Knights Receivers Step Up on Sunday

(Phil Coale/AP)

On Saturdays, fans of the UCF Knights are seeing an improved offense, especially in the passing game. On Sundays, UCF alums are all over the highlight films as Mike Sims-Walker and Brandon Marshall are emerging as two of the very best receivers in the National Football League.

This past Sunday, former UCF and current Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Mike Sims-Walker helped lead his Jaguars team to their second consecutive victory as he caught seven passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns. Walker made all kinds of big plays in the Jaguars 37-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans.

"That was one of the best efforts I've ever seen," Jaguars wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker said. "Our offense clicked and the defense contained their offense. Everything you look at in the game, we did pretty well."

On the season, Sims-Walker has caught 19 passes for 278 yards with three touchdowns. That's a pace of nearly 80 catches for better than 1100 yards and 12 scores. The former UCF Knight ranks in the top 20 in catches and yards, and his three receiving touchdowns has him tied for second in the NFL. Those numbers haven't been replicated by a Jaguars receiver since Jimmy Smith, who retired four years ago.

"I've been saying it throughout OTA's and training camp, Mike Sims-Walker is a weapon and we have to be able to use him, and now he's just being used," Jaguars quarterback David Garrard said. "When he's not hurt and he's on the field playing, he's one of the best."

A receiver who is beginning to turn his season around is the Denver Broncos' Brandon Marshall. There have never been questions about Marshall's on-field abilities, as he has been one of the most dynamic players in the league over the last two years, but the questions are more about where his head is at. Marshall has had numerous run-ins with the law, and was suspended by the Broncos after his disobedience during a training camp practice, as he was unhappy with his contract and demanded a trade.

"There are trust issues on both sides," Marshall said of his antics and feelings about new Broncos coach Josh McDaniels. "It's understandable. We've got to try our best to move forward."

After a slow start to the season with a new playbook and new quarterback Kyle Orton, Marshall is moving forward as he's caught 16 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns. On Sunday, Marshall caught four passes for 91 yards including a super-human effort on what proved to be the game-winning touchdown as he caught a 15-yard hitch near the sideline, then proceeded to run through five tacklers and take the ball 51-yards to the house.

"That's the B-Marsh we're all used to, out there making plays," Tony Scheffler said. "You can feel it in the stadium when he gets the ball in his hands -- it's electric."

After many believed that Marshall should've been dealt in the offseason, he's helped the Broncos to a surprising 4-0 start and both sides are talking contract extension.

To be able to look at the top of the stat sheets and see two former UCF Knights can only help the program, and it gives UCF fans plenty to cheer about on not only Saturday's, but Sunday's as well.

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