They wobbled and wavered near the finish line of the Conference USA season, but one week after an awful Saturday, the Central Florida football team righted the ship. Now, coach George O’Leary’s lads are just one win from clinching the C-USA East Division title in 2010.
Yes, the difference between a Nov. 13 nightmare and a Nov. 20 joyride was stark and pronounced for the boys from Orlando. One week after getting ambushed by Southern Miss and being booted out of the AP Top 25, the UCF Knights took out their frustrations on a drastically overmatched Tulane squad, scoring 31 first- quarter points en route to a 61-14 rout of the Green Wave in the Louisiana Superdome. The authoritative 47-point thumping means that UCF simply has to win at home next weekend against Memphis to sew up the division flag and – just as significantly – clinch home-field advantage in the C-USA Championship Game, which is played at the stadium of the team with the best regular season C-USA record. While C-USA West co-leaders SMU and Tulsa are 5-2 in the league, Central Florida moved to 6-1 with this triumph against Tulane. Naturally, UCF would outpace the rest of its conference if it locks down just one more win before December.
The Knights made it clear that they were out for blood from the opening kickoff, which sophomore Quincy McDuffie returned 95 yards for a touchdown. It only got worse from there for the Green Wave, as the home team managed all of 34 total yards on six first-quarter possessions while fumbling the rock away twice, which UCF turned into 10 points. By the time the Green Wave caught its breath, the Knights had a 38-0 second-quarter lead and the game was all but over as a competitive contest.
Tulane did manage to score two second touchdowns, as frosh sensation Orleans Darkwa and back-up quarterback Kevin Moore both ran for scores, cutting the Green Wave halftime deficit to 38-14. However, any faint comeback hopes Tulane may have had were extinguished when the Golden Knights’ dynamic frosh signal caller Jeff Godfrey capped a five-play, 69-yard drive by bursting in from one yard out for the touchdown, staking UCF to a 45-14 lead. Running back Latavius Murray did the dirty work on the drive for the visiting Knights, gaining 69 yards on four carries. Murray finished with 146 yards rushing on 11 carries. Godfrey, for his part, completed 6-of-8 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for two touchdowns. Ronnie Weaver rushed for a first quarter touchdown for the Knights as well.