UCF Football Game Notes - Pitt Game

Oct. 8, 2006

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The UCF Golden Knights return to the gridiron on Friday, Oct. 13 against a Pittsburgh Panthers' team that is 5-1 and receiving votes in both the USA Today Coaches' Poll and the Associate Press Poll. The two teams have never met on the gridiron.

UCF is playing its final non-Saturday game of the season after spending the last month playing on weekdays. All three of those contests will have appeared on the ESPN family of networks as Friday's contest is slated for an 8 p.m. kickoff on ESPN.

The game features a trio of runnings backs who are coming off 100-yard efforts. UCF sophomore Kevin Smith rushed for 166 yards and his backfield mate Jason Peters rushed for 108 yards in the Golden Knights' 23-22 win over Marshall on Wednesday night. Pitt sophomore LaRod Stephens-Howling more than doubled his rushing total through four games of the season with a career-high total of 221 yards in a 21-11 victory over Syracuse on Saturday.

Pittsburgh at UCF Quick Hits
? This week's broadcast on ESPN marks the third straight week that the Golden Knights have appeared on an ESPN network. UCF's last two games, against Southern Miss and Marshall, were both televised on ESPN2. ? UCF will be making its eighth appearance on ESPN and first for a regular season home game. ESPN aired the Conference USA Championship game from the Florida Citrus Bowl a year ago. UCF's last appearance on ESPN was the 2005 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl against Nevada. ? Since moving up to the Division I ranks in 1996, the program has made 55 televised appearances, including 14 on national television. Nine of the national television appearances have come since George O'Leary took over as head coach in 2004. ? UCF and Pittsburgh will be meeting for the first time. All-time, the Golden Knights are 58-61-1 in 120 first meeting, with a 3-5 record during the George O'Leary era. Along with Villanova, Pittsburgh is one of two first time opponents for UCF this year. ? Including its 35-16 victory over Villanova in the season opener, UCF is 4-3 all-time against programs from Pennsylvania. The Golden Knights have played five different schools from the Keystone State and are 0-2 against Division I-A teams from Pennsylvania, having dropped a pair of contests at Penn State. ? UCF has four players from the state of Pennsylvania on its 2006 roster. Twenty-one Panthers are from the Sunshine State. ? With the Golden Knights slated to move into Bright House Stadium on campus next season, the game with Pittsburgh will serve as UCF's final non-conference contest at the Florida Citrus Bowl. The remainder of the Golden Knights' home schedule consists of Conference USA games against Rice, East Carolina and UAB.

Facing the Big East
? Pittsburgh will serve as the second opponent from the Big East Conference that the Golden Knights will face this year. On Sept. 16, UCF hosted USF. Against current Big East schools, UCF is 0-7 (0-2 USF, 0-2 West Virginia, 0-2 Syracuse). Including former Big East member Virginia Tech, the Golden Knights are 0-9 against the conference. ? The Golden Knights have faced at least one member of the Big East each season since 2000. Four of those games have been at the Florida Citrus Bowl. ? As a head coach, George O'Leary is 3-5 all-time against Big East programs, including an 0-3 mark with the Golden Knights. Versus current Big East schools, he is 2-3 (1-0 Syracuse, 1-1 West Virginia, 0-2 USF).

Two Down, One To Go
The Golden Knights are currently in a month-long stretch where the team will not play on a Saturday. UCF's last two contests - versus Southern Miss (Tuesday, Sept. 26) and at Marshall (Wednesday, Oct. 4) - were both on weekdays. The Friday game with Pittsburgh is the Golden Knights' final non-Saturday game of the season. After facing the Panthers, UCF returns to a more traditional schedule with a home date against Rice on Saturday, Oct. 21.

Three other schools in Division I-A share similar scheduling. TCU, Northern Illinois and Toledo all have stretches where they don't play on Saturday for four straight weeks. The Horned Frogs began their stretch at the same time as UCF.

On Record Pace
After nearly setting a home attendance mark last season of 142,401, Golden Knight fans are on pace to increase that total and break the record established in 1988 when 153,343 attended seven UCF home games. Through three games, 99,648 fans have come through the gates at the Florida Citrus Bowl and only once in school history has a three-game home stretch been more attended (1997; Idaho - 41,827, Samford - 22, 016 and Eastern Michigan - 39,433).

The third-largest crowd in UCF history was on hand to watch the USF game on Sept. 16 when 46,708 fans were in attendance at the Florida Citrus Bowl. The 2006 figure topped last year's USF game total at Raymond James Stadium (45,319) by 1,389.

Overall, two of the top three all-time attendance marks have occured since last year's inaugural C-USA Championship game when a UCF record 51,978 fans attended the title game at the end of the 2005 season on Dec. 3 vs. Tulsa.

The 76,108 in back-to-back home regular season games to start the 2006 year was the most in a two-game regular season home span in program history, topping the 75,313 that came to the Virginia Tech (50,220) and La.-Monroe (25,093) games in 2000. Last year, 84,613 came out to the postseason C-USA title game and the Houston game (32,635) just before that on Nov. 5. FOR MORE ON ATTENDANCE NOTES SEE SHADED COLUMN ON FOLLOWING PAGE

UCF on National TV a Record Six Times in 2006
The UCF football team will play in front of a national audience a record six-times in 2006, surpassing the five national appearances the program made in 2005. Overall, the Golden Knights have eight televised games in 2006 - also a record amount.

Since moving up to Division I in 1996, the program has made 55 televised appearances, including 14 on national television. This week, the Golden Knights will make their third-consecutive appearance on an ESPN network when they play host to Pittsburgh on Friday, Oct. 13. The team's last two games were both aired on ESPN2, including UCF's first win on the network - a 23-22 victory over Marshall.

UCF Starts to Hit the Big Play
UCF totaled 13 plays of 20 or more yards in its 23-22 win over Marshall, eight of which were credited to the offense. In its four previous games, the team combined for just 16 plays overall for 20 or more yards. UCF also recorded its first long runs of the season with two by Kevin Smith (22, 34) and one by Jason Peters (48). SEE BIG PLAY CHART.

Knights have Impressive Night on the Ground
UCF's 275 yards on the ground at Marshall was the fourth-highest total in the school's Division I-A history. Two of the top performances in UCF's I-A history have come under George O'Leary as the squad totaled 286 yards against Tulane in 2005.

Against Marshall, the Golden Knights' 156 rushing yards in the first half was more than the previous season-high for rushing yards in a game (140 against USF on Sept. 16).