Aug. 18, 2008
ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - In the final regular season game of the 2008 season, UCF will host UAB in a Conference USA East Division clash on Nov. 29 at Bright House Networks Stadium. Although UCF (7-1) and UAB (1-7) finished on different spectrums in the C-USA East Division last year, this season's game could have far larger implications.
Even during a disappointing campaign for the Blazers in 2007, they played a hard game against the Knights and gave them one of their toughest contests all year.
In last season's bout hosted by UAB in Birmingham, UCF won 45-31. UCF running back Kevin Smith turned in his greatest collegiate performance, accumulating 320 rushing yards on 41 carries, including four touchdowns. UAB hit a 30-yard field goal with 55 seconds left in the first half to tie the game at 17. It was the first and only time all season that UCF was either tied or losing going into halftime in league play. Every time the Knights would score, the Blazers answered with a score of their own, but eventually time ran out and the Knights claimed sole possession of first place in the division.
UAB returns eight offensive starters from last year's squad. Junior quarterback Joe Webb will finally be dropping the wide receiver title from his name and will become the Blazers' starting quarterback. Last season, Webb had 679 passing yards on 65 completions, including five touchdowns. Webb was also the team's second leading receiver with 30 receptions for 459 yards with three touchdowns, and second leading rusher with 67 carries for 288 yards with a touchdown.
Webb will have several threats on the offensive side of the ball. Sophomore wide receiver Frantrell Forrest led the team last year with 563 yards on 49 receptions, including five touchdowns. Forrest proved that last year's successful freshman campaign was no fluke when he caught14 receptions for 238 yards and four touchdowns in three spring scrimmages. Senior wide receiver Sylvester Mencer also had a strong spring game, racking up 102 receiving yards with a 39-yard touchdown, and tight end Zach Lankford had a team-high six receptions.
The defense returns nine starters from a year ago. The strength of the team might be a secondary that returns four players with starting experience, led by senior all-conference safety Will Dunbar, who led C-USA in tackles last year with 12.2 per game.
Two returning starters at outside linebacker, senior Joe Henderson (109 total tackles, five sacks and two interceptions) and sophomore Mike Tashman (64 total tackles, two sacks, one interception and two forced fumbles), missed time in the spring with injuries but are on track to be ready for the season.
In 2007, UCF went 10-4, claimed the C-USA Championship and participated in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
Season tickets for the 2008 UCF football campaign are currently available. To order season tickets, or to learn more abut attending games at Bright House Networks Stadium, call 407-UCF-1000. The Knights are scheduled to play six home contests this year.
For the latest news on the Knights, log on to www.UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit www.UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.