UCF Host Marshall On ESPN2

AP Photo/Scott Martin

Marshall Thundering Herd coming to Orlando with an overall record of 6-4 including a 4-2 MAC record, and UCF, losing two games in a row, is 3-7 overall.  For the first time since joining the MAC in 1997 Marshall will not play in the Mid-American Conference football championship game.

Marshall was thumped from the MAC race with last Wednesday's 45-6 loss at the hands of Miami (Ohio).  The loss to the Red Hawks was the most lopsided in recent history.  Marshall's lowest total was in October of 2000 when Toledo routed the Heard 42-0.


"They gave us a good butt kicking," said Marshall Coach Bob Pruett.  "No excuses."  Against Miami (OH), Marshall had five turnovers which translated into easy touchdowns for the Red Hawks.  Marshall managed only 239 total yards in offense output the last time out.  "It will be really embarrassing if we play like that next week," Marshall Coach Bob Pruett added.


For the first time since going 7-5 in 2000, Marshall will have, at least, a four-loss season.


When Marshall meets UCF at the Citrus Bowl on Wednesday night, the Knight will face one of the most talented teams.  "Marshall is one of the top teams in the country year in and year out," said UCF interim head coach Alan Gooch.  "They are a good football team and we have great respect for their program," Gooch added.


With the outstanding wide receivers and the quarterbacks, Marshall is capable of a big-play.  Josh Davis and Darius Watts, both of whom are considered candidates for the Biletnikoff Award, are best of the best.  Following in the footsteps of receivers the likes of Randy Moss, the duo presents a one-two punch that concerns the Knights. 


Watts is a legit first-round draft choice for next spring's NFL draft.  Watts is a very talented, very athletic, WR who has good height and runs fast.  He's one of the best in the country who isn't being paid playing the game of football Marshall's leading receiver. Watts has caught 68 passes for 871 yards and 10 touchdowns.  Watts has caught a TD pass in 10 consecutive games.  He has also carried 11 times for 103 yards, averaging more than 9.4 yards per carry.


Wednesday's game will be one of backup quarterbacks, which includes Gochneaur, who is taking the place of Stan Hill (knee sprain) for Marshall, while Steven Moffett is the expected starter for UCF over Ryan Schneider (suspended).


Gochneaur finished the Miami (OH) game by completing 14 of 25 passes for 113 yards.  Against Akron, he was 15 of 25 for 199 yards.  One thing is for sure, Gochneaur has big targets in 6-foot-2, 183-pound Darius Watts and 6-1, 185-pound Josh Davis to aim and throw his passes to. 


UCF had a good week of practice in preparation for Marshall.  One player who is eager to take the field on Wednesday is RB Alex Haynes.  Look for Haynes to carry the ball at least twenty times against Marshall.  However, Haynes might have to do carry a little more than 20 carries if the Knights want to beat Marshall.


UCF need to be a balance team on Wednesday night in what they do.  Marshall will put as many defensive players they can get on the field.  They'll be trying to stop the pass, so UCF better be able to throw it.   "I know I will play better," said freshman quarterback Steven Moffett.  Wide receiver Tavaris Capers also has confidence in his young QB.  "He's a great quarterback and he can throw," said Capers.  "I have faith in him," added Capers. 



"I want to take it to the house," said Haynes. 

"We want to win these two games," said Tavaris.



The Golden Knights football will begin a new chapter when interim head coach Alan Gooch takes the field on Wednesday.  On Wednesday, Gooch will be the first UCF alumnus to coach its football team.

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