ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Embarking on its first road game since Sept. 8, UCF (4-2, 2-0) travels to Tennessee to rumble with Memphis (1-5, 1-1) Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. The Knights will be hoping this serves as the first of two trips to the Volunteer State this year, as the C-USA champion has historically advanced to the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
Saturday - Memphis, Tenn. - 8 p.m. ET 2012 Records:
Memphis - 1-5 Overall, 1-1 C-USA
UCF - 4-2 Overall, 2-0 C-USA Stadium:
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium (61,000) Series:
UCF leads, 7-1 Live Coverage:
740-AM - Orlando
540-AM - Maitland
1350-AM - Clearwater
1340-AM - Daytona Beach
770-AM - Fort Myers UCF Gameday Twitter.com/UCF_Football Television:
CSS/Bright House Sports Network
Team Notes THE MATCHUP
The last time UCF visited Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, it took down both Memphis (37-17) in the regular season and Georgia (10-6) in the postseason during the Knights' 11-3 campaign in 2010.
Both UCF and Memphis are competing in their final seasons in Conference USA before joining the BIG EAST next year.
The Knights have a seven-game winning streak over Memphis, as head coach George O'Leary is 7-0 all-time vs. the Tigers.
Boasting a 7-1 overall record in the series, UCF's lone loss came in the Knights' first season at the FCS level in 1990.
The Knights have scored at least 26 points in every game vs. Memphis, including a 41-0 shutout in Orlando in 2011 when they led in total yards, 505-134.
UCF has a 15-4 record vs. teams from the Volunteer State.
Memphis opened the year with a 0-4 record, but rookie head coach Justin Fuente notched his first victory vs. Rice Oct. 6. After a 41-7 loss at ECU Oct. 13, the Tigers stand at 1-5 on the year and 0-1 in C-USA.
Junior quarterback Jacob Karam is 87-for-146 with just one interception and six touchdowns.
Sophomore defensive lineman Martin Ifedi leads the team with 4.5 sacks, while junior defensive back Lonnie Ballentine has a pair of interceptions.
The Tigers are minus-1 in turnover margin, as they have fumbled 18 times this year and lost 10 of them.
LONGEST WINNING STREAKS VS. OPPONENTS
UCF's seven-game winning streak against Memphis is tied for the longest over a single opponent in school history. The Knights also entered 2012 with a seven-game streak vs. Marshall (UCF travels to Huntington Oct. 27). Opponent - Streak - Years
Memphis - 7 games - 2005-active
Marshall - 7 games - 2005-active
Bethune-Cookman - 6 games - 1990-active
NOTES FROM THE WIN OVER SOUTHERN MISS
By defeating Southern Miss, 38-31, in double overtime Oct. 13, UCF claimed its first overtime victory (now 1-6 all-time).
The contest was the first game in UCF history to require at least two overtimes to decide a victor. This year there have been three FBS games that needed at least two OTs, and UCF is the only home team to get a victory (Minnesota beat host UNLV in three OTs, Marshall beat host Rice in two OTs).
It was the 100th win since joining the FBS in 1996.
The win allowed the Knights to move their record to 4-2 overall and 2-0 in C-USA, which is the identical record they had in 2010 before winning the league title and the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
FACING PRESSURE SITUATIONS
Last year, UCF was 0-6 in games decided by seven points or less. This season, it dropped a 21-16 affair to Missouri, but has since rebounded with two-straight wins.
That includes the 38-31 nail-biter over USM, which was the first UCF win when the score was decided by seven points or less since the 10-6 victory over Georgia in the 2010 AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
Also in a close battle early, UCF fell behind to East Carolina, 14-0, in the first quarter before countering with 20-unanswered points in a 40-20 victory.
THE TURNOVER BATTLE
UCF stands first in C-USA in turnover margin at plus-4, which also is 30th in the nation.
The Knights were plus-3 at Akron and plus-2 vs. Southern Miss. The only game it lost the turnover battle was vs. FIU at minus-1.
Offense Notes GROUND GAME SPARKS OT WIN
In the 38-31 double-overtime victory against Southern Miss, UCF ran a total of seven plays in the extra sessions - six rush, one pass.
The offensive line along with fullback Billy Giovanetti and tight end Justin Tukes dominated the Golden Eagles up front in OT, as the Knights averaged 6.2 yards per rush (37 yards, six attempts).
Latavius Murray ran for both touchdowns, and had 28 of those rushing yards on five carries. The only pass was a 13-yard first-down completion from Blake Bortles to J.J. Worton.
Conversely, USM ran eight plays in the two overtimes - four rush, four pass.
Not to be outdone, starting running back Storm Johnson rushed for a career-high 94 yards in the win, including a key 32-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
MURRAY CONTINUES HIS CLIMB
With his two rushing touchdowns in overtime vs. USM, Latavius Murray now has 25 for his career as he moved past Daunte Culpepper for fourth on the UCF all-time list.
Next up on the list is Alex Haynes who owns third place with 27 rushing touchdowns from 2001-04.
The record was set by Kevin Smith from 2005-07, as he racked up 45 during his UCF career.
Game-by-game breakdown of sophomore quarterback Blake Bortles so far in 2012: Opponent - C-A-I - PCT - YDS - TD - EFF
at Akron (Win) - 13-16-1 - 81.2 - 168 - 3 - 218.82
at OSU (Loss) - 25-41-3 - 61.0 - 249 - 2 - 113.45
FIU (Win) - 20-30-1 - 66.7 - 251 - 2 - 152.28
Mizzou (Loss) - 29-43-0 - 67.4 - 267 - 2 - 134.95
ECU (Win) - 15-21-0 71.4 - 269 - 1 - 194.74
USM (Win) - 27-40-0 67.5 - 272 - 0 - 124.62
Comparing Bortles from 2011 to 2012: Season - GP-GS - C-A-I - PCT - YDS - TD - EFF
2011 - 10-0 - 75-110-3 - 68.2 - 958 - 6 - 153.9
2012 - 6-6 - 129-191-5 - 67.5 - 1,476 - 10 - 144.5
Career - 16-6 - 204-301-8 - 67.8 - 2,434 - 16 - 147.9
The Oviedo native has surpassed his career-high in passing yards every game since Ohio State. He entered 2012 with a personal-best 248 yards set in 2011 at Southern Miss.
He had a streak of eight-straight games with a touchdown pass come to an end vs. USM Oct. 13.
Bortles has completed at least 61.0 percent of his passes every game this season.
Bortles demonstrated his footwork with a personal-best 62 rushing yards on six carries with one touchdown vs. East Carolina.
Against Missouri, he completed 12-straight passes, which tied for the second-longest streak in program history.
Blake Bortles has not thrown an interception in his last 121 attempts dating back to the second quarter vs. FIU Sept. 15 (Bortles threw three picks in 110 attempts for the entire 2011 season).
If Memphis does not record an interception Saturday, it would be the fourth-straight game UCF quarterbacks did not toss a pick. The last time that happened was the final two games of 1997 and the first two contests of 1998.
Longest QB streaks without throwing an interception in UCF history: Player - Pass Attempts - Dates
1) Vic Penn - 162 - 10/2/99-11/6/99
2) Daunte Culpepper - 147 - 11/1/97-9/19/98
3) Darin Hinshaw - 123 - 10/23/93-11/27/93
4) Blake Bortles - 121 - 9/15/12-current
5) Daunte Culpepper - 116 - 9/20/97-10/25/97
SPREADING THE LOVE...AGAIN
Entering 2012, the last time at least 11 Knights hauled in a reception during a single game was at Akron Oct. 26, 2002.
This year alone, UCF has had two games in which 11 players caught a pass - Missouri and Southern Miss.
Sophomore wide receiver J.J. Worton finished the Southern Miss game with a career-high 117 yards on eight receptions (previous high was 114, also vs. USM in 2011).
Worton has bounced back handsomely when he was coming off a game in which he didn't have a catch. After no receptions at Akron, he pulled in seven balls for 96 yards. Then without a catch vs. ECU, he had his second-career 100-yard receiving day vs. the Golden Eagles.
For the year, Worton leads UCF with 25 catches and 363 yards.
Defense Notes INTERCEPTION TOTAL RISING
In the preseason, UCF stressed the importance of forcing more turnovers in 2012, as a year ago, the Knights had nine interceptions.
With two vs. Southern Miss (Jordan Ozerities and Kemal Ishmael), UCF now has six interceptions in six games this year.
The Knights already have tied or surpassed their interception totals from the entire 1982, 1996 and 2003 seasons.
UCF'S DEFENSE VS. MEMPHIS' OFFENSE
Comparing UCF's defense in terms of per-game averages and Memphis' offense: School - Rushing - Passing - Scoring - Total
UCF Defense - 137.3 - 214.2 - 22.8 - 351.5
MEM Offense - 127.5 - 160.7 - 18.3 - 288.2
Ranking both sides in C-USA this year: School - Rushing - Passing - Scoring - Total
UCF Defense - 4th - 2nd - 1st - 1st
MEM Offense - 7th - 11th - 10th - 11th
Senior safety Kemal Ishmael's interception in the second overtime vs. USM will go down as one of the most memorable plays in UCF history. And it makes sense it came from one of the best defensive players to ever put on a Black and Gold uniform.
Ishmael's pick was the fifth of his career and second of the season, while it sealed the first win over Southern Miss for the senior class.
The Miami native is 10th on the UCF all-time tackles chart, and trails ninth-place Bill Stewart by just one tackle as well as eighth-place Atari Bigby by three.
Ishmael has 49 tackles in 2012, and is on pace for 98 in the regular season. That would give him 342, which would be good for fifth in the all-time record book.
Safety Jason Venson holds the record for most tackles by a defensive back when he racked up 322 from 2005-08.
Most career tackles by a UCF defensive back: Player - Tackles - Seasons
1) FS Jason Venson - 322 - 2005-08
2) SS Atari Bigby - 296 - 2001-04
3) FS Kemal Ishmael - 293 - 2009-12
RECENT GREAT ENDINGS FOR THE DEFENSE
Kemal Ishmael now has two of the best defensive plays to end a game in school history.
Before his double-overtime interception vs. Southern Miss, he had the break-up on Georgia's Hail Mary pass to clinch the 10-6 victory in the 2010 AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
In that 2010 season, Emery Allen had a break-up on fourth down in the last minute to defeat Houston, 40-33.
In 2009, the defense also stalled UAB with 11 seconds left in a 34-27 win. And vs. Marshall that season, UCF trailed 20-14 with less than three minutes remaining until Bruce Miller forced a fumble on 2nd-and-1 at the Marshall 29-yard line. That set up the offense which found the endzone on the ensuing drive. The Thundering Herd then had the ball with 17 seconds left at their own 45, but Miller's 17-yard sack ended the game.
AN INTERCEPTION TO END THE GAME
Before the victory over Southern Miss, the last time UCF won with an interception on the final play of the game was in 2007.
In the 2007 opener at NC State with the Wolfpack trailing 25-23, they had the ball on its own 46 with 4.5 seconds left. However, Joe Burnett intercepted Harrison Beck's desperation pass, prompting a huge celebration by the Knights.
Special Teams Notes THE GREATEST
Senior Quincy McDuffie became UCF's all-time kick return king with 66 more yards vs. Southern Miss. That enabled the Orlando native to move past Ted Wilson for first in school history with 2,146 yards. The record had stood since 1986.
McDuffie also ran back a 99-yard kickoff to the house vs. ECU, which came right after the Pirates took a 14-0 lead. He was named C-USA Special Teams Player of the Week for that performance.
McDuffie tied Todd Cleveland for the UCF career record with his fourth kickoff return for a touchdown.
McDuffie's kickoff returns for touchdowns: Opponent - Date - Yards
Samford - Sept. 5, 2009 - 95
NC State - Sept. 11, 2010 - 93
at Tulane - Nov. 20, 2010 - 95
East Carolina - Oct. 4, 2012 - 99
UCF and Kansas State are the only two teams in the nation to have a kickoff return for a touchdown every year since 2007.