ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - UCF will be on the road for its next two contests, and it all starts at UTEP Saturday at 7 p.m. ET on FOX College Sports. The Knights are 7-2 on the year and 5-0 in Conference USA, while the Miners are 2-7 and 1-4 in league play.
Saturday - El Paso, Texas - 7 p.m. ET 2012 Records:
UTEP - 2-7 Overall, 1-4 C-USA
UCF - 7-2 Overall, 5-0 C-USA Stadium:
Sun Bowl (51,500) Series:
UCF leads, 2-1 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: FOX College Sports
Team Notes THE MATCHUP
The Black and Gold is one game ahead of East Carolina (6-4, 5-1) in the East Division, and UCF defeated ECU Oct. 4, 40-20. However if the Knights win at UTEP, the division cannot be clinched since East Carolina has a bye. Marshall (4-5, 3-2) is the only other team with two losses or less, and UCF posted a 54-17 win over the Thundering Herd Oct. 27.
A victory at UTEP would be the sixth-straight for UCF, which would be the longest streak since a seven-game spurt in 2007. The Knights have never began a conference schedule with a 6-0 record.
UCF is currently receiving votes in both national polls, checking in at 33rd in the AP top 25 and 36th in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
This will be just the second trip to El Paso for the Knights, who lead the all-time series, 2-1. Both of those victories occurred in Orlando, with UTEP winning on its home field in 2008.
In last year's meeting, current senior Latavius Murray ran for 233 yards, the fourth-most in UCF history, in a 31-14 Knights' win. All 14 of UTEP's points were in the fourth quarter, which had 33 rushes for 66 yards.
The Knights are 14-9 vs. teams from the Lone Star State.
The Miners will be fresh off of their bye week, and they claim a 2-7 record with a 1-4 mark in C-USA. Both of their wins have come at home (New Mexico State, Tulane).
In its last outing, UTEP fell behind, 45-7, at Houston Oct. 27 before ultimately falling, 45-35. The Miners used three different quarterbacks in the game: senior Nick Lamaison was 8-of-14 with four interceptions, junior Carson Meger posted 5-of-8 numbers and RS freshman Blair Sullivan was 6-of-10 with two touchdowns.
UTEP averages 133.0 rushing yards and 236.1 passing yards a game, while it is minus-4 in turnover ratio. On defense, junior Horace Miller has six of the team's 13 sacks.
HOMECOMING GAME NOTES
With the win over SMU, UCF claimed its 200th overall victory since the program's inception in 1979.
The Knights won their fourth-straight Homecoming game in that 42-17 win over the Mustangs. During that streak, UCF has scored at least 37 points in all four of those games.
ALL ABOUT SACKS
In the last two games, UCF has combined for seven sacks, while opponents have just one sack. For the season, the defense has 20 sacks and the UCF offensive line has given up only 12.
GET AHEAD EARLY
UCF is outscoring opponents 177-78 in the first half this year. The only game it did not lead at halftime was when it trailed at Ohio State, 17-10.
That includes 113 points in the second quarter.
UCF STANDS FOR DISCIPLINE
UCF had just two penalties vs. SMU, and ranks eighth in the FBS in fewest penalties per game.
Fewest penalties per game in the FBS: School - Average - W-L Record
T1) Navy - 3.44 - 6-3
T1) Kansas State - 3.44 - 9-0
T3) Air Force - 3.67 - 5-4
T3) Kansas - 3.67 - 1-8
T5) Boston College - 3.78 - 2-7
T5) Wisconsin - 3.78 - 6-3
7) Arizona State - 3.89 - 5-4
8) UCF - 4.00 - 7-2
Before 2012, UCF's last three winning seasons all witnessed the Knights rank in the top 23 in penalties: Season - Average-Rank - Season Note
2007 - 5.29-18th - C-USA Champs
2009 - 4.00-3rd - St. Pete Bowl
2010 - 5.07-23rd - C-USA Champs
2012 - 4.00-8th - ???
Offense Notes PRODUCING YARDS
Senior running back Latavius Murray has carried the ball 96 times this season and has only been tackled behind the line of scrimmage six times.
Five of those six rushes have been for just a loss of one yard, while the other went for a loss of two yards. In all, Murray at least gets to the line of scrimmage 94 percent of the time.
Murray needs just four more attempts to qualify for the minimum of 100, but his 7.2 yards per carry would set a school single-season record.
UCF single-season record for average yards per carry (minimum 100 carries): Player - Average - Season
--- Latavius Murray - 7.22 (693/96) - 2012
1) Gerod Davis - 6.44 (1,179/183) - 1992
2) Aaron Sam - 6.00 (648/108) - 1986
Meanwhile, Murray's 5.73 career average currently ranks first on the UCF all-time chart.
YOU WANT MORE ON MURRAY? YOU GOT IT!
In his 10th-career start, Latavius Murray had 155 yards on 23 carries with two touchdowns vs. SMU, and also had a receiving touchdown. He did that without carrying the ball once in the fourth quarter.
Murray's first-half production this year (missed three games with an injury): Opponent - First-Half Stats - Overall
at Akron - 14-108-1 TD - 14-108-1 TD
East Carolina - 3-24-0 TD - 9-30-0 TD
Southern Miss - 3-22-0 TD - 11-52-2 TD
at Memphis - 11-154-2 TD - 23-192-2 TD
at Marshall - 12-110-2 TD - 16-156-3 TD
SMU - 16-124-2 TD - 23-155-2 TD
Murray has posted three-consecutive 100-yard rushing games, tied for the fourth-longest streak in UCF history. He now has seven 100-yard games for his career, which are tied for the sixth-most by a Knight.
The New York product also has four-straight games with at least two rushing touchdowns, and he now has 10 touchdowns on the ground this year, which is tied for 10th in a single season.
With his outing vs. SMU, Murray entered a prestigious group as he became just the ninth UCF player to amass 2,000 career rushing yards (2,011).
In the last four games, Murray has accounted for 11 touchdowns (nine rushing, two receiving).
Murray ranks third all-time at UCF with 32 rushing touchdowns.
Murray has a streak of 305-consecutive carries without losing a fumble (Memphis in 2008), and has not fumbled at all in 172 carries (FIU in 2011). Those were the only two fumbles as a Knight since 2008.
SCORING CONTINUES TO GO UP
UCF is averaging 36.7 points per game in 2012, the most in the FBS era (since 1996), and the second-most in program history. The record stands at 37.3 in 1992.
Highest scoring average in UCF history: Season - Average - Points/Games
1) 1992 - 37.3 - 373/10
2) 2012 - 36.7 - 330/9
3) 1994 - 36.3 - 399/11
The Knights have scored at least 16 points in all nine games this year. The last time they accomplished that feat through the first nine games was when the 2000 squad scored 17 points or more in all 11 contests. That also was the only season in school history the Knights posted at least 16 points in every single game.
UCF has scored at least 50 points in a game twice in 2012, the first time that has happened since 2001.
Since joining C-USA in 2005, UCF has never ranked in the top three in scoring offense. Currently, the Knights are third in the league behind only Marshall (39.7) and Tulsa (36.8).
THIS IS A LARGE PARTY
A total of 15 different Knights have scored a touchdown this year (including A.J. Bouye on defense), led by Latavius Murray who has 12 and Quincy McDuffie with five.
In all, 10 different players have at least one receiving touchdown.
SHARING THE WEALTH
Four Knights have at least 20 receptions this year, with J.J. Worton pacing all receivers with 33. A redshirt sophomore, Worton now has 74 career receptions in 21 games. If Worton can play 50 games in his UCF career, he would be on pace to post 176 receptions, good for fifth on the all-time chart.
Fellow sophomore Rannell Hall leads UCF with four touchdown catches. He currently has an 18.1 average gain per reception, and that would rank sixth on the single-season register.
Junior Jeff Godfrey also has shined in his first year as a wideout. The Miami native boasts 26 receptions with two touchdowns, and has at least two catches in eight of his nine games played.
THE O-LINE TAKES CHARGE
UCF jumped from 35th in the nation last week to 24th after not allowing SMU to register a sack. It also ranks third in C-USA by surrendering just 1.33 sacks per contest.
In the last three games, the offensive line has allowed only two sacks.
For the year, opponents have just 12 sacks, and for a 13-game schedule, the Knights are on pace to give up 17-18 sacks this year. The last time UCF held opponents to less than 20 sacks in a single-season was 2002 (15).
Defense Notes WE ARE A MACHINE
It would not be a normal year in C-USA if UCF did not rank at the top of the league in defense.
Where UCF's defense has ranked in C-USA in the Bright House Networks Stadium-era. Category - `12 - `11 - `10 - `09 - `08 - `07
Rushing - 3rd - 1st - 1st - 1st - 1st - 2nd
Passing - 1st - 1st - 2nd - 9th - 4th - 4th
Pass Eff. - 1st - 2nd - 1st - 6th - 1st - 1st
Total - 1st - 1st - 1st - 1st - 2nd - 3rd
Scoring - 1st - 1st - 1st - 2nd - 2nd - 2nd
Top three in total defense: School - Average
1) UCF - 343.67
2) Tulsa - 385.44
3) SMU - 401.22
Top three in scoring defense: School - Average
1) UCF - 20.89
2) Tulsa - 24.89
3) SMU - 28.33
Top three in passing defense: School - Average
1) UCF - 204.11
2) Southern Miss - 225.33
3) Marshall - 231.22
Top three in passing efficiency defense: School - Rating
1) UCF - 111.46
2) SMU - 122.14
3) UTEP - 129.67
Top three in rushing defense: School - Average
1) Tulsa - 122.67
2) SMU - 132.67
3) UCF - 139.56
UCF is the only school in the country which led its respective conference in rushing defense every year from 2008-11.
AIMING FOR A SPOT IN THE TOP 10
Senior defensive end Troy Davis torched SMU's offensive line with two sacks and a forced fumble. That gave him a personal-best 6.5 sacks this year, while he now has 17.0 sacks in his career.
A look at UCF's career sacks chart: Player - Sacks - Seasons
1) Bruce Miller - 35.5 - 2007-10
2) Darrell Rudd - 31.5 - 1981-84
3) Greg Jefferson - 31 - 1991-94
4) Elton Patterson - 30.5 - 1999-02
5) Jermaine Benoit - 28.5 - 1993-97
6) Michael O'Shaughnessy - 22 - 1979-80
Bobby Spitulski - 22 - 1988-91
8) Emil Ekiyor - 20.5 - 1992-95
9) Keenan Wimbley - 19 - 1984-87
10) Dave Nelson - 18.5 - 1990-93
--- Troy Davis - 17 - 2009-12
Dating back to last year, Davis has 11.5 sacks in the last 14 games.
Davis also has a career-high 9.0 tackles for loss in 2012.
With three this year, Davis ranks tied for eighth in single-season history in forced fumbles (the record is five set three times).
SMU'S PASSING GAME NON-EXISTENT VS. UCF
The Mustangs entered the game by averaging 267.2 passing yards per game, but ended with less than half that at 133.
It was the fifth time this year a school failed to rack up more than 165 yards through the air.
Meanwhile, the UCF defense has not allowed a team to throw for over 300 yards all season. The last time the Knights went an entire year without giving up at least 300 passing yards in a game was 2001.
Fewest passing yards given up in 2012: Opponent - Passing Yards - C-A-INT-TD
1) at MEM - 121 - 20-28-1-0
2) SMU - 133 - 16-29-0-0
3) FIU - 154 - 13-29-0-1
4) at OSU - 155 - 18-24-1-1
5) USM - 165 - 14-27-2-0
GETTING NOTHING ON THE D
SMU gained just 259 yards of total offense vs. UCF Nov. 3. That was the lowest total by an opponent since 134 by Memphis Oct. 29, 2011.
The last three teams UCF has faced, Memphis (4.9), Marshall (3.7) and SMU (4.3), all have failed to average at least 5.0 yards per play. Conversely, the UCF offense has netted at least a 4.9 average in all nine contests in 2012 (highest was 9.2 vs. Marshall).
Not one team has averaged 6.0 yards per play or better on the Knights this year.
GRAY HASSLES SMU UP FRONT
Junior defensive lineman Victor Gray tied a career-high with six tackles in the win over SMU, which was highlighted by his first solo sack of the year.
He tied defensive backs Brandon Alexander and Kemal Ishmael for the team lead in tackles in the game.
The last time a lineman led the team (or tied for the team lead) in tackles for a game was when Bruce Miller and Darius Nall each had six against Rice Oct. 23, 2010. In all, UCF went 27-straight games without having a lineman lead the Knights in tackles before Gray's performance.
Special Teams Notes BACK WHERE IT BELONGS
UCF once again ranks in the top 15 in kickoff returns, placing 12th with a 26.75 average.
The Knights have been in the top-13 in the country in kickoff returns every year since 2008, highlighted by first in 2010.
A transfer from Army, Sean Maag has impressed on special teams, leading the way with 12 tackles, all on the kickoff cover unit. That includes four at Marshall.
On nine of those 12 tackles, the returner mustered 19 yards or less on his attempt, and opponents started inside the 25-yard line eight times.
Quincy McDuffie tied an NCAA record, and set a C-USA and UCF record with two kickoff returns for a touchdown at Marshall. It has now happened just 17 times in NCAA history (including twice on Oct. 27 as Utah's Reggie Dunn did it as well). He earned his second C-USA weekly award of the season for his effort.
McDuffie's 2,384 career yards rank seventh all-time in league history, his 28.0 career average is second in C-USA and six career touchdowns is second as well.
Where McDuffie ranks on the UCF career charts: Category - Rank - Stat
KO Return Yards - 1st - 2,384
KO Return TDs - 1st - 6
KO Returns - 3rd - 85
McDuffie also ranks tied for first in single-season history (Todd Cleveland in 1994) with three returns for touchdowns this year.
UCF and Kansas State are the only two teams to have a KO return for a TD every year since 2007.