ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Battling its fourth-straight Conference USA East Division opponent, UCF travels to Marshall (3-4, 2-1) to face the Thundering Herd Saturday at 8 p.m. The Knights (5-2, 3-0) are looking to stay in sole possession of first place in the division, as East Carolina and Marshall both have one C-USA loss.
Saturday - Huntington, W.Va. - 8 p.m. 2012 Records:
Marshall - 3-4 Overall, 2-1 C-USA
UCF - 5-2 Overall, 3-0 C-USA Stadium:
Joan C. Edwards Stadium (38,019) Series:
UCF leads, 7-3 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:
CBS Sports Network
Team Notes THE MATCHUP
A victory would make UCF bowl eligible for the fifth time in the last eight seasons.
UCF claims first in C-USA in total, scoring, passing and passing efficiency defense. Meanwhile, Marshall is first in the league in total, scoring, passing and passing efficiency offense.
UCF and Marshall have played every year since 2002 when the two schools were football members of the MAC. Since that first meeting, UCF is 7-3 overall, including winning seven-straight games dating back to the teams' C-USA debuts in 2005.
In 2011, UCF outgained Marshall in total yards, 387-130, for a 16-6 win in a torrential downpour in Orlando. UCF RB Brynn Harvey rushed for 180 yards, while Marshall QB Rakeem Cato was 11-for-29 for 87 yards.
Following a convincing 59-24 win at Southern Miss, Marshall stands at 3-4 on the year and 2-1 in Conference USA.
Now a sophomore, quarterback Rakeem Cato ranks first in the nation in passing (35.57 completions per game) and passing yards per game (378.71), and second in total offense (384.86)
Marshall has scored the second-most points in C-USA (302), but has given up the most points (291) of all 12 schools.
The Thundering Herd produced 629 total yards vs. USM, and they rank fourth in the country with a 568.43 average.
Marshall ranks 95th of all FBS schools (120 total) with a minus-5 turnover margin.
SIMILARITIES BETWEEN 2010 AND 2012
Through the first seven games, this season has several similarities with the 2010 campaign, which was UCF's most successful of all-time as it went 11-3, finished ranked No. 20/21 and won the C-USA title as well as the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
Comparing 2010 and 2012 through seven games: 2010 - 2012
Had 2-2 non-conf. record - Had 2-2 non-conf. record
Started C-USA 3-0 - Started C-USA 3-0
35+ PTS in 1st 3 C-USA GP - 35+ PTS in 1st 3 C-USA GP
369.7 YDS per game - 400.7 YDS per game
6 interceptions - 7 interceptions
29 penalties - 29 penalties
47% conv. third downs - 45% conv. third downs
29 touchdowns scored - 30 touchdowns scored
Leading tackler: Ishmael - Leading tackler: Ishmael
Here's a primary difference between the two squads. In 2010, it averaged 190.6 rushing yards and 179.1 passing yards. This year, the Knights have averages of 169.3 rushing yards and 231.4 passing yards.
ANOTHER WINNING STREAK ON THE LINE
The Knights moved their winning streak over Memphis to eight with their 35-17 win Oct. 20, which is an all-time record against a single opponent.
This Saturday, UCF can match that streak as it has a seven-game winning streak over Marshall. Opponent - Streak - Years
Memphis - 8 games - 2005-active
Marshall - 7 games - 2005-active
Bethune-Cookman - 6 games - 1990-active
During the current seven-game winning streak, UCF has outscored Marshall, 195-102, and has outgained the Thundering Herd in rushing yards, 1,380-610, including holding them to just 11 rushing yards in 2005, 37 in 2010 and 43 in 2011.
THE RIVALRY CONTINUES
Oct. 27 will be the 11th meeting with Marshall, which will rank as the third-longest series in UCF's short football history (dates back to just 1979).
UCF's longest series vs. opponents: School (Years) - Games - Record
Bethune-Cookman (1981-95) - 15 - 10-5
East Carolina (1991-12) - 12 - 3-9
Georgia Southern (1982-91) - 11 - 1-10
Liberty (1987-02) - 11 - 8-3
Samford (1985-09) - 11 - 8-3
Marshall (2002-11) - 10 - 7-3
Eastern Kentucky (1982-00) - 10 - 3-7
TURNOVERS AND PENALTIES
UCF stands second in C-USA in turnover margin at plus-6, which also is 25th in the nation.
It is 10th in the FBS with only 4.14 penalties per game.
Offense Notes MURRAY TAKES OVER
Starting his first game since the opener at Akron, senior running back Latavius Murray blew up in the win at Memphis.
The New York native had 192 rushing yards on 23 carries, marking the 12th most yards by a UCF running back in single-game history.
Single-game rushing yards: Player - Stats - Opponent
1) Kevin Smith - 41-320 - UAB, 11/10/07
2) Kevin Smith - 39-284 - TULSA, 12/1/07
3) Willie English - 25-242 - ARKST, 10/5/91
4) Latavius Murray - 21-233 - UTEP, 11/25/11
5) Marquette Smith - 33-225 - ULM, 10/28/95
6) Kevin Smith - 33-223 - ULL, 9/29/07
T7) Kevin Smith - 46-219 - UTEP, 11/24/07
T7) Brynn Harvey - 42-219 - MEM, 10/3/09
9) Kevin Smith - 35-217 - NCST, 9/1/07
10) Marquette Smith - 39-203 - B-CU, 11/1/95
11) Kevin Smith - 29-202 - NEV, 12/24/05
12) Latavius Murray - 23-192 - MEM, 10/20/12
The 192 rushing yards are the second-most by a C-USA player this year (Houston's Charles Sims had 210 vs. North Texas Oct. 6).
Highlighted in his 192 yards were carries of 83 and 50 yards, as his previous career-long was 46 yards. The 83-yard rushing touchdown marked the second-longest rush in UCF history, behind only Kevin Smith's 87-yard TD run vs. Marshall Nov. 3, 2007.
Murray now has 1,700 career rushing yards, which gives him ninth place on the UCF all-time list (current teammate Brynn Harvey is fifth with 2,353).
He also had two rushing touchdowns vs. the Tigers, moving him into a tie for third in UCF history with 27 in a Black and Gold uniform.
Career rushing touchdowns: Player - Years - Rushing TDs
1) Kevin Smith - 2005-07 - 45
2) Willie English - 1989-91, `93 - 38
T3) Latavius Murray - 2008-12 - 27
T3) Alex Haynes - 2001-04 - 27
Average yards per rush - career: Player - Years - Average
1) Marquette Smith - 1994-95 - 5.49
2) Gerod Davis - 1992-95 - 5.46
3) Latavius Murray - 2008-12 - 5.45
Murray missed three games this year due to an injury, but has 382 rushing yards and a team-high five rushing touchdowns as well as a 6.7 average per carry (single-season record is 6.44 yards per rush by Gerod Davis in 1992).
THE STREAK CONTINUES
Sophomore quarterback Blake Bortles has gone four-straight games without recording an interception, and has a streak of 147-consecutive pass attempts without a pick. That is tied with Daunte Culpepper for the second-longest streak in program history.
Longest QB streaks without throwing an INT: Player - Pass Attempts - Dates
1) Vic Penn - 162 - 10/2/99-11/6/99
T2) Blake Bortles - 147 - 9/15/12-current
T2) Daunte Culpepper - 147 - 11/1/97-9/19/98
As a team, UCF has never had a stretch where it did not throw an interception in five-consecutive games. The last time it went four-straight was the final two games of 1997 and the first two of 1998.
Blake Bortles is 39-for-62 on third downs (62%), and has achieved the first down on 21 of those attempts. J.J. Worton has been his primary target as he has eight of those first-down receptions, following by Jeff Godfrey with five.
UCF has a 5.3 rushing average on first downs, 5.2 on second downs and 3.7 on third downs. In 29 rushing attempts on third downs, the Knights picked up the first down 20 times. They have nine of 14 rushing touchdowns on second down this season.
Wide receivers J.J. Worton and Rannell Hall are tied for the team lead with 10 plays of 20 yards or more. Last year, Hall led the way with 19, and they were all on kick returns. This year he has five via receptions and five on returns.
UCF had 11 plays that went for at least 20 yards vs. ECU, and seven against both FIU and Memphis.
Defense Notes BOUYE DELIVERS IN MULTIPLE WAYS
Helping limit Memphis to 121 passing yards, senior cornerback A.J. Bouye had a 32-yard interception return on a deep ball near the goal line, as well as a 79-yard fumble return for a touchdown. It was the longest fumble return for six points in UCF history.
Fumble recoveries and returns for a TD in UCF history of at least one yard or more*: Player - Yards - Date A.J. Bouye - 79 - Memphis, 10/20/12 Josh Robinson - 56 - UAB, 10/6/10
Bill Ballard - 56 - Nicholls State, 10/23/82
Donnell Washington - 46 - Georgia Tech, 10/26/96 Derrick Hallman - 26 - Memphis, 11/22/08
Davin Bush - 15 - Ball State, 11/14/98 * Travis Fisher was credited with a fumble recovery for a touchdown vs. Utah State in 2001, but not a fumble return as it was on a blocked field goal, so he had 63 miscellaneous yards.
Bouye now has five interceptions for his career (two in 2012), which is tied with Kemal Ishmael for first among active players.
DEFENSIVE BACKS LIMIT MEMPHIS IN THE AIR
Led by a solid DB unit including safety Clayton Geathers who tied a career-high with 13 tackles and forced a fumble, Memphis was only able to rack up 121 passing yards Oct. 20. That was the 13th time dating back to 2007 that an opponent had less than 130 yards in the air.
Giving up less than 130 passing yards since the opening of Bright House Networks Stadium in 2007: Opponent - Passing Yards - Date
vs. Miss. St. - 39 - 12/29/07
Charleston So. - 70 - 9/3/11
S.C. State - 74 - 8/30/08
Tulane - 80 - 11/21/09
Boston College - 84 - 9/10/11
at Marshall - 84 - 11/15/08
Marshall - 87 - 10/8/11
at Miami (Fla.) - 88 - 10/11/08
Memphis - 101 - 10/29/11
South Dakota - 104 - 9/4/10
NC State - 105 - 9/11/10
at Memphis - 121 - 10/20/12
at FIU - 127 - 9/17/11
The Knights did not give up a deep ball to Memphis, as the longest completion went for just 17 yards. That compares to the Ohio State game where Braxton Miller's longest pass completion was only 15 yards as he completed the day with 155 passing yards.
UCF'S DEFENSE VS. MARSHALL'S OFFENSE
Comparing UCF's defense in terms of per-game averages and Marshall's offense: School - Rushing - Passing - Scoring - Total
UCF Defense - 152.0 - 200.9 - 22.0 - 352.9
Marshall Offense - 178.4 - 390.0 - 43.1 - 568.4
Ranking both sides in C-USA this year: School - Rushing - Passing - Scoring - Total
UCF Defense - 4th - 1st - 1st - 1st
Marshall Offense - 4th - 1st - 1st - 1st
THE DEFENSIVE COACHES
Led by coordinator Jim Fleming, UCF has an entirely new coaching staff on the defensive side of the ball this season.
Fleming first started as a graduate assistant at South Carolina in 1985, and conversely, defensive backs coach Kirk Callahan received his degree from UCF in 2008.
Also on the staff, Tyson Summers (linebackers) worked at UAB dating back to 2007, and Blaise Winter (defensive line) played for head coach George O'Leary at Syracuse in the early 1980s, as well as for O'Leary with the San Diego Chargers from 1992-93.
THIRD DOWN NOTE RETURNS
Memphis went just 4-of-16 on third downs Oct. 20, enabling UCF to jump back into the FBS top-20 in third-down defense.
For the year, schools are converting just 32.3 percent of their third downs to put the Knights in 19th place, as well as first in Conference USA.
The school record is 30.9 percent set in 1985.
Breaking down opponents' third-down conversions vs. the UCF defense: 1-4 Yards To Go - 5-9 YTG - 10+ YTG
14-of-29 (48.3%) - 12-of-37 (32.4%) - 6-of-33 (18.2%)
THE WEEKLY NOTE ON ISHMAEL
There seems to be always something new to share about senior safety Kemal Ishmael. This week's new stat is fumble recoveries.
Ishmael jumped on a loose ball at the UCF-2 yard line to squander a Memphis scoring chance in the first quarter Oct. 20. It was his third recovery of the season which is tied for first in C-USA. It also is seventh on the UCF single-season list.
Career fumble recoveries in UCF history: Player - Fumble Recoveries - Seasons
1) Darrell Rudd - 11 - 1981-84
T2) Kemal Ishmael - 6 - 2009-12
T2) Jeff Farmer - 6 - 1983-84
ISHMAEL'S TACKLE UPDATE
Kemal Ishmael is eighth on the UCF all-time tackles chart with 303, and trails seventh-place Tito Rodriguez who had 321 from 1998-01.
Ishmael has 59 tackles in 2012, and is on pace for 101 in the regular season. That would give him 345, 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) FS Kemal Ishmael - 303 - 2009-12
Special Teams Notes A NICE TRANSITION
Having switched over to punting duties from his role as a backup kicker, senior Jamie Boyle is making a case to have one of UCF's top punting seasons.
He is averaging 41.2 yards per boot, which would rank ninth if the season ended today. That includes Boyle's outing at Memphis where he had six punts for 288 yards and a 48.0 average. That average placed him in ninth in single-game history.