Buffalo Game Notes

QB P.J. Piskorik (AP Photo/Don Heupel)

ORLANDO - UCF (1-3, 0-1 MAC) hosts Buffalo (0-5, 0-1 MAC) in Mid-American Conference action Saturday at the Florida Citrus Bowl. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. in the second MAC game for both schools in 2003.

Last week, both schools faced MAC opponents from the state of Ohio. The Golden Knights committed eight turnovers in a 36-16 loss at Kent State while Buffalo dropped a 38-21 decision at home to Akron.

The Bulls own the nation's longest losing streak as they have dropped 15 straight games. The last time Buffalo won was at Rutgers in 2002. The Bulls topped the Scarlet Knights 34-11 last season in New Jersey.

The Golden Knights are looking to even their record at 1-1 in the MAC and also snap a two-game losing streak.

Live coverage on the UCF ISP Sports Network begins at 4 p.m. 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.

Rivera Named The Starter At Quarterback
Mike Kruczek named junior Jon Rivera the starter at quarterback heading into Saturday's game with Buffalo. Rivera will replace Ryan Schneider, who is out with a shoulder injury.

Schneider will be re-evaluated next week. The start for Rivera snaps a streak of 34 straight starts at quarterback for Schneider, the third longest streak in school history.

For just the second time in 13 seasons, UCF will have its starting quarterback miss a start due to injury. Vic Penn was the last UCF quarterback to miss a start due to injury during the 2000 campaign.

Rivera was 3-for-4 for 36 yards and an interception last week at Kent State. The New Jersey native also ran five times for 20 yards.

Series Notes
Saturday's game is the fifth meeting between the two schools including the fourth game played at the Florida Citrus Bowl. UCF is a perfect 4-0 all-time vs. the Bulls while averaging 49.5 points per game.

Last season at Buffalo, UCF won 45-21 behind five touchdown passes by quarterback Ryan Schneider. The five touchdowns through the air were a season-high by a MAC quarterback in 2002. Schneider also ran for a score, giving him the only six-touchdown game by a MAC quarterback last season.

The two teams met for three straight seasons from 1992-94 before renewing the series last season as conference foes.

Saturday's game is the first time the two schools have not played each other in the month of November.

Rivera On The Run
UCF head coach Mike Kruczek had to dust off parts of his playbook when Jon Rivera entered the game last week for an injured Ryan Schneider. An athletic quarterback with excellent running skills, Kruczek used several quarterback traps and running plays that he used when Daunte Culpepper was the quarterback.

While Schneider is one of the nation's top pocket passers, Rivera gives the UCF attack the added dimension of a running quarterback.

Rivera finished 3-of-4 passing for 36 yards and an interception vs. Kent State while also running for 20 yards on five carries.

The 20 yards pushed Rivera into second place on the season in rushing for UCF.

Consistency Behind Center
With Ryan Schneider unable to play Saturday vs. Buffalo, it will snap a string of 34 consecutive starts at quarterback. The last time Schneider failed to start a game was during his redshirt freshman season in 1999. The last time Schneider did not start at quarterback was Sept. 23, 2000 at home vs. William & Mary.

 
UCF Consecutive Starts At QB 
1. Darin Hinshaw	1991-94	        37
2. Daunte Culpepper	1995-98	        35
3. Ryan Schneider	2000-pre.	34



Consecutive Starts Behind Center
In the last 13 seasons, UCF has had just one starting quarterback miss a start due to injury. From 1991-94, Darin Hinshaw started 37 consecutive games behind center. From 1995-98, Daunte Culpepper started 35 straight games, missing only the Hawaii game his freshman season. Vic Penn followed Culpepper and started 15 straight games before missing a start in the 2000 season due to injury.

From there, Ryan Schneider started 34 consecutive games heading into Saturday's tilt. With Schneider out, it will be just the second time in the last 13 years that UCF has had a quarterback miss a game due to injury.

 


Yrs.	Quarterback	 Consc. starts
1991-94	Darin Hinshaw	 37 
1995-98	Daunte Culpepper 35 
1999-00	Vic Penn *	 15
2000-03	Ryan Schneider	 34
* Missed start to injury




First-Time QB Starters Under Kruczek
Now in his sixth season at UCF, head coach Mike Kruczek has had just two quarterbacks make their first career starts under his guidance as the head coach.

In 1999, junior Vic Penn made his first career start at No. 22 Purdue. Penn and the Knights lost 47-13 to the Boilermakers. Penn was 4-7 in his first season as starting quarterback.

Schneider made his first start behind center Sept. 30, 2000 at Eastern Michigan. Schneider finished 27-for-38 for 365 yards and two touchdowns. He ended the year 5-2 as the starter.

During UCF's streak of 13 seasons with just four starting quarterbacks, Kruczek guided two other quarterbacks during his tenure as offensive coordinator in the 1990s. Daunte Culpepper set an NCAA I-AA record with 12 straight completions to start the game vs. Eastern Kentucky in 1995. Culpepper finished the contest 20-for-25. UCF topped Eastern Kentucky 40-32 in Orlando.

In 1991, Darin Hinshaw completed just six-of-21 passes for 86 yards and two interceptions in a 20-6 loss at Georgia Southern.

 


Darin Hinshaw -- 10/26/91 vs. GSU
6-for-21, 86 yards, 2 INT
Daunte Culpepper -- 8/31/95 vs. EKU
20-for-25, 254 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
Vic Penn -- 9/4/99 at Purdue
24-for-45, 250 yards, TD, 4 INT
Ryan Schneider -- 9/30/00 at EMU
27-for-38, 365 yards, 2 TD, INT



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 at Syracuse Sept. 20. The senior quarterback is now 22nd in NCAA history with 10,210 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. Philip Rivers (NC State)	10,741
19. Luke McCown (La. Tech)	10,456
20. Brian McClure (Bowl. Green)	10,280
21. Troy Kopp (Pacific)	        10,258
22. Ryan Schneider (UCF)	10,210
23. Glenn Foley (BC)	        10,042
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 77 career touchdown passes.
 


NCAA Active TD Pass Leaders
1. Ryan Schneider, UCF	        77
2. Luke McCown, La. Tech	73
3. Jared Lorenzen, Kentucky	71



Currently, Schneider is tied for 16th in the NCAA career record books with 77 touchdowns. Schneider is tied with NCAA greats including, John Elway, Donovan McNabb and Rex Grossman.

 


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
T16.	Ryan Schneider (UCF)	        77



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 77 career touchdown passes, Schneider is the active leader among NCAA quarterbacks and is just seven shy of Culpepper's mark of 84.

Schneider is also third among active players in career passing yards with 10,210. Schneider needs 1,203passing 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 1,244 attempts. He moved past Darin Hinshaw (1,112) for second place and now trails Culpepper for first by 147attempts.

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 34-26 and has finished with a winning record in four of the five years he has been head coach at UCF.

Of Kruczek's 26 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 2-0-1 on this date in school history. The last time UCF played on Oct. 4, the Golden Knights won at Kent State 59-43 in 1997.

In 1986 at home, the Knights topped the Racers of Murray State 38-25.

UCF tied Miles 11-1 at home in 1980.

Wild Knights!
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.

At Kent State, UCF blocked its third kick of the year when Antoine Poe blocked a field goal.

Haynes Continues To Hit Pay Dirt
Alex Haynes has scored at least one touchdown in eight of the last 10 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 Reaches The 2,000-Yard Club
With 54 rushing yards at Kent State, Alex Haynes became the sixth running back in school history to rush for 2,000 yards.

Haynes is sixth in school history with 2,019 yards and is just 152 yards shy of third place in school history in rushing.
 


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.)	2,019



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.

True Freshmen In 2003
Five true freshmen have played for the Golden Knights in 2003. Renford Parkes is the only member of the class who will miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury.

Two wide receivers have seen action in Mike Walker and Brooks Turner. Walker was sensational vs. Florida Atlantic, finishing with four catches for 104 yards.

Fullback Evandall Williams has also seen time along with cornerback Ron Ellis.

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.

Poe shattered his personal-best with 16 tackles last week at Kent State. Poe also blocked a field goal, recovered a fumble and had one tackle-for-loss vs. the Golden Flashes.

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 four 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.

Last week at Kent State, Capers caught his team-leading third touchdown pass of the season with a 13-yard catch.

Stephens Steps It Up
After recording just four sacks through the first three games, the UCF defensive line and junior defensive end Josh Stephens stepped it up last week at Kent State.

The Golden Knights recorded four sacks as a team including two by Stephens.

The junior college transfer from Trinity Valley CC sacked Kent State quarterback Joshua Cribbs and forced a fumbled on the same play that UCF recovered.

Stephens made just his second career start for the Knights in the KSU contest.

Slow Starting Knights
The first quarter has not been a good quarter for UCF in 2003. UCF's opponents have outscored the Knights 41-3.

Turnovers Costly In 2003
UCF ranks last in the nation with -3.75 turnovers per game. In the last two games, the Golden Knights have turned the ball over 13 times while gaining just one turnover.

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.

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.

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.

Scouting Buffalo
The Bulls of Buffalo are 0-5 to start the season including an 0-1 mark in the MAC. Buffalo has lost games to Rutgers (24-10), Iowa (56-7), Colgate (38-15), Connecticut (38-7) and Akron (38-21).

The Bulls own the nation's longest losing streak at 15 consecutive games. The last time Buffalo won was Sept. 7, 2002 at Rutgers. The Bulls topped the Scarlet Knights 34-11 in New Jersey.

Buffalo ranks in the bottom 20 in the NCAA in 11 different statistical categories. The Bulls are 116th in passing offense (91.4 ypg), 115th in total offense (257.6 ypg), 114th in scoring offense (12.0 ppg), 116th in rushing defense (256.6 ypg), 109th in passing efficiency defense (153.02), 116th in total defense (521.8 ypg) and 112th in scoring defense (38.8 ppg).

One bright spot has been the rushing offense, which ranks 47th in the nation. The Bulls are averaging 166.2 yards per game on the ground and feature the 2002 MAC Freshman of the Year Aaron Leeper. The sophomore running back scored 10 touchdowns and rushed for 917 yards last season.

Buffalo Head Coach Jim Hofher
In his third year at the helm, Buffalo head coach Jim Hofher is coaching one of the nation's youngest teams. In last season's season finale, the Bulls started 11 freshmen.

In three seasons at Buffalo, Hofher is 4-24. He has also been the head coach at Cornell University, and he owns a career record of 48-60.

As an assistant coach, Hofher has served stints at Syracuse, North Carolina, Tennessee, Wake Forest and Miami (Ohio).
 

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