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College football

QB Moffett a big part of UCF's turnaround

By SHARON GINN, Times Staff Writer
Published November 11, 2005

Quarterback Steven Moffett has rarely gotten a lot of attention during UCF's remarkable turnaround, but coach George O'Leary can attest to the fact that the Golden Knights (6-3, 5-1) probably wouldn't be atop the Conference USA standings without him.

Moffett, a junior, had another impressively reliable outing in UCF's 31-29 victory over Houston on Saturday. He was 21-of-30 for 275 yards and two touchdowns, and added a 13-yard touchdown run. He extended his string of consecutive pass attempts without an interception to 94 before throwing one early in the fourth quarter.

Moffett is C-USA's No. 3 most efficient passer and has thrown a touchdown in 12 consecutive games.

"I would say Steven has a good grasp of what is in front of him now from a defensive standpoint," O'Leary said. "He is playing with a lot more vision and knows where to throw it.

"Every quarterback makes mistakes, but you don't want to see big mistakes, turnovers. That is where he has really helped us out. He is not turning it over, he is not doing things he shouldn't be doing. He is commanding the offense and is a leader in the huddle."

PEAKING: Miami learned Monday that junior running back Tyrone Moss will miss the rest of the season after he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee against Virginia Tech. But even that bad news didn't do much to dampen coach Larry Coker's overall mood after the Hurricanes' dominating 27-7 victory against the then-No. 3 Hokies.

UM's No. 1-ranked defense had five sacks and forced six turnovers. And sophomore Charlie Jones came in for Moss in the first quarter and rushed for 97 yards on 24 carries.

"I really think we're getting better, and getting better at the right time," Coker said. "It's really exciting for us around here. Our young players are starting to develop. We're playing a lot of people on defense who are flying around and having fun."

PLAYING FOR PRIDE: Last weekend's closer-than-you'd-think 24-10 loss to Division I-AA No. 2 Hampton leaves Bethune-Cookman with little to aim for, other than a strong finish.

The Wildcats (6-3) have secured their eighth straight winning season, and with a 3-3 record in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play have no shot at a league title or playoff spot. Those go to Hampton (9-0, 7-0), which scored two quick touchdowns midway through the fourth quarter to pull away from B-CC.

"Obviously, this is a setback in our plan, but we just have to keep on fighting," sophomore quarterback Jimmie Russell told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. "We still have our pride. I refuse to lose again."

B-CC plays Howard on Saturday, but also is gearing up for next week's Florida Classic in Orlando. The Wildcats seniors can become the only class to beat archrival Florida A&M four years in a row.

Meanwhile, FAMU faces Hampton, which it has beaten the past five times the teams have played. But times have changed, and the Rattlers have ceded their once-dominant status in the conference to Hampton. FAMU (5-4, 4-2) needs lots of help from senior Rashard Pompey, who rushed for a career-high 265 yards and two touchdowns against North Carolina A&T last weekend and was the MEAC offensive player of the week.

PAINFUL END: Senior quarterback Danny Embick, who had accounted for 68 percent of Florida Atlantic's offensive yardage this season (1,531 passing, 228 rushing), broke the thumb on his throwing hand in a loss to Troy on Saturday and is out for the season.

Replacing him will be sophomore Sean Clayton, who has done mop-up duty in seven games this season, completing 8 of 15 for 96 yards. Freshman McKinson Souverain will back up. Clayton is a pocket passer; Souverain more of a runner. "We'll have two sets of offenses," coach Howard Schnellenberger said. "One for Sean and one for (Souverain). Hopefully we can get enough play out of our fullback position to make both effective."

[Last modified November 11, 2005, 01:19:18]


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