UCF makes 2005 home debut Saturday

Sept. 23, 2005

ORLANDO- Playing in its Conference USA contest, UCF makes its 2005 home debut on Saturday, hosting Marshall at the Citrus Bowl. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. The two squads are no strangers having met three times as members of the Mid-American Conference. UCF (0-2) will be seeking its first victory of the year while Marshall enters the game at 1-1.

The contest is the first of five UCF games that will be broadcast as part of CSTV's "All-Access package. Dish Network subscribers can view the game via pay-per-view. The broadcast will also be available on www.UCFathletics.com on a subscription basis. Fans call also call their local cable operators to see if the CSTV's "All-Access" is available.

The UCF ISP Network and its flagship station 740- The Team AM (WQTM) will broadcast live from Orlando. Marc Daniels will once again have the call with Gary Parris. Jerry O'Neill will handle the sideline duties. Network affiliates in include WMMV-1350 in Cocoa, WDCF-1350 Dade City, WROD-1340 in Daytona Beach and WMMB-1240 Melbourne.

Fans looking for a more extensive preview, as well as Coach O'Leary's thoughts on Marshall this week, should tune into "The George O'Leary Show," which will air Friday at 5:30 p.m. on Sun Sports, and again Saturday at 1 p.m. on WESH-2.

Prior to the game, members of the UCF volleyball game will be on hand at the Citrus Bowl, collecting donations to aid the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. All contributions will be given directly to the United Way to help those in need following the storm.

Tickets for the game are still available and can be purchased at the Citrus Bowl.

About Marshall

Marshall opened the season with a 36-24 victory over William & Mary, but then fell at home to Kansas State on Sept. 19, 21-19. The team had a bye last weekend.

The Thundering Herd have a new head coach on the sideline as Mark Snyder, who served as a graduate assistant at UCF from 1989-90, takes over for Bob Pruett. Snyder comes to Marshall from Ohio State, were he worked for four years.

Despite the change on the sidelines for Marshall, UCF head coach George O'Leary does not expect many changes from the Thundering Herd.

"He (Snyder) changed the defense some. That was his background at Ohio State," said O'Leary. "They are doing a little bit different coverage concepts. Offensively, they kept the same coordinator there, so they are very similar to what they were last year."

Offensively, Marshall is led by sophomore running back Ahmad Bradshaw, perhaps the team's most versatile player. Bradshaw, who is a Doak Walker Award candidate, averages 65 rushing yards and 53 receiving yards per game and also leads the team with four touchdowns. Marshall has used two quarterbacks in both of their games so far this year, and both have played extremely well. So far, Jimmy Skinner and Bernie Morris have combined to complete 61.5 percent of their passes for 575 yards and three touchdowns. Both are expected to see time under center this week.

The team remains without top receiver Emanuel Spann, who is still recovering from off-season knee surgery. Spann is expected to return to action within the coming weeks. Hiram Moore and Wilbur Hargrove have filled in nicely at the receiver position, with each averaging over 70 receiving yards per game.

On the defensive side of the football, strong safety Curtis Keyes leads the team with 27 total tackles on the year. Defensive end Shavar Greer paces the team in sacks with 2.5 through two games. As a unit, Marshall is giving up over 180 yards on the ground per game, but only 165 yards through the air. In the loss to Kansas State, the Marshall defense surrendered 21 points in a 12 minute span, but shut out the Wildcats for the remaining 41 minutes of the ballgame.

About UCF

UCF is coming off of a 31-14 loss to host USF last week. The Golden Knights have claimed four of their last five home openers.

On offense, quarterback Steven Moffett has utilized the services of wideouts Mike Walker and Brandon Marshall. Walker has hauled in 14 catches for 175 yards and one score while Marshall also has 14 receptions for 141 yards and one touchdown. On the season, Moffett has completed 46-of-79 attempts for 466 yards and two scores. Against the Bulls, Moffett led UCF on the ground with 50 yards.

A pair of linebackers - Ronnell Sandy and James Cook - led the Golden Knights with 14 total tackles. Defensive back Travonti Johnson totaled six stops against USF.

Cornerback Joe Burnett, a true freshman, shined against the Bulls. Defensively, he had four total tackles, including two for loss. Burnett also returned tow punts for 77 yards, highlighted by a 60-yard return that set up UCF's first touchdown.