quarter before turning things around. Quarterback Darrell Hackney threw for 334 yards and tailback Corey White rushed for 200 yards on the ground in the victory.
Hackney leads a high-powered UAB offense that currently ranks second overall in C-USA, averaging 446.2 yards per game. Hackney is first overall in passing yards per game, averaging 309.8 yards a contest. He also leads C-USA in total offense per game and passing efficiency.
"He (Hackney) is a very good football player," said O'Leary. "He has a lot of experience and a great arm, probably one of the strongest arms in the conference. He has receivers that can go get it, a big offensive line and a big time running back. We are going to have our work cut out for us."
Reggie Lindsey has emerged as a reliable target for Hackney. The senior wide receiver averages just over 85 receiving yards per game and has seven touchdown catches on the year. White and fellow running back Dan Burks give the Blazers a nice change of pace offensively. White averages 56.8 yards per game and has scored five touchdowns, while Burks averages 53 yards per games and has found the end zone on four occasions.
The UAB defense has also come on strong this year. The Blazers currently have the fourth-ranked defense in C-USA and are ranked second in defending the run. Linebacker Orlandus King leads the way with 64 total tackles on the year to go along with his three sacks and two interceptions. In the victory against Memphis last week, King led the way with 10 total tackles and an interception.
The Golden Knights are coming off a 31-29 victory over Houston last Saturday. UCF has won six of its last seven games and now has posted the biggest turnaround in the country this year. Their six-game win differential is first in the nation, ahead of Penn State, Western Michigan and TCU.
"UCF is a very good team," said UAB head coach Watson Brown. "They have probably the best tandem of receivers in the league (Mike Walker, Brandon Marshall). Their quarterback is playing well, they have big tight ends and a very solid defense who leads Conference USA in turnover margin. They've also got one of the best punters in the league. We have to play well to win."
The UCF offense received contributions from nearly everyone last week. Quarterback Steven Moffett completed 21-of-30 pass attempts for 275 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran five times for 28 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
The Golden Knights had 220 yards total on the ground versus the Cougars. Kevin Smith led the team with 92 rushing yards off of 28 carries. Smith is currently ranked third in C-USA in rushing yards per game with an average of 82.6 yards per game.
Tight end Darcy Johnson turned in his best performance of the season, hauling in six catches for 91 yards. Wide Receiver Brandon Marshall had seven catches for 120 yards and a touchdown. Marshall is ranked fourth in C-USA in receiving yards per game with an average of 85.4 yards per game to go along with seven touchdowns on the year. Fellow wideout Mike Walker has eight touchdown catches in 2005.
The Golden Knights held off Houston with the game on the line. Defensive end Paul Carrington posted a sack on the Cougars final possession to help secure the win. Linebacker Cory Hogue had his best game of the season, recording eight tackles and his first career interception.