You know what they say, all good things must come to an end. After 11 years, Marshall host UCF for the last time as a conference opponent Saturday night. The series dates back to 2002 when the Knights joined the Mid-American Conference, a league MU had dominated since 1997. Marshall took full advantage of a program transitioning from FCS to FBS status, defeating UCF three years in a row. Things turned around when both schools moved to Conference USA. Beginning with the 2005 season, the Knights have enjoyed seven straight victories over the Thundering Herd including last year’s 16-6 win in Orlando.
At quarterback UCF is lead by Sophomore Blake Bortles. Bortles has done a good job protecting the football, completing over 65 percent of his passes while throwing 12 touchdowns to only five interceptions. J.J. Worton is Bortles favorite target, hauling in 30 passes for 419 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Knights have three other pass catchers, Rannell Hall, former quarterback Jeff Godfrey, and Quincy McDuffie that have caught 19 passes each. Like past UCF teams, the 2012 version is powered by a strong run game. Sophomore Storm Johnson spearheads a two headed attack with Senior Latavius Murray. Johnson leads the Knights with 416 yards on 95 attempts and four touchdowns. Last week’s C-USA offensive player of the week, Murray has registered 382 yards and five touchdowns while carrying the ball 57 times.
UCF has the stingiest defense in C-USA, they rank first in points allowed (22) and yards allowed (352.9) per game. Two Knights made C-USA’s first team all preseason list, defensive lineman Victor Gray and safety Kemal Ishmael. From his spot at defensive tackle, Gray leads UCF with 6.5 tackles for loss. Ishmael paces the Knights with 59 tackles and two interceptions. He has also recovered three fumbles.
For more on this week’s game, including quotes from both coaches, follow the links below.