UCF refuses to slow down in a 54-17 victory over Marshall
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 13:10
Prior to Saturday’s game, no player in Conference USA history had ever returned two kickoffs for a touchdown. Senior wide receiver Quincy McDuffie changed that.
The Knights defeated the Marshall Thundering Herd 54-17 on Saturday night in Huntington, West Virginia.
Redshirt senior running back Latavius Murray dominated the carries for the Knights and, in turn, dominated Marshall. Murray finished the game with 16 carries for 156 yards and three touchdowns. Murray also had two catches for 38 yards and another touchdown.
McDuffie returned two kickoffs for a touchdown Saturday, running right into the conference record book in UCF’s final season in the conference. McDuffie returned kicks of 98 and 97 yards.
“I’m never looking back,” McDuffie said after the game in a release. “I’m looking for the end zone. Once I see that … I’m determined to get in there and I do everything I can within me to try to make that happen.”
McDuffie has three kickoff returns for touchdowns this season, his other was a 99-yard return against East Carolina.
Murray, the reigning C-USA Offensive Player of the Week made his case for repeating the honors. Murray had a long touchdown run of 75 yards in the third quarter.
“[Latavius] was unbelievable,” Bortles said in a release. “He’s a complete back. He can do it all. He’s big, fast, strong, he can catch. They opened up some holes for him tonight and he took advantage of it.”
Blake Bortles had another solid outing, despite throwing two first-half interceptions. Bortles finished the game completing 15 of 21 passes for 277 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Bortles was in sync with his two slot receivers. Junior Jeff Godfrey had five receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown. Redshirt sophomore J.J. Worton added three catches for 68 yards.
The Knights’ receivers played a good team game, blocking well for screen passes. Godfrey was the beneficiary of a block in the second quarter, when he scored from 16 yards out.
Murray’s play in the past two games has essentially pushed redshirt sophomore Storm Johnson and redshirt senior Brynn Harvey out of the running rotation. Not only has Murray run powerfully inside, but he also has been a factor in the receiving game. Muray caught a screen pass from Bortles, and scored from 20 yards out.
Johnson received carries in the fourth quarter, and in his second-straight game, lost a fumble deep in UCF territory.
Sophomore Rannell Hall had a 43-yard reception after Bortles had a free play due to drawing the defense offsides.
“We got help from the special teams — Quincy and those great kickoff returns — and the defense put us in great position,” Bortles said. “From an offensive standpoint, I think it was our best performance of the year.”
Somebody forgot to tell the UCF secondary that Marshall sophomore quarterback Rakeem Cato was the nation’s leading passer.
The Knight’s pass rush was crucial to the team’s success, racking up 10 hurries and four sacks to rattle the young Marshall passer. Redshirt freshman defensive end Deion Green racked up two sacks and five tackles for loss. Senior defensive end Troy Davis was constantly in the face of the Marshall quarterback, adding five hurries.
The Knights secondary put together back-to-back, solid performances with seven pass breakups as a unit. Senior safety Kemal Ishmael had eight tackles.
All three starting linebackers, senior Jonathan Davis, redshirt senior Ray Shipman and sophomore Terrance Plummer recorded nine tackles each.
UCF held Marshall to 66 yards rushing and 1.8 yards per carry. Cato was limited to 56.4 percent completion, below his season average of more than 70 percent. Cato had 298 yards and two touchdowns.
The Knights are scheduled to host SMU on Saturday at 7 p.m.