UCF Football Game Notes - Houston Game

UCF Football Game Notes - Houston Game
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Oct. 23, 2006

Orlando, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The UCF football team travels to the University of Houston this Saturday to take on the Cougars at Robertson Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live nationally on CSTV. The national broadcast is the fifth for the Golden Knights this season, tying the school record for television appearances in a season.

The Knights (2-5, 1-2 C-USA) and Cougars (5-3, 3-1 C-USA) met for the first time last season with UCF taking a 31-29 victory from visiting Houston at the Florida Citrus Bowl. UCF held a 17-3 lead at the break and held off a late rally by the Cougars to preserve the win.

Houston, coming off a 34-17 victory over UTEP last Saturday, is led by senior quarterback Kevin Kolb. A four-year starter for head coach Art Briles, Kolb has been behind center for a nation's best 44-consecutive starts in his career. He has racked up 12,150 yards of total offense - a number that ranks eighth all-time on the NCAA charts and is tops in Conference USA history.

UCF had four different receivers set career-highs in catches during the Knights' 40-29 setback to Rice. Senior Mike Walker hauled in 13 passes, while sophomores Rocky Ross and Willie Thornton added five and four catches, respectively. Senior Sinclair Brown also caught the first pass of his career.

The Knights are 1-0 on the road in league play this season after defeating Marshall, 23-22, in Huntington on Oct. 4. UCF went 3-1 last year on the road in C-USA action.

UCF Quick Hits
? UCF is 1-0 in its series with Houston dating back to last season, the Golden Knights first in Conference USA. In last season's meeting, UCF built a 17-3 halftime advantage and held off a late UH rally to post a 31-29 victory at the Florida Citrus Bowl.

? This will mark the first time in UCF history, that the team has played back-to-back games against schools from the state of Texas.

? With his 13 catches against Rice, senior WR Mike Walker took over the national lead in catches per game this season. The Orlando native is average 7.7 after posting 54 catches in seven contests.

? The Golden Knights are 1-1 overall on the road this year. Their lone road win came in league play as the team secured a thrilling 23-22 win over Marshall on Oct. 4. UCF went 3-1 on the road last year in league play en route to winning the C-USA East Division crown with a 7-1 overall record in conference action.

? UCF has played five institutions from Texas in football, including C-USA members Houston and Rice. UCF vs. State of Texas actually started in the mid-80's while the Golden Knights played at the Division II level, facing the Texas State Bobcats (San Marcos) and Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks (Nacogdoches) during the 1984-85 seasons. Shortly after, UCF would host the Texas Southern Tigers (Houston) when it transitioned to Division I-AA in the 1989-90 seasons.

UCF Breaks Home Attendance Mark
After nearly setting a home attendance mark in 2005 (142,401), Golden Knight fans took only five games this season to break the record established in 1988 when 153,343 attended seven UCF home games. Through five games this season, 165,813 fans have come through the gates at the Florida Citrus Bowl.

If the average of 33,163 holds, the Golden Knights will surpass the 200,000 mark for the first time in school history. UCF has two home games remaining on its 2006 schedule.

So far this season, the third and seventh-largest crowds in program history have come out to the Citrus Bowl to watch UCF football. The 46,708 to attend the USF game topped last year's USF road game in Tampa (45,319) by 1,389.

The 76,108 in back-to-back home regular season games to start the 2006 year was the most in a two-game regular season home span in program history, topping the 75,313 that came to the Virginia Tech (50,220) and La.-Monroe (25,093) games in 2000. Last year, 84,613 came out to the postseason C-USA title game and the Houston game (32,635) just before that on Nov. 5.

UCF on National TV a Record Six Times in 2006
The UCF football team will play in front of a national audience a record six-times in 2006, surpassing the five national appearances the program made in 2005. Overall, the Golden Knights have eight televised games in 2006 - also a record amount.

Since moving up to Division I in 1996, the program has made 55 televised appearances, including 14 on national television. The team will be back on CSTV this Saturday for the second time this season. The Knights had a stretch earlier this season where three straight games were carried on the ESPN family of networks. C-USA tilts with Southern Miss and Marshall were both aired on ESPN2, while the Pittsburgh contest was broadcast live on ESPN.

Following the Houston contest, UCF has one game remaining on the national slate - a Nov. 11 match-up at Memphis, which will also be carried on CSTV. Kickoff for that game is set for 8 p.m. ET.

Smith Stepping Up In League Play
Sophomore tailback Kevin Smith has rushed for 1,161 yards through the first 11 Conference USA regular season contests of his career. A preseason first-team All-C-USA pick by the leagues' coaches, Smith has lived up to those expectations through the first three league games of the 2006 campaign. The Miami native is averaging 150 yards per game, which is second in the league. He has surpassed the 100-yard plateau in all three of the Knights' league contests (129 vs. Southern Miss; 166 vs. Marshall and 155 vs. Rice). Smith is averaging 104.3 yards rushing in six overall games - a total that ranks third among C-USA running backs.

Walker Surpasses 2,000-Yard Receiving Mark
Senior receiver Mike Walker became just the ninth player in school history to surpass the 2,000-yard receiving mark for a career on Saturday vs. Rice. The Orlando native set career highs in the contest with 13 catches for 169 yards. His 13 catches were two shy of the single-game UCF record. However, he is the first Golden Knight to finish a game with 13 catches.

Walker leads the team with 54 receptions for 647 yards and four touchdowns. During the first seven games, he has either led the team in receptions or receiving yards in every game and now has caught at least one pass in 23 straight games.

His average of 7.7 catches per game leads all Division I-A receivers and his average of 92.4 receiving yards a game ranks eighth.

The 100-yard effort against Rice, the seventh of his career, moved him into a tie for ninth in the UCF record books along with Doug Gabriel (01-02) and Brandon Marshall (02-05). Walker's other career totals are also moving close to the UCF record lists.
? T7. 148 receptions - Next No. 6 Ted Wilson, 151 (83-86)
? T9. 7 100-yard games - Next T7 D. Gabriel (01-02) and B. Marshall, 8 (02-05)
? 9. 2,030 rec. yards - Next No. 8 Bernard Ford, 2,138 (85-87)
? 14 TD receptions - Next No. 10, Three Players, 16

Walker Selected For Las Vegas All-American Classic
Senior wide receiver Mike Walker will be among six players from Conference USA playing in the 2007 Las Vegas All-American Classic. This year's contest is slated for a 4 p.m. ET kickoff on Jan. 15 at Sam Boyd Stadium. The game will be televised live on the NFL Network and re-played again during prime time.

James Emerges On Offense
Junior Javid James has caught at least two passes in his last four games since making his first-career start against Southern Miss on Sept. 26. In those four games, James has caught 16 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown. Both totals rank second on the team.

James led the team with 86 yards receiving on five catches against Marshall on Oct. 4. The five receptions tied for a team-high with senior all-conference standout Mike Walker.

Against Southern Miss, James was the first wide receiver besides Walker to lead the Golden Knights in catches for a game this season after he hauled in seven for 70 yards against the Golden Eagles.

Prior to that Southern Miss game, James had just one career reception, a six-yard grab in last year's game vs. the Golden Eagles. The six-foot-three wideout also caught his first career touchdown in the Southern Miss contest this season, a six-yard scoring play late in the fourth quarter that pulled the Golden Knights within five points.

Ross Delivers
Sophomore receiver Rocky Ross had a career day against Rice. The Jacksonville native set career highs with five receptions for 85 yards. He also found the endzone twice, first on a two-yard scoring strike in the second quarter, then again on a three-yard strike in the fourth quarter. The touchdowns were the first of his UCF career.

Ross set up his first touchdown by hauling in a 55-yard pass from junior Kyle Israel. The connection was a career long for both players. For the season, Ross has compiled 14 catches for 189 yards.

Smith Rushes Quickly Into UCF Record Book
Entering the Houston game, sophomore tailback Kevin Smith stands at the following on the major UCF career rushing lists:
? 8. 378 attempts - Next No. 7 Gerod Davis, 396 (92-94)
? 8. 1,806 rush. yards - Next No. 7 Gerod Davis, 2,164 (92-94)
? 6. 4.78 yards per carry - Next No. 5 Willie English, 5.17 (89-93)
? 12 rushing TD's - Next No. 10 Aaron Sam, 14 (83-86)
? T4. 8 100-yard games - Next No. 3 Marquette Smith, 13 (94-95)

Smith posted his third straight 100-yard rushing effort in a C-USA game, as he churned out 155 yards against Rice. The total was thethird best of the sophomore's career, trailing only his 166-yard effort against Marshall earlier this season and his 202-yard total in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl against Nevada last season.

The 295-yard total from the Southern Miss-Marshall games was the second most he has posted in consecutive games in his young career. Smith ended last season with 310 yards combined in the C-USA Championship Game vs. Tulsa (108) and the bowl game (202).

Smith Amongst Sophomore Studs
Smith finished his rookie campaign as the nation's second best freshman rusher with 1,178 yards, trailing only Tyrell Sutton of Northwestern (1,390). Through six games of his sophomore year, Smith is keeping pace among the top second-year backs in the nation. Here is a look at the top 10 through games of Oct. 22.

Player 2006 (gp) Career (gp)1. Raymell Rice, Rutgers 1,124 (7) 2,244 (19)2. Steve Slaton, West Virginia 1,059 (7) 2,187 (17)3. Tyrell Sutton, Northwestern 659 (8) 2,133 (20)4. Ian Johnson, Boise State 1,181 (8) 1,844 (22)5. James Davis, Clemson 961 (7) 1,840 (19)6. Kevin Smith, UCF 628 (6) 1,806 (19)7. Darren McFadden, Arkansas 690 (7) 1,803 (18)8. Pat White (QB), West Virginia 619 (7) 1,571 (19)9. Tyrell Fenroy, La.-Lafayette 480 (6) 1,533 (17)10. Ontario Sneed, C. Michigan 410 (7) 1,475 (18)="https://ucfknights.com/http:%3E%3C/pre%3E%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%3Cp%3E%3Cstrong%3EIsrael%20Excels%20In%20First%20Start%20Since%202004%3C/strong%3E%3Cbr%3E%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20Making%20the%20first%20start%20since%20his%20redshirt%20freshman%20season%20of%202004%20and%20second%20of%20his%20career,%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20junior%20quarterback%20%3Ca%20href="/roster.aspx?rp_id=2637" class="imported_story_link" oldlink="/sports/m-footbl/mtt/israel_kyle00.html">Kyle Israel posted career marks in several passing categories against Rice.

The Orlando native finished 27-of-42 for 327 yards and three touchdowns. His completions, attempts and yardage were all career highs as well as his three touchdown passes. Israel had just one career touchdown pass entering the game.

Israel also hooked up with sophomore Rocky Ross on a 55-yard pass play that was the longest of both players' respective UCF careers.

His fourth-quarter interception was just the second of his career, snapping a span of 108 straight passes without throwing a pick (Sept. 17, 2004 game at Penn State).

Israel has seen action at quarterback in five games this season, after only playing in four games his previous two years. He went 14-of-36 for 129 yards as a redshirt freshman in 2004 (three games) and was 9-for-17 for 108 yards and touchdown in his only action last season vs. Southern Miss.