Galloping through UTEP’s defense Nov. 25 looked effortless for UCF junior Latavius Murray (Nedrow, N.Y.) as the running back toasted the Miners for 233 rushing yards and accounted for three touchdowns in the Knights’ 31-14 win. Murray’s finest game of his career enabled him to be selected as the College Football Performance Awards National Running Back of the Week.
Murray also is up for the Intersport National Running Back Performance of the Year. Fan voting determines the winner at Facebook.com/All Star Football, as voting will end Sunday, Dec. 4, at 9:59 a.m. ET.
The Running Back Performance of the Year is part of a four-month competition that lets fans decide which individual performances reign supreme during the 2011 college football season. The winners will be revealed during the two hour All-Star Football Challenge special airing at 7 p.m. ET Feb. 3 on ESPN2. In addition to recognizing the season’s top performances, the All-Star Football Challenge will feature college football’s biggest stars in a live skills challenge.
By earning the College Football Performance Awards National Running Back of the Week, Murray beat out David Wilson (Virginia Tech), Trent Richardson (Alabama), Terrance Ganaway (Baylor), Chris Nwoke (Colorado State), Montee Ball (Wisconsin), Giovani Bernard (UNC), Ronnie Hillman (San Diego State), De’Anthony Thomas (Oregon), Zac Stacy (Vanderbilt), Bernard Pierce (Temple), Isaiah Pead (Cincinnati), Bobby Rainey (Western Kentucky), Alfred Morris (FAU) and Vick Ballard (Mississippi State) who all received honorable-mention status.
Murray’s 233 rushing yards were the fourth-most by a Knight in school history, and it was just the 11th 200-yard game by a UCF running back. He racked up those yards on only 21 carries for an 11.1 average, putting him in second place on UCF’s single-game list (Murray holds that record at 13.1 against Tulane in 2010).
Moving up to fifth on UCF’s all-time chart, Murray rushed for two touchdowns against UTEP to give him 22 for his career. His first of the game occurred on the Black and Gold’s second drive of the contest, a 38-yard burst to put UCF up 7-0 with 9:31 left in the first quarter. At the beginning of the second quarter, Murray had six rushes for 45 yards and an 18-yard reception to help set up a 1-yard TD run by quarterback Blake Bortles. To close out the half, he pulled in a 6-yard touchdown reception late in the second quarter to make it 24-0, marking his second touchdown catch as a Knight in his career.
When the second half got underway, Murray needed just two carries to collect 76 yards, capped off by a 40-yard touchdown run. He finished by accounting for 257 all-purpose yards and three total touchdowns.
Last year’s Conference USA Championship Game MVP and the AutoZone Liberty Bowl MVP, Murray completed 2011 with 549 yards on 98 carries for a 5.6 average, compiling eight touchdowns in the process. He also had 17 receptions for 242 yards, and a team-high 860 all-purpose yards.
Meanwhile, senior Josh Linam earned CFPA Honorable Mention Linebacker of the Week honors for his effort against UTEP. The Tavares, Fla., native had nine tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and an interception in the victory over the Miners, who had only 66 rushing yards in the game.