ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Winners of the East Division for the fourth time in eight years, UCF travels to Tulsa for the C-USA Championship Game Saturday at noon ET on ESPN2. The two programs are 1-1 all-time against each other in the league title game.
Team Notes THE MATCHUP
Since 2005 and the first C-USA Championship Game, no other conference has had two teams play each other more in its respective title game than the matchup between UCF and Tulsa.
UCF is already bowl eligible for the fifth time in the last eight seasons.
Tulsa leads overall, 4-2, and is 2-0 at home including a 23-21 win in Oklahoma Nov. 17 when TU outgained UCF, 461-235.
This is the third time they have met in the C-USA title game. Tulsa won the inaugural contest in 2005, 44-27, after the Knights led 24-21. In 2007, UCF held a 24-20 lead before outscoring the Golden Hurricane 20-5 the rest of the way.
UCF was -4 in turnovers in 2005, but was +2 in the 2007 win. The victor in each game also had the advantage in penalties and sacks.
Tulsa trailed at SMU, 35-6, and scored the game's final 21 points before ultimately falling, 35-27. That dropped its record to 9-3 on the year and 7-1 in Conference USA.
The Golden Hurricane outgained the Mustangs, 591-305, but had a minus-3 turnover margin and was 5-for-18 on third downs.
Tulsa is averaging 82 plays per game, and ranks first in C-USA in rushing offense (236.1), rushing defense (120.0), total defense (355.9) and kickoff returns (27.5).
Quarterback Cody Green is completing 54.7 percent of his passes, while Tulsa has rushed for 34 touchdowns.
Opponents have only eight sacks on TU's offensive line.
C-USA TITLE GAME NOTES
UCF and Tulsa are making their fourth appearances in the C-USA title game, the most of any school in the league. Houston is second with three.
Most conference title game appearances since 2005: School - Appearances - Record - Conference
Virginia Tech - 5 - 3-2 - ACC
UCF - 4* - 2-1 - C-USA
Tulsa - 4* - 1-2 - C-USA
N. Illinois - 4* - 1-2 - MAC * - Includes this week
Since C-USA introduced the title game in 2005, the road team is 3-4, while the East Division is 5-2.
C-USA Championship Game results: Season - Result - Site
2005 - Tulsa 44, UCF 27 - Orlando, Fla.
2006 - Houston 34, USM 20 - Houston, Texas
2007 - UCF 44, Tulsa 25 - Orlando, Fla.
2008 - ECU 27, Tulsa 24 - Tulsa, Okla.
2009 - ECU 38, Houston 32 - Greenville, N.C.
2010 - UCF 17, SMU 7 - Orlando, Fla.
2011 - USM 49, Houston 28 - Houston, Texas
UCF and East Carolina are the only schools to win two C-USA Championship Games.
COMPARING 2005 AND 2007
UCF and Tulsa are 1-1 against each other in C-USA title games. Comparing the 2005 and 2007 contests: Category - 2005 - 2007
Halftime Score - TLS, 31-27 - UCF, 31-23
Final Score - TLS, 44-27 - UCF, 44-25
Rushing Yards - TLS, 196-149 - UCF, 308-32
Passing Yards - TLS, 205-190 - TLS, 438-128
Turnovers - TLS 0, UCF 4 - TLS 3, UCF 1
Penalties - TLS 4, UCF 7 - TLS 8, UCF 3
Red Zone - TLS 6-6, UCF 1-2 - TLS 2-4, UCF 4-4
Sacks - TLS 4, UCF 3 - TLS 1, UCF 6
GETTING TO 10?
A win on Saturday would bring UCF's total to 10, which would be the fourth time since the program's inception in 1979 that it reached double-figures.
Most victories in a single-season: Season - Record - Win Percentage
1) 2010 - 11-3 - .786
T2) 2007 - 10-4 - .714
T2) 1990 - 10-4 - .714
T4) 2012 - 9-3 - .750
T4) 1987, 1993 and 1998 each had 9 wins
UCF tied the school mark for most wins in conference play (2005, 2007, 2010, 2012 all had seven).
ALL-TIME WINNINGEST CLASS
A total of 20 Knights, who have qualified for three bowls since 2009, tied the school record for most wins by a senior class when they topped UAB.
Three members may have played for UCF in 2008 (Rob Calabrese, Brynn Harvey, Latavius Murray), but the last four seasons have produced a combined record of 33-18 from 2009-12.
Best combined records over a four-year stretch: Seasons - Record - Win Percentage
1) 1987-90 - 32-16 - .667
2) 1990-93 - 31-16 - .660
3) 2009-12 - 33-18 - .647
4) 1989-92 - 29-16 - .644
Most victories over a four-year stretch: Seasons - Record - Win Percentage
T1) 2009-12 - 33-18 - .647
T1) 2007-10 - 33-20 - .623
WINNING THE TURNOVER BATTLE
UCF has a plus-10 turnover margin to rank 18th in the nation and second in C-USA behind only SMU.
Best turnover margin in UCF history (since 1979): Season - UCF Turnovers - Opp. Turnovers - Margin
1) 1981 - 29 - 42 - +13
2) 2005 - 20 - 32 - +12
3) 2012 - 14 - 24 - +10
Offense Notes 2010 C-USA CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
In the 17-7 2010 title game win over SMU, Latavius Murray rushed for 94 yards and had a first-quarter 5-yard touchdown reception as well as a third-quarter 36-yard rushing TD to earn MVP honors.
Jeff Godfrey was 15-for-19 with 167 yards in the air as a true freshman, as Kamar Aiken led the receivers with four catches for 52 yards.
UCF'S HANDY MAN
Already an All-American candidate for his role as a kick returner, senior Quincy McDuffie accomplished a feat no other wide receiver has done in school history, which was rush for three touchdowns in the win over UAB.
It was the 26th time overall that a Knight had at least three rushing touchdowns in a game.
McDuffie entered the day with just one rushing touchdown for his career.
The Orlando native became the first UCF wide receiver in school history to have 100 rushing yards or more when he netted 132 in 2011. Now in 2012, he has topped that with 163 yards.
IN THE AIR AND ON THE GROUND
Total offensive touchdowns scored in UCF history: Season - Games - Offensive Touchdowns
1) 2007 - 14 - 56
2) 1990 - 14 - 54
T3) 2012 - 12 - 52
T3) 2010 - 14 - 52
Total touchdowns scored in UCF history (includes defensive and special teams scores): Season - Games - Total Touchdowns
1) 2007 - 14 - 62
2) 2010 - 14 - 60
3) 2012 - 12 - 58
UCF has 23 passing touchdowns, which rank 10th on the single-season chart (record is 31 set in 2002).
Meanwhile, the Knights have 29 rushing touchdowns, good for fourth on the team record book.
Most overall rushing touchdowns in a season: Season - Games - Rushing Touchdowns
1) 2007 - 14 - 41
T2) 2010 - 14 - 36
T2) 1990 - 14 - 36
4) 2012 - 12 - 29
Latavius Murray has racked up at least one rushing TD in each of the last seven contests.
The last Knight to have seven-straight contests with a rushing touchdown in the same season was Kevin Smith in 2007. There has never been a UCF player who has posted eight-straight games with a rushing TD in the same year.
NOT MANY WITH 20
Sophomore quarterback Blake Bortles threw for a pair of touchdowns vs. UAB to give him 20 in 2012.
This year marks the 10th time a UCF QB had at least 20 passing touchdowns in a season, as Bortles is one shy of Ryan Schneider who is in ninth with 21 in 2000, and two shy of Steven Moffett who sits in eighth with 22 in 2005.
Bortles now has 26 career passing touchdowns, putting him in seventh place on the all-time list.
UCF quarterbacks overall have combined for 23 passing touchdowns and just seven interceptions.
Best TD-INT ratio in school history: Season - Touchdowns - Interceptions - Ratio
1) 1998 - 29 - 7 - 4.14
2) 2012 - 23 - 7 - 3.29
3) 2005 - 24 - 9 - 2.67
HOLDING ON TIGHT
The UCF offense has turned the ball over just 14 times on seven interceptions and seven fumbles lost.
Fewest turnovers per game since the program's inception in 1979: Season - Games - Turnovers - Average
1) 2012 - 12 - 14 - 1.17
2) 2010 - 14 - 19 - 1.36
3) 2011 - 12 - 18 - 1.50
T4) 2005 - 13 - 20 - 1.54
T4) 2009 - 13 - 20 - 1.54
UCF has fumbled the ball just 11 times overall in 2012. The 1997 squad had 13 fumbles while playing an 11-game schedule. That season set the school record for fewest fumbles lost with seven, which is how many the 2012 Knights have lost.
Playing a big role in this year's effort in ball security, senior Latavius Murray boasts a streak of 365-consecutive carries without losing a fumble (Memphis in 2008), and has not fumbled at all in 242 carries (FIU in 2011). Those were the only two fumbles as a Knight since 2008.
Against UAB in what was his final play on the turf of Bright House Networks Stadium, senior free safety Kemal Ishmael recorded his first-career sack.
Ishmael has started 47-straight games dating back to his true freshman season in 2009.
Among current FBS players, that ranks in a tie for the eighth longest active streak in the nation.
Longest FBS active streaks of consecutive starts: Player, Position - School - Starts
1) T.J. Johnson, OL - South Carolina - 52
2) Chris Barker, OL - Nevada - 51
T3) Will Pericak, DE - Colorado - 49
T3) Kawann Short, DL - Purdue - 49
T3) Scott Vallone, DT - Rutgers - 49
T6) Brad Bednar, OL - Miami (Ohio) - 48
T6) Dalton Freeman, OL - Clemson - 48
T8) Kemal Ishmael, DB - UCF - 47
T8) Manti Te'o, LB - Notre Dame - 47
T8) Jonathan Cooper, OL - North Carolina - 47
The Miami native is fifth on the UCF all-time tackles chart with 346, which also puts him first among all defensive backs in school history.
Kemal Ishmael led UCF in tackles in both 2010 and 2011, and currently paces the team with 102, which is the first time he has racked up at least 100 tackles.
If he finishes with the team lead again, Ishmael would become just the third player in UCF history to lead the Knights in tackles three times (Bill Giovanetti did it in 1979, 1980 and 1982, while Rick Hamilton accomplished it each year from 1990-92).
The Black and Gold currently has five players with at least 80 tackles - Ishmael 102, Clayton Geathers 93, Terrance Plummer 91, Ray Shipman 91 and Jonathan Davis 84.
The 2001 season was the last time UCF had five players with at least 80 tackles.
DEFENSIVE BACKS ENTER THE RECORD BOOKS
In back-to-back weeks, cornerback A.J. Bouye had a 76-yard interception return for a touchdown at Tulsa and safety Lyle Dankenbring ran back a 78-yard interception for six points vs. UAB.
Longest INT returns by a Knight: Player - Opponent - Yards
1) Jordan Ozerities - Tulane, 11/20/10 - 100 (TD)
2) Rick Hamilton - W. Ill., 9/26/92 - 97 (TD)
3) Ray Irvin - B-CU, 9/15/90 - 95 (TD)
4) Donnell Washington - N. Mex., 9/14/96 - 80 (TD)
5) Lyle Dankenbring - UAB, 11/24/12 - 78 (TD)
6) A.J. Bouye - Tulsa, 11/17/12 - 76 (TD)
It is the first time in school history UCF had two interception returns for touchdowns that went at least 50 yards in the same season.
Bouye, who had a 79-yard fumble return for six points at Memphis, is one of only three UCF players to record an interception return for a touchdown and a fumble recovery for a touchdown in the same season (Donnell Washington in 1996 and Jerry Nemethy in 1981).
FACING FOURTH DOWNS
Opponents are 11-for-26 (42 percent) on fourth downs this year vs. the UCF defense.
Only 13 schools have had opponents go for it on fourth down on more occasions. San Diego State's defense has faced the most fourth downs - 34 times (17-for-34).
Special Teams Notes DOUBLE DARE YOU TO KICK TO DOUBLE TROUBLE
UCF features a scary double dose of kick returners this year. Senior Quincy McDuffie is first all-time at UCF in returns (89), yards (2,469) and touchdowns (six), while sophomore Rannell Hall is seventh in yards (1,061) and ninth in returns (40).
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. He earned his second C-USA weekly award of the season for his effort.
Where McDuffie ranks on the C-USA career charts: Category - Rank - Stat
KO Return Yards - 6th - 2,469
KO Return Touchdowns - 2nd - 6
KO Returns - 11th - 89
KO Return Average - 2nd - 27.74
McDuffie also ranks tied for first in UCF single-season history (Todd Cleveland in 1994) with three returns for touchdowns this year.
UCF, Kansas State and Louisiana Tech are the only three teams to have a KO return for a TD every year since 2007.
NOT MANY FIELD GOAL ATTEMPTS
Due to UCF approaching the record for most offensive touchdowns in a season, it is just 9-for-12 in field goals, marking the fewest field goals made and attempted since it went 8-for-12 in 2001.