NCF Nation: Damaso Munoz

Central Florida’s great season came to an unfortunate end after they weren’t able to top Rutgers in the St. Petersburg Bowl on Saturday. The Knights finish the season with eight wins for only the fourth time since becoming a member of the FBS.

How the game was won: Rutgers was able to limit Central Florida’s running game and convert quarterback Brett Hodges' two turnovers into touchdowns. After playing even with the Scarlet Knights early, Central Florida couldn’t get closer than four points and Rutgers was able to secure the game in the second half.

Turning point: Rutgers linebacker Damaso Munoz intercepted Brett Hodges on the first drive of the game, setting up Rutgers' first score, and set the tone for the rest of the game. Hodges threw two interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown.

Stat of the game: Central Florida’s 32 rushing yards is the second-lowest total of the season. The Knights had just 15 rushing yards against Southern Miss on Sept. 12. Running back Brynn Harvey, who came into the game off three consecutive 100-yard rushing games, had just 30 yards on 13 carries.

Unsung hero of the game: UCF quarterback Rob Calabrese came in late in the fourth quarter for injured starter Brett Hodges and led the Knights on a 10-play, 75-yard drive to cut the lead to 38-24 with 2:23 remaining.

What it means: While this is not the way Central Florida wanted to end its season, it has to be encouraged by the late play of Calabrese and running back Jonathan Davis, who are the future of the team. Both came in during the fourth quarter and helped the Knights score their final touchdown. There are a lot of young players on this team and the experience will serve them in 2010.

Posted by's Brian Bennett

The perfect fit for the next Syracuse head coach will be standing on the opposite sideline during Saturday's game, Syracuse Post-Standard columnist Bud Poliquin writes. Connecticut's Randy Edsall fits the exact profile the Orange need. He has long-term ties to the school as a former player and assistant, he can recruit the area and he knows how to rebuild. While noting that Edsall has no reason to leave UConn, Poliquin writes:

"But there have been whispers that Edsall (or his representatives) have advised [Orange AD Daryl] Gross that he'd very much like to resurrect his alma mater and that SU might be willing to offer a contract for as many as eight years and for as much as $16 million to get him to try. Mix big money with deep loyalty to school and the intoxicating shot at glory and throw in some personal recruiting pitches apparently made by Brown and Floyd Little, their own selves and you've got . . .
Well, you've got intrigue, if nothing else."
  • Who is starting at quarterback for UConn? Who knows, says Neill Ostrout in the Connecticut Post.
  • South Florida will have to try and stop Mike Teel on Saturday. Here's what defensive coordinator Wally Burnham told Greg Auman of the St. Petersburg Times: "No doubt, he is hot as a firecracker," Burnham said. "He's done a great job. They don't do a whole lot of different routes. They do a lot of formations, but they run the same stuff. Every time it's the same reads, and every once in a while he throws it to (receiver Kenny) Britt as far as you can throw it."
  • Jarrett Brown hasn't played in more than a month for West Virginia because of a deep thigh bruise and a shoulder problem. But the backup quarterback and short-yardage specialist should be ready to go next week at Louisville, Dave Hickman writes in the Charleston Gazette. Converted receiver Brandon Hogan is enjoying his role at cornerback, Mike Casazza says in the Charleston Daily Mail.
  • Pitt has used its bye week to work on red-zone offense and two-minute drills, Paul Zeise writes in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  • Former Louisville coach Don Weber, who died last week, didn't win many games. But he should be remembered for keeping the program afloat, Eric Crawford writes in The Courier-Journal.
  • Rutgers linebacker Damaso Munoz keeps fending off challenges from younger, supposedly more talented players, Tom Luicci writes in The Star-Ledger.