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Star still shines for Culpepper

Central Florida receiver Kenny Clark knew this is how it would be.

His friend and former UCF teammate, Daunte Culpepper, starting at quarterback in his second year in the NFL.

The result: a 2-0 start for the Minnesota Vikings with Culpepper playing a pivotal role.

In the season opener Sept. 3, Culpepper completed 13 of 23 for 190 yards with an interception. He rushed 13 times for 73 yards and three touchdowns, lifting Minnesota to a 30-27 victory against Chicago.

Sunday, in Minnesota's 13-7 victory against Miami, Culpepper was 23-of-37 for 355 yards with three interceptions and a touchdown. He also rushed eight times for 37 yards.

"He's going to do real good (in the NFL)," Clark said before the season of UCF's most-prolific player. "I would never bet against him on anything. I don't care what he's doing in his life, from skiing to football, I would never bet against him because that's the kind of guy he is."

YOU'VE COME A LONG WAY, COACH: Given Billy Joe's wide-open offensive philosophy at Florida A&M (2-0), the coach's views on women and football should be no surprise.

Student Crystal Bennett had tried out for the team as a kicker, but that was before the Rattlers kicking unit proved itself.

Juan Vasquez set a school record for field goals in Saturday's 56-25 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference victory against Morgan State. He converted from 38, 30, 22 and 25 yards in the first half and broke the record with a 36-yarder in the third quarter.

But that doesn't mean Bennett's quest is over.

"We'd love to have her back out here in the spring," Joe told the Tallahassee Democrat. "I have no reservations about having a young lady on the team. If a woman can serve in the military and risk taking a bullet for this country, they certainly should be able to play football."

SO FAR, SO GOOD: Bethune-Cookman (2-0) looked strong after defeating Norfolk State 24-6 Saturday in a MEAC opener at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, in what has been called the "South Florida Classic."

The defense held Norfolk State (0-1) to 190 yards, no offensive touchdowns and took the ball away five times (three were on interceptions, two on fumbles). Special teams blocked a field goal with 1:18 left in the half to preserve a 14-0 lead.

The Wildcats had 162 yards rushing. Quarterback Pa'tell Troutman also improved. After an off day passing last week, Troutman was 5-of-6 for 65 yards on one of the first-half touchdown drives. He played well despite being hit in the groin.

"We're still not where we want to be," B-CC coach Alvin Wyatt told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. "I'm satisfied, however, we got the win."

SO FAR . . . WELL: UCF showed promise in the off-season. When will the Knights live up to it?

First it was UCF's aborted upset bid in a 21-17 loss at Georgia Tech in the Sept. 2 opener.

On Saturday, the Knights (1-1) struggled to a 19-7 victory against Northwestern State (1-1), a Division I-AA team ranked No. 20 in the Sports Network poll.

Coach Mike Kruczek benched quarterback Vic Penn in the first quarter in favor of redshirt freshman Ryan Schneider.

The Knights offense gained 385 yards, but the Demons had 317. Plus, UCF was penalized 13 times for 114 yards.

NSU tailback Tony Tailor ripped the Knights defense, gaining 163 yards on 23 carries, including a 48- yard scoring run in the third quarter to cut the lead to 12-7.

The kicking game also struggled. Javier Beorlegui kicked field goals of 30 and 47 yards, but botched snaps on a field goal and an extra point cost UCF four points that could have put NSU away early.

Penn, who re-entered the game, will remain the starter when the Knights visit Akron on Saturday.

_ Information from other news organizations was used in this report.