Knights Notebook: UCF 32, Memphis 14

Oct. 3, 2009

Recap | Final Stats | Quotes | Photo Gallery

UCF vs. Memphis
Oct. 3, 2009
Live from Bright House
Networks Stadium
Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
MEM 0 7 7 0 14
UCF 0 3 12 17 32

Quote of the Knight
Head coach George O'Leary:
"I think [Brynn Harvey] probably played a little too much, but I feel he has to be able to do that for us. Being able to carry the ball 40 times is something we do not see coming, but we expect him to be able to do that if he is asked to. He did a good job of running his feet when getting through the hole. But I think both Brynn and Billy Giovanetti played well, and that is what we expect to see out of our backs."

The Workhorse
Developing into a workhouse for the Knights, sophomore running back Brynn Harvey is showing his love for playing in front of his home fans on the field at Bright House Networks Stadium. He highlighted this with an incredible performance on Saturday with career-highs of 219 yards and 42 carries. In three home games in 2009, Harvey now has 428 yards on 98 carries.

"I just get behind the line and try to do the job and help us score points," the sophomore said. "I was not really tiring. It was hot and humid out there, but I just sucked it up at halftime and tried to go out there and do the job to help us get a win."

The 42 carries are the third-most in UCF history behind only two performances from Kevin Smith while his 219-yard game ties for the sixth-most in school history and marks the 10th time a UCF running back has had 200-plus yards. The 42 carries tie for fourth in C-USA history.

Harvey was incredible in the second half alone in leading the Knights to 29 points and their third come-from-behind victory of the year. He carried the ball on each of UCF's final nine plays, capped by a 25-yard touchdown run with 41 seconds left and finished the half with 25 carries and 155 yards.

"Energy always changes for us. For some reason in the second half we just come out like a whole different team," Harvey said. "I think we just like coach's speeches at halftime. We get motivated and try to come out in the second half and play hard."

Second Half Success
With Harvey carrying the load, UCF continued a season-long trend by playing significantly better in the second half. Coming out of the break trailing 7-3, and finding themselves down 14-9 late in the third quarter, the Knights scored the game's final 23 points to run away with their first Conference USA victory of the season.

UCF has not led at halftime in any of its five games this season, but has posted three wins thanks to its second-half dominance. Including a 29-7 edge against Memphis, UCF has outscored its foes 83-39 in the final 30 minutes of games in 2009.

Including 156 yards on the ground, the UCF offense had nearly 300 yards in the second half alone on Saturday. The offense was not only impressive on the ground as senior quarterback Brett Hodges went 9-for-14 for 141 yards through the air.

Move The Chains
UCF was able to muster an offensive push against Memphis that Knight fans hadn't seen in two years. The team's 28 first downs were its most since having 30 at East Carolina on Oct. 6, 2007 and the 475 yards of total offense tonight were UCF's most since having 480 against UTEP on Nov. 24, 2007. That UTEP game at Bright House Networks Stadium was also the last time prior to tonight that UCF had over 200 yards rushing and 200 yards passing in the same game. Brynn Harvey's carries accounted for 12 of those first downs.

Push Them Back
One of the strengths of the Knight defense this season has been the team's ability to stop opponents behind the line of scrimmage. Coming into the game ranked 10th nationally in tackles for a loss, UCF added six more tackles for a loss Saturday, including 3.5 from junior defensive end Bruce Miller, who had 2.5 sacks.

"First of all the credit goes to the secondary and the linebackers," Miller said. "We have to work together as a unit - the secondary, the linebackers and then the defensive line has to be able to get pressure on the quarterback. That happened today. We did a real good job."

Cattoi's Kicks
With his 4-for-4 performance Saturday, placekicker Nick Cattoi improved to a perfect 7-for-7 at home in 2009. Including two kicks from beyond 42 yards, Cattoi tied a school record with four field goals made. Cattoi now has at least three field goal games three in his career, last year at Marshall and this year against Buffalo and Memphis. The leg of the sophomore was the difference in the game for awhile as the Knight scored 12 points off field goals while Memphis had missed both of its field goal tries.

"It was a great day and I felt I was hitting it really well," Cattoi said. "I am glad I had the opportunity to get that many kicks and help my team win."

Home Sweet Home
With their third victory in as many home games in 2009, the Knights improve to 11-5 all-time at Bright House Networks Stadium. UCF also now has seven victories in 10 games against Conference USA opponents at its new on-campus stadium, including all three of its conference home openers at BHNS.

Taming the Tigers
UCF improved to 5-0 against Memphis since joining C-USA. The Knights are 4-0 against Marshall and also have an undefeated 2-0 record against SMU since joining the league prior to the 2005 season.

Junior Ricky Kay had a career day on Saturday. Including a third-quarter touchdown catch, Kay tied a career-high with four receptions and finished with a career-best 52 yards. His touchdown catch was on a seven-yard pass from senior Brett Hodges and was Kay's first touchdown of the season and the second of his career.

Starting Fresh
Two true freshman, Kemal Ishmael and Quincy McDuffie, made their first career starts in the game. Ishmael, who started at free safety, made a career-high six tackles. McDuffie earned his first start at wide receiver and had one rush with 14 yards. The pair was joined by classmate Josh Robinson, giving the Knights three true freshmen in the starting lineup. Robinson added his first career interception in the fourth quarter and returned it 33 yards.

Moving On Up
Two weeks after coaching his 150th game as a head coach, George O'Leary was on the sidelines for the 67th time at UCF. The game moved him past Mike Kruczek (66 games) for second all-time in the program's history behind Gene McDowell (127). The win marked O'Leary's 81st as a collegiate head coach.

Special Recognition
Head coach George O'Leary selects a player from the offense and the defense each week as the team's captains. For tonight's game, the captains were seniors Cliff McCray (offense) and Alex Thompson (defense). Coach O'Leary also tabs three members of the scout team as the players of the week. L.D. Crow (offense), Troy Davis (defense) and Ash Weekley (special teams) earned the distinction this week.

Other Notes
UCF improved to 5-1 all-time against Memphis... With 29 points in the second half alone, UCF scored a season-high 32 points...Adam Nissley's 34-yard reception in the third quarter was the longest of his career...Cory Hogue's third-quarter interception was his first since 2005...The Knights' 92-yard fourth-quarter scoring drive was the team's longest of the season...Including an important fourth-quarter touchdown catch, Jamar Newsome again led UCF with five catches and 59 yards receiving.