Sept. 17, 2009
By Marc Daniels
Four years ago this week, UCF was about to extend its losing streak on the football field to 17 straight with a loss to USF. Already sitting at 0-2 that 2005 campaign, the Knights found a way to break through with a win the following week against Marshall in what became eight wins in nine games before falling to Tulsa in the first Conference USA Championship Game and Nevada in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, the school's first trip to a bowl game.
With the start of the National Football League season last week, I looked around the league and something stood out - just how talented that UCF offense was in 2005. How is this for a group: Detroit Lion Kevin Smith, Denver Bronco Brandon Marshall, Jacksonville Jaguar Mike Walker, New York Giant Darcy Johnson and Green Bay Packer Josh Sitton. Even backup tight end Mike Merritt and backup receiver Sergio Joachim got a chance to be in NFL camps.
All Smith did that season was average 4.7 yards a carry and score nine touchdowns and dazzle us with his long run in the bowl game of 78 yards and finish the season with almost 1,200 yards.
Marshall and Walker combined for 138 receptions and 20 touchdowns. Johnson pulled in 36 catches and Sitton became a stabilizing force for a line that got better as each game passed.
And while he never got a chance to play at the next level, quarterback Steven Moffett threw for 22 touchdowns and almost 3,000 yards.
And even though he was not on offense, that season also included the punt return sensation that was Joe Burnett, who took two back for scores in 2005.
By the end of the season, UCF had snapped the streak, won the east division of the conference and played in the school's first ever bowl game. It was a season every Knights fan will remember because of all the firsts that took place.
But part of a program's tradition is to look back and see what became of the stars. For that 2005 team, the offensive stars aligned... in the NFL.
Marc Daniels' From the Pressbox runs several times per month on UCFAthletics.com. Listen to Marc during UCF football, men's basketball and baseball radio broadcasts on the UCF-ISP Sports Network. Each weekday, Marc hosts "The Beat of Sports" on ESPN 1080 in Orlando from 9-11 a.m.