Playing a complete 60 minute game of football has been what UCF head coach George O'Leary has been preaching to the team since the beginning of the season. Last week, during the Knights' 54-17 blowout victory over Marshall, UCF (6-2, 4-0) played its most complete game of football all season.
The squad accumulated 568 yards of total offense and held one of the nation's top offenses to 364 total yards and only two touchdowns. The Knights also accounted for 213 yards and two touchdowns on special teams by Orlando native Quincy McDuffie.
For as much success as UCF had against Marshall, the Knights don't expect that performance to be the peak of their season.
"There's always room for improvement," senior h-back Dontravius Floyd said. "Coach always preaches about staying consistent. We were pretty consistent last game and we want to keep it up."
"We want to play a complete game, offense, defense and special teams," senior h-back Brendan Kelly said. "That's what we're going to strive for each week."
UCF has four games left this season. This weekend the Knights will take on the SMU Mustangs (4-4, 3-1), who have scored 116 points in the last two games. The Mustangs will have to take on the Knights' top ranked defense in Conference USA. UCF continues to lead the conference in total defense (354.2 yards per game) and scoring defense (21.4 points per game).
SMU's run defense is first in the conference giving up 119. 1 yards per game, but this weekend the Mustangs will face one of the hottest players in the conference in senior running back Latavius Murray. In the past two weeks, the New York native ran for 348 yards and scored six total touchdowns.
"Latavius is a triple threat," Floyd said. "He brings a new element to the offense. I love playing with him."
"Tay has always been the guy. He's matured a lot, especially after being injured and on the sideline," Kelly said about Murray returning from the shoulder injury he sustained in the season opener. "There have been times he's been in the yellow jersey because he can't do much, but then he takes it off and showed that he's a leader out there and he's willing to stick it out for the team."
UCF has four games left in the regular season and the Knights know consistency and playing 60 minutes of football every week will help them accomplish their goals in the squad's final season in Conference USA.
"Every game from here on out is important, not just SMU," Floyd said. "From here to the end of the season it's important if we want to reach our goal of getting to the championship game."