Freshman’s Jeff Godfrey and Aaron Murray leading the way as they face off at Liberty Bowl

The Liberty Bowl is a matchup of the top two rated freshman quarterbacks in UCF’s Jeff Godfrey  as he gets to go up against Georgia’s Aaron Murray. Both players are the faces of their respective programs for years to come and are main reasons why both teams fan bases are excited about the future. Both Godfrey and Murray rank in the top 10 nationally in passer rating with Godfrey ranked 8th with a 165.3 rating while Murray  is right behind Godfrey with 162.7 rating. Its the first time a freshman quarterback is ranked in the top 10 in passer rating  since Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Sam Bradford did it in his freshman season in 2007. Murray and Godfrey rank in the top five in the nation in yard per attempt both of them throwing more than even Bradford did.

Murray a redshirt freshman played his high school football at Plant High School led his team to the 3A State championship in 2008 and set a Hillsborough County record for most touchdown passes in a career with 84. Murray was Mr. Football award winner in his junior season and ended up being rank by rivals as the number 3 quarterback in the nation when his high school career was done.  Yet coming into this season, Murray was a question mark for the Bulldogs as no one knew how he do in the SEC Conference. Murray answered those questions as he hasbeen the bright spot in a 6-6 season for Georgia that’s had inconsistent play on the field and off the field issues. Murray has broken most of Georgia’s freshman school records with most passing yards with 2,851 and touchdowns with 24. Should Murray get two touchdowns against UCF, he would break Matthew Stafford record of 25 touchdown passes in a season by any Bulldog quarterback.

“We’re very proud of the season he had, no doubt.”  Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt said about Murray season. “We knew when we got him that he knew how to prepare. He came from Tampa Plant in Florida and won a state championship. He’s one of those guys who loves the game, he loves his teammates, he loves winning, and he loves preparing.”

Godfrey played High School football at Miami Central High School where he led them to 12-2 record in 2009 and a trip to the state semi-finals. Godfrey was Florida’s 6A Player of the year and ended up as the leading passer in Miami-Dade County history with 7,251 yards breaking the mark of current Miami Hurricane quarterback Jacory Harris who was a star high school quarterback at Miami-Northwestern.

Godfrey started the season as backup to Rob Calabrese but got to play in first two games of the season and made an impact in the North Carolina State game when he came into the game and his Knights trailing 28-7. He led his team to two fourth quarter touchdowns and drove them down the field with a chance to tie before a fumble by wide receiver Quincy McDuffie inside the Wolfpack 11 yard line ended the comeback attempt. The Knights may have lost the game that night but found out that they had a special quarterback ready to lead them.  Godfrey got to start the following week at Buffalo and has not looked back since.  Godfrey passed for 2,042 yards, 13 touchdown passes while rushing for a school record 546 yards by any quarterback and 10 touchdowns rushing. With 2 rushing touchdowns against Georgia, Godfrey breaks Daunte Culpepper record of rushing touchdowns in a season by a Knight quarterback. Godfrey ended up winning C-USA Freshman of the Year as he guided the Knights to C-USA Championship.

“He has a great future ahead of himself. UCF Head Coach George O’Leary said of Godfrey. “ I think the big thing that he’s done is learned to play and he’s had a lot of poise, but that’s gotten progressively better each game, each play, And again, his future’s ahead of him.”

Georgia fans are hoping that the future with Murray is leading the Bulldogs to the  SEC Championship next season while Knight fans are excited about the future with Godfrey , they hope  Godfrey can give the program a first by the end of Friday night, A Bowl Win.

 News and Notes

  • UCF’s Head Coach George O’Leary is no stranger to Georgia as he went 3-5 against the Bulldogs while O’Leary was Head Coach at Georgia Tech from 1994-2001. O’Leary last game against Georgia in 2001, was Richt’s first against Georgia Tech as, Bulldogs beat Georgia Tech 31-17 as Knights running back coach George Godsey was starting quarterback for Yellow Jackets in that game going 19 for 34 for 179 yards and 1 interception in the loss. Godsey went 1-1 as starter against Georgia winning in 2000 at Athens by score of 27-15.
  •  Georgia Running Back Caleb King is suspended for the Liberty Bowl due to violating the athletic department attendance policy missing. King had 430 yards rushing on the season and missed two games earlier in the season as he was suspended for failing to appear in court to address a speeding ticket. King missed another 2 games due to high ankle sprain
  • If you Heard Tuck& O’Neil on Tuesday, You heard myself and Andrew Melnick sitting in for Mike Tuck but you also  heard ESPN’s Football analyst and former Notre Dame football coach Bob Davie have high praise for UCF, saying they are a BCS Type Defense and  that UCF should be in the Big East. Davie predicts a low scoring game in Liberty Bowl.
  • Liberty Bowl is expected to be Georgia’s star Wide Receiver AJ Green last game as a Bulldog here article I wrote about Knights facing Green and how valuable Green is to success of Georgia offense.http://www.espn1080.com/includes/blog/index.php?action=blog&blog_id=10&post_id=1230
  • Weather for the game calls for rain, 20 mph winds, and a high temperature of 66 with a low of 41. Sloppy conditions should give the advantage to the Knights who have a better running game then Georgia  and Godfrey more likely to make plays with his legs as supposed to Murray who mainly a passer.
  • Georgia defeated UCF in only meeting on September 25, 1999 24-23 in Athens.
  • For complete coverage of UCF in Memphis check out UCFSports.com  as Brandon Helwig in Memphis and will provide lots of pregame and postgame video, audio, interviews and photos you will not see anywhere else  from the Liberty Bowl
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