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UCF bowl bound

UCF’s Jamar Newsome has been instrumental in long plays this season.

UCF’s Jamar Newsome has been instrumental in long plays this season.

Isaac Babcock

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The Knights can now call themselves something they’ve never been before: nationally ranked, bowl bound, conference champions after a wild 17-7 win over SMU on Saturday.

That string of accomplishments comes after a big win — one of the biggest in school history, propelling the Knights to the highest status they’ve enjoyed as a BCS team in school history.

Jeff Godfrey became the most accurate passer in C-USA Championship history when he went 15-for-19 against the Mustangs, throwing for 167 yards to lead the Knights to their second C-USA victory.

On that day, the Knights rose to national prominence in quite a few ways, including being only one of two teams in that nation with three players having 10 or more rushing touchdowns.

And they can thank Godfrey for being one of them. The UCF freshman phenom quarterback led the team as its starter nearly from the outset of the season, going on to pass for 2,042 total yards so far. If he picks up 30 more, he’ll pass former Knight and NFL star Daunte Culpepper as the most prolific freshman passer in school history.

But the defense took some of the spotlight in the Knights’ lowest-scoring game all season. Defensive end Bruce Miller picked up two sacks to become the fourth greatest sack-generator of all time in Florida college football.

The Knights still allowed yet another team to out-pass them, but pulled off the win due to some key defensive efforts. With just more than 5 minutes left in the game, Reggie Weams picked off a Mustang pass and took it deep into SMU territory.

Now the Knights are Liberty Bowl-bound to likely face off with the Georgia Bulldogs in Memphis, Tenn. on Dec. 31.

The Bulldogs (6-6) barely outlasted Georgia Tech en route to narrowly securing a bowl bid with their sixth win, after facing off against a stacked South Eastern Conference this season.

The Knights and Bulldogs have one big thing in common — both have freshman quarterbacks. The Bulldogs’ redshirt freshman Aaron Murray has passed for 2,851 yards this season, making him the second most prolific freshman QB in the SEC’s deep history.

Murray has found a perfect match in senior receiver A.J. Green, who is bound for the NFL as a wide receiver. The duo has the potential to give UCF’s pass defense big trouble on long plays.