Knights trample Cougars

UCF head coach George O'Leary watched Friday night as his team defeated the best team in the Conference USA West Division — the Houston Cougars.

UCF head coach George O'Leary watched Friday night as his team defeated the best team in the Conference USA West Division — the Houston Cougars.

Isaac Babcock

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Jeff Godfrey just did something that most quarterbacks could only dream of: Beating Daunte Culpepper at his own game.

The UCF freshman phenom recently rushed for his sixth rushing touchdown of the season, bettering Culpepper's five in his own freshman year, en route to a legendary NFL career.

The Knights trounced the best team in the Conference USA West Division Friday night in Texas, beating Houston 40-33 in a wild offensive showdown.

In the game, the Knights exploded for 522 yards on offense, while Jeff Godfrey, given the go-ahead to control the offense, collected 294 yards in the air alone, shattering his previous career best set this season.

At one point, the Knights led by as much as 20-3 after three successive scores while stuffing the Cougars to the point of only allowing a field goal through most of the first half.

But it took a dose of heart to get the win. At one point in the game, the Knights were down 24-23 and looking at a comeback, which Godfrey gladly delivered, connecting on long drives that brought the Knights into the end zone three times to leap ahead of the Cougars.

They then had to hold back a comeback on Houston's part, as the Cougars tried for repeated scores to catch up, bringing the tension of the game to a crescendo as they marched down the field in the final drive of the game, before UCF defensive back Emery Allen broke up a pass that could have tied the game.

After a wild game last week, the Knights' leading rusher, Ronnie Weaver, only picked up 45 total yards in the game. Returning as his team's top rusher, Godfrey again took command on the ground, rushing for 105 net yards to bring his total for the game to 399 on the ground and in the air combined.

His confidence showed as the Knights picked up seven of 13 third down conversions and one of two fourth down conversions.

In the air, Jamar Newsome was Godfrey's favorite target, grabbing the ball five times and picking up big yardage, including a 49-yarder to total 123 in the game.

UCF's special teams again shined, with Quincy McDuffie picking up four kickoffs and taking them 147 yards, giving the Knights excellent field position.

Despite all the offensive fireworks, the Knights defense took the spotlight early, with defensive end Bruce Miller snatching an interception and running 15 yards for the touchdown and the first score of the game.

The UCF defense had trouble containing the Cougars, allowing 532 yards in the game, but made key stops to prevent scores and force punts and turnovers that would prove the turning point in the game.

With the win, the Knights (7-2, 5-0) are firmly atop the C-USA ladder, staring down their final home game of the year. They'll face Southern Miss (6-3, 3-2) at noon on Saturday. The Golden Eagles barely outlasted Tulane last week, winning 46-30 over the C-USA basement dwelling Green Wave.