The Golden Knights are in the midst of playing five of their first seven games of the year on the road. Kent State is playing just its second game of the year on its home field after road contests at Akron, No. 10 Pittsburgh and Penn State to start the year. The Golden Flashes also defeated in-state rival Youngstown State 16-13 at Kent two weeks ago.
Live coverage on the UCF ISP Sports Network begins at noon with the pregame show.
Celebrating 25 Years!
From the humble beginnings of borrowed equipment to the bright lights of national television, UCF is proudly celebrating its Silver Anniversary of football in 2003.
The first game left plenty to be desired as a heavy downpour prior to kickoff flooded a cow pasture turned football field in Dade City, Fla. A soggy crowd, exaggerated at 1,000, watched as the upstarts from Orlando blanked St. Leo, 21-0.
Just 25 years later, fans from across the nation will tune in to watch the Knights on television six times in 2003, including two appearances on national television.
Saturday's game is the third meeting all-time between the two schools with UCF holding a 2-0 advantage. Last season, UCF won 32-6 over the Golden Flashes in Orlando at the Florida Citrus Bowl. Alex Haynes rushed for a then-career-high 149 yards on 23 carries including a touchdown in the 26-point victory.
The last time UCF played at Kent State, the two teams combined for an offensive shootout, as Daunte Culpepper led the Knights to a 59-43 victory. Culpepper threw for 326 yards in the win. Kent State wide receiver Eugene Baker had the best day of any receiver ever vs. UCF, finishing with 15 receptions for 238 yards in a losing effort.
UCF has won four straight games vs. teams from Ohio including last year's 32-6 win over Kent State. The last time UCF lost to a team from the Buckeye state was a 27-24 loss to Toledo at home in 2002.
UCF offensive coordinator Robert McFarland coached at Kent State during the 1991 season.
The 10,000 Yard Club
Ryan Schneider became just the 25th player in NCAA history to pass for over 10,000 career yards after throwing for 284 yards last week at Syracuse. The senior quarterback is now 23rd in NCAA history with 10,011 career passing yards.
NCAA Career Passing Yard Leaders
1. Ty Detmer (BYU) 15,031
2. Tim Rattay (La. Tech) 12,746
3. Chris Redman (Louisville) 12,541
4. Kliff Klingsbury (Texas Tech)12,429
5. Todd Santos (San Diego St.) 11,425
18. Luke McCown (La. Tech) 10,456
19. Philip Rivers (NC State) 10,318
20. Brian McClure (Bowling Green)10,280
21. Troy Kopp (Pacific) 10,258
22. Glenn Foley (Boston College)10,042
23. Ryan Schneider (UCF) 10,011
24. Cade McNown (UCLA) 10,008
Active players in bold
Schneider Continues Historic Career
Ryan Schneider is also moving quickly in the NCAA record books for career touchdown passes. The senior is the nation's active leader with 76 career touchdown passes.
NCAA Active TD Pass Leaders
1. Ryan Schneider, UCF 76
2. Luke McCown, La. Tech 73
3. Jared Lorenzen, Kentucky 71
Currently, Schneider ranks 19th in the NCAA career record books with 76 touchdowns. With two touchdown passes, Schneider will move into the top 15 in career touchdowns, passing such NCAA greats including, John Elway, Donovan McNabb and Rex Grossman.
Last week vs. Syracuse, Schneider tossed one touchdown pass to move past former Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware of Houston, who finished his career with 75 touchdown passes.
NCAA Career Passing TD Leaders
1. Ty Detmer (BYU) 121
2. Tim Rattay (La. Tech) 115
3. Danny Wuerffel (Florida) 114
4. Chad Pennington (Marshall) 100
5. Kliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech) 95
T12 Drew Brees (Purdue) 81
T12 Joe Adams (Tennessee St.)81
14 Chris Weinke (Florida St.)79
15 Bart Hendricks (Boise St.)78
T16 Rex Grossman (Florida) 77
T16 John Elway (Stanford) 77
T16 Donovan McNabb (Syracuse)77
19 Ryan Schneider (UCF) 76
20 Andre Ware (Houston) 75
Active players in bold
Records Fall In Win Over FAU
Ryan Schneider broke or tied six school records in UCF's 33-29 win over Florida Atlantic at the Florida Citrus Bowl. Schneider passed for 497 yards, shattering his old mark of 440 yards set last season vs. Syracuse. The 497 yards also put Schneider third in Mid-American Conference history for single-game passing yards while his 37 completions put him fourth in the MAC record books.
Schneider broke four school records vs. Florida Atlantic:
* Passing yards – 497 (Old record: Schneider, 440 yards vs. Syracuse, 11/2/02)
* Yards gained (passing and rushing) – 501 (Old record: Daunte Culpepper, 480 vs. Louisiana-Monroe, 11/1/97)
* Completions – 37 (Old record: Culpepper, 36 vs. Toledo, 10/4/98)
* Consecutive games with a touchdown pass – 23 straight games
Schneider also tied two school career records vs. the Owls:
* Career 300-yard passing games (15 with Culpepper)
* Career 400-yard passing games (3 with Culpepper)
Schneider In The UCF Record Books
Senior quarterback Ryan Schneider is closing in on several of former UCF All-American Daunte Culpepper's school records. Schneider already broke Culpepper's single-game yardage mark last season vs. Syracuse (440 yards) and single-season record (3,770 yards). The senior quarterback broke his own school mark with 497 yards passing earlier in the year vs. Florida Atlantic.
With 76 career touchdown passes, Schneider is the active leader among NCAA quarterbacks and is just eight shy of Culpepper's mark of 84.
Schneider is also third among active players in career passing yards with 10,011. Schneider needs 1,402 passing yards to eclipse Culpepper as UCF's all-time leader in passing yards.
He also tied Culpepper for the school record for both 300- and 400-yard passing games in a career. With 497 yards vs. Florida Atlantic, it marked the 15th time Schneider has broken the 300-yard mark in a game while also eclipsing the 400-yard mark for the third time.
With 501 yards rushing and passing vs. FAU, Schneider also broke the single-game total offense record at UCF. Culpepper held the old mark with 480 yards vs. Louisiana-Monroe (11/1/97).
In career pass attempts, Schneider is now second in school history with 1,208 attempts. He moved past Darin Hinshaw (1,112) for second place and now trails Culpepper for first by 183 attempts.
With his three touchdown passes vs. Florida Atlantic, Ryan Schneider eclipsed Daunte Culpepper's school record with at least one touchdown pass in 23 consecutive games.
Schneider extended the streak to 24 games with a touchdown pass last week at Syracuse.
The last time Schneider did not throw a touchdown was Sept. 8, 2001 at Syracuse.
UCF Head Coach Mike Kruczek
UCF head coach Mike Kruczek is known as one of the top offensive minds in the nation and his teams have proven it. In his sixth season at the helm, Kruczek is 34-25 and has finished with a winning record in four of the five years he has been head coach at UCF.
Of Kruczek's 25 losses, 18 have come against schools from BCS conferences. During Kruczek's tenure, the Knights have lost to a BCS team by seven or fewer points six times.
Since taking over as the head coach of the program in 1998, Kruczek's teams have finished in the top 15 nationally in passing offense. The Golden Knights ranked sixth in 2002 and ninth in 2001 in the NCAA. In Kruczek's first year at the helm, he led UCF to a sixth place showing in NCAA passing offense.
Prior to being named the head coach of the Golden Knight program in 1998, Kruczek served as the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at UCF since 1985.
UCF has had a quarterback finish in the top 20 nationally in total offense each of the past seven years, including three in the top five. A Golden Knight receiver has ranked in the top 20 in the nation in six of the past seven seasons, including four in the top 10.
Kruczek, a former All-American quarterback at Boston College, won two Super Bowl rings with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1978 and 1979.
On This Date
UCF is 0-3 all-time on Sept. 27. The last time the Golden Knights played on this date was in 1997 at No. 8 Auburn. The Tigers topped the Knights 41-14.
In 1986, UCF traveled to Akron and lost 20-17 to the Zips.
In 1980, the Golden Knights lost the only home game they have ever played on this date. Millsaps downed UCF 8-7.
Special teams coach Joe Robinson has had quite a debut in 2003. Robinson, who is the newest member of the coaching staff after serving at Houston in 2002, led the Golden Knights to an impressive start to the year vs. special teams guru Frank Beamer and Virginia Tech.
Robinson, who dubs his unit the "Wild Knights", got the best of Beamerball.
Matt Prater set a new UCF record with a 55.7 yardage per punt average vs. the Hokies. Prater totaled six punts for 334 yards and had three kicks over 60 yards. The old single-game record for UCF was held by Glenn McCombs, who averaged 49.6 yards per punt vs. Carson-Newman on November 5, 1983.
Prater leads the nation in punting with an average of 49.4 per punt. As a team, the Golden Knights are also second nationally in net punting (47.0).
Prater's 67-yard punt in the first quarter tied for the fifth-longest punt in UCF history. Prater tied Marek Butcher, who kicked a 67-yarder vs. Auburn Sept. 27, 1997. In the second quarter, Prater booted a 71-yard punt, the second longest punt in school history.
The Wild Knights also blocked a 21-yard field goal attempt when Paul Carrington swatted away the Hokie attempt.
In the win over Florida Atlantic, the special teams unit for UCF totaled two field goals as Prater connected from 43 and 38 yards. He also had two touchbacks on kickoffs and punted for an average of 42.5 yards per punt.
The special teams continued to perform well at Syracuse. Ryan Beal blocked the first punt of his career in the first half of the game vs. the Orangemen and Tavaris Capers returned a punt for a career-long 35 yards.
Prater also kicked five punts for an average of 44.6 yards per punt, including a 57-yarder.
Schneider On Davey O'Brien List
The Davey O'Brien Foundation announced the preseason watch list for the 2003 Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award and UCF senior Ryan Schneider was one of the 42 candidates named to the list. The Davey O'Brien Award is given annually to the nation's top college quarterback.
The O'Brien Award is the oldest and most prestigious award in the country for college quarterbacks and is named in honor of the late Davey O'Brien, the All-American and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback for Texas Christian University who led the Horned Frogs to the 1938 national championship.
Schneider On Unitas Watch List
Ryan Schneider was one of 26 quarterbacks announced as candidates for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. Of the 26 quarterbacks selected to the 2003 watch list, Schneider was second in passing yards last season with 3,770.
The award is presented annually to the nation's top college quarterback by the Frank Camp Chapter of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation. The award is named for Hall of Fame quarterback Unitas, who played at Louisville before his 18-year NFL career with the Baltimore Colts. Unitas died Sept. 11, 2002, at 69.
The nominees were selected by a committee of football experts from across the United States. The committee will choose five finalists on Oct. 22. The winner will be announced during an award presentation in Louisville on Dec. 12. Southern California quarterback Carson Palmer won the award last year.
Bigby On Nagurski Watch List
The Charlotte Touchdown Club and the Football Writers Association of America announced the 2003 watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy naming UCF strong safety Atari Bigby as a candidate for the post-season honor. The award is given annually to recognize the top defensive player in college football.
Bigby leads UCF on the year with 36 total tackles including 23 solo stops. He has also broken up two passes.
Bigby, who was named as an All-MAC First-Team Defensive selection last season, is one of 36 finalists as identified by the nearly 800 members of the FWAA. He enters his junior season with the Golden Knights and is coming off a sophomore year in which he registered over 100 tackles.
The award is named after Hall of Famer and University of Minnesota and Chicago Bears star Bronko Nagurski.
UCF On TV In 2003
UCF fans will have plenty of opportunities to view the Golden Knights on television this season. Six games have been scheduled to air on ESPN, ESPN 2 or Sunshine Network with additional games pending.
UCF opened the season on ESPN at No. 9/10 Virginia Tech. The Golden Knights also host Marshall, November 19 at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN 2 for the first ever national television appearance at home for UCF.
Sunshine Network announced that four UCF football games will be televised live this season on Florida's largest regional sports network.
Additional UCF games may be added to Sunshine's schedule pending determination of the conference-produced "MAC Game of the Week" telecast schedule.
Action kicks off with UCF taking on Syracuse live on September 20, at noon (live in Orlando/Melbourne/Daytona Beach TV market only; repeats statewide at 11 p.m.).
Other UCF games on Sunshine's schedule include: at Kent State on Sept. 27 at 2 p.m. (airs live statewide and repeats Oct. 1, at 10 a.m.); at Ohio on Oct. 11 at 2 p.m. (live in Orlando/Daytona Beach/Melbourne & Tampa/St. Pete TV markets only; repeats statewide 11p.m.); and at West Virginia on Nov. 1 at 1 p.m. (live in Orlando/Melbourne/Daytona Beach & Tampa/St. Pete TV markets only; repeats statewide 11 p.m.).
Play-by-play announcer Rick Peckham will be alongside analyst Brady Ackerman for UCF's games against Syracuse, Kent State and West Virginia.
Haynes Continues To Hit Pay Dirt
For the sixth straight game, junior tailback Alex Haynes scored a touchdown for the Knights. Haynes finished with 82 yards on 19 carries vs. Syracuse including a 13-yard touchdown run.
Haynes has scored at least one touchdown in eight of the last nine games he has played in.
Haynes is now tied for eighth in school history with 21 career touchdowns scored. He is also tied for fourth in school history with 20 career rushing touchdowns.
UCF Career Rushing TD Leaders
1. Willie English (1989-91, 93) 38
2. Daunte Culpepper (1995-98) 24
3. Mark Giacone (1987, 89-90) 22
4. Alex Haynes (2001-Pres.) 20
4. Mike Grant (1995-98) 20
UCF Career Touchdown Leaders
1. Willie English (1989-91, 93) 38
2. David Rhodes (1991-94) 29
3. Gerod Davis (1992-95) 25
4. Bret Cooper (1989-92) 24
Daunte Culpepper (1995-98) 24
6. Mark Giacone (1987, 89-90) 22
Mike Grant (1995-98) 22
8. Alex Haynes (2001-Pres.) 21
Ted Wilson (21 (1983-86) 21
Doug Gabriel (2001-02) 21
Alex Closes In On 2,000
Alex Haynes needs just 35 yards to reach the 2,000-yard plateau at UCF. Haynes currently has 1,965 career rushing yards, sixth in school history.
Haynes is looking to become just the sixth player in school history to run for 2,000 career yards.
UCF Career Rushing Leaders
1. Willie English (1989-91, 93) 3,131
2. Marquette Smith (1994-95) 2,569
3. Elgin Davis (1983-86) 2,170
4. Gerod Davis (1992-95) 2,164
5. Mark Giacone (1987, 89-90) 2,128
6. Alex Haynes (2001-Pres.) 1,965
Back-To-Back 1,000 Yard Seasons
Alex Haynes is looking to become just the second running back in UCF history to rush for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons in 2003. Last year, Haynes raced for 1,038 yards, the third best figure in single-season school history.
Only Marquette Smith has accomplished that feat with 1,511 rushing yards in 1995 and 1,058 yards in 1994. Those totals rank Smith first and fourth respectively on the single-season rushing list at UCF.
Haynes leads the team and ranks fifth in the MAC in rushing with 79.0 yards per game.
Haynes On Doak Walker List
The SMU Athletic Forum announced the names of the 39 preseason candidates for the 2003 Doak Walker Award, awarded annually to the nation's top college running back.
Among the field of candidates is UCF junior tailback Alex Haynes. The Orlando native rushed for 1,038 yards in 2002 becoming just the fifth back in school history to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark.
The SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors will select eight semifinalists on November 19, and the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will vote on the winner in late November. The National Selection Committee consists of former NFL All-Pro and college All-America running backs, print and electronic media members and selected special representatives.
Young Receivers Coming Of Age
Wide receivers coach Sean Beckton had to have a smile on his face after UCF's win over Florida Atlantic. Six wide receivers caught passes including two breakout performances by a pair of his young pupils.
Sophomore Brandon Marshall, who saw time in nine games as a true freshman in 2002, caught five passes for 104 yards including his first career touchdown vs. the Owls. The 6-5 Winter Park product hauled in a 29-yard scoring strike from Ryan Schneider while also making several cut backs on a dazzling 44-yard reception, the longest of his career.
True freshman Mike Walker has quickly established himself as one of the top play makers on the roster. The highly regarded recruit from Orlando had scholarship offers from Miami and Tennessee during the recruiting process before deciding on UCF. Walker caught four passes for 104 yards including a 63-yard run-and-catch on a deep crossing route.
The 104 receiving yards for both players were personal bests. It also marked the 17th time in school history that two receivers have gone over the 100-yard mark in the same game.
Putting Up With Poe
UCF's opponents are quickly finding out how important it is for the Golden Knight defense to have a healthy Antoine Poe back in the lineup.
The redshirt junior outside linebacker missed all of last season due to injury, but has started 2003 with a bang.
In the season opener at Virginia Tech, Poe finished with eight tackles including five for a loss. He also was awarded the "Big Stick" of the week by the team for his tackle on Virginia Tech running back Kevin Jones.
Against Florida Atlantic, Poe established a new career-high with nine tackles including his first career two-sack game.
Welcome Back Stanford
UCF welcomed the return of Stanford Rhule to the starting lineup last Saturday at Syracuse. Rhule, who missed the first game of the year with a knee injury, played in a reserve role in the second game of the year vs. FAU.
In the Syracuse game, Rhule led the team with 13 total tackles including seven solo stops. Last season, Rhule ranked third in the MAC and led UCF with 127 tackles.
Capers Enjoying Leading Role
With the loss of UCF's two top receivers from a year ago, there were plenty of questions on who would step up and be the go-to-guy for Ryan Schneider this season. Junior speedster Tavaris Capers has quickly established himself as the No. 1 receiver for the UCF aerial attack.
The 5-9 Miami native has tied his career-high with nine receptions each in the first three games this season. In the season opener at Virginia Tech, Capers caught nine passes for 76 yards and two touchdowns. In the FAU game, Capers set a new career-best with 89 receiving yards on nine receptions.
Capers ranks second in the nation and first in the MAC with 9.0 receptions per game.
Where Have The Sacks Gone?
UCF lost its third-best player in school history in sacks when Elton Patterson was drafted in the 2003 NFL Draft by the Bengals. Patterson recorded 30.5 career sacks including 9.5 last season. In addition, the loss of junior defensive end Rashad Jeanty to academics forced UCF to lose 15 sacks between the two from last year.
In 2003, the Golden Knights have just three sacks in three games.
Beware Of "The Moat"
The UCF offensive line, dubbed as "The Moat", has done an excellent job in pass protection in 2003.
The Golden Knights lead the Mid-American Conference with just three sacks allowed. All three sacks came in the season-opener at Virginia Tech.
Slow Starting Knights
The first quarter has not been a good quarter for UCF in 2003. The Golden Knights have failed to score in all three of their games in the first quarter this season. UCF's opponents have outscored the Knights 35-0.
UCF has failed to score in the first quarter in four straight games dating back to last year.
UCF In The MAC
UCF leads the MAC in five different statistical categories. The Golden Knights rank first in the conference in sacks allowed (three), net punting (47.0), passing yards per game (Ryan Schneider/328.0), receptions per game (Tavaris Capers/9.0) and punting (Matt Prater/49.4).
Luther's An All-Around Talent
Junior wide receiver Luther Huggins has shown his versatility this season for the Golden Knights. The Miami native leads the team and ranks third in the MAC with 139.0 all-purpose yards per game.
Huggins ranks second on the team with 11 receptions for 167 yards (15.2 per catch) and one touchdown. He also is first on the club with 12 kick returns for 250 yards (20.8 per return.)
Scouting Kent State
Kent State enters this weekend's game with a 2-2 record including a 1-0 mark in the Mid-American Conference. The Golden Flashes defeated Akron 41-38 in the season opener and Youngstown State 16-13. Kent State lost to a pair of Keystone State powers in Pittsburgh (43-3) and at Penn State (32-10).
Kent State ranks near the bottom in the nation in both total offense and defense. The Golden Flashes are 88th nationally in total offense (318 ypg) and 97th in defense (418.3). The Golden Flashes average just 17.5 points per game while they have allowed 31.5 points per game.
The team revolves around junior quarterback Joshua Cribbs. The dual-threat quarterback has the ability to attack defenses on the ground and through the air. In his first two seasons at quarterback, Cribbs has passed and ran for 1,000 yards each season. The Maryland native was injured early last week at Penn State and his injury status has not been released yet for this week's game vs. UCF.
Kent State Head Coach Dean Pees
Dean Pees is in his sixth season as head coach of the Kent State football program.
Just two years ago, Pees led Kent State to a dramatic turnaround, finishing 6-5 for its first winning season in 14 years.
Pees finished second in the MAC Coach-of-the-Year voting for his effort in leading Kent State in 2001.
The 1972 graduate of Bowling Green has also coached at Michigan State, Notre Dame, Toledo, Navy and Miami (Ohio).
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