Nov. 13, 2006
Orlando, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The UCF football team concludes a brief two-game road trip on Saturday as the Golden Knights travel to New Orleans to face Tulane. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at the Louisiana Superdome where the Green Wave returned home this season following a 2005 season spent away from the Crescent City due to Hurricane Katrina.
Tulane (3-7, 1-5 C-USA) is 2-2 on its home field this season, while the Knights (3-7, 2-4 C-USA) are 2-2 on the road, including a 2-1 mark in C-USA road games. The teams have met twice before with UCF earning the victory in both contests. The first match-up as conference opponents was last season and ended up in a 34-24 victory for UCF at the Florida Citrus Bowl. UCF won the first contest between the schools, taking a 36-29 victory at the Superdome in 2001.
Last time out, UCF earned a road win at Memphis, defeating the Tigers 26-24 on the strength of Steven Moffett's two touchdown passes and Michael Torres' four field goals, which tied a school record. Tulane dropped a 31-3 decision to Southern Miss at the Superdome last Saturday. UCF returns home to conclude its 2006 season with a contest against UAB on Saturday, Nov. 25. Kickoff with the Blazers is set for 12 p.m. and the game will be televised regionally on CSS.
UCF Quick Hits
? The Golden Knights will be making their second visit to the Louisiana Superdome on Saturday to face the Tulane Green Wave. UCF holds a 2-0 advantage in the all-time series after posting a 36-29 victory over the Wave in 2001 at the Superdome and a 34-24 victory at the Citrus Bowl last year in the first C-USA meeting between the two schools.
? UCF has four players on its roster that call Louisiana home. Junior WR Javid James is the only New Orleans product on the team, having prepped at Edna Karr Magnet, which is located just six miles from the historic dome. Sophomore CB Johnell Neal and junior DE Emeka Okammor played high school football just over an hour away in Baton Rouge at rival schools. True freshman Wes Sauvao hails from Leesville, La., a small town around 250 miles northwest of New Orleans.
? The wide receiver duo of Mike Walker and Rocky Ross became the first tandem to both register 100-yard receiving games since Walker and Brandon Marshall did so last year against Memphis (Oct. 8). Ross had career-highs of six catches and 135 yards, while Walker also caught six passes for 131 yards. ? UCF is 2-1 on the road in C-USA play this year with those two wins coming by a combined total of three points (23- 22 at Marshall and 26-24 at Memphis).
Facing Conference USA
? Since joining C-USA last season, UCF has a record of 4-3 at home and 5-2 on the road in regular season league games.
? UCF also fell to Tulsa, 44-27, in last year's postseason C-USA title game at the Florida Citrus Bowl.
? UCF is a combined 12-14 all-time against the current C-USA line-up, having faced nine of the 11 other league teams in its football history.
? The Knights were former conference partners with Marshall when both schools were members of the MAC. Marshall held a 3-0 advantage in those contests, but UCF has won both contests against the Thundering Herd as a C-USA member.
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. That total continues to rise through six games as 197,227 fans have come through the gates at the Florida Citrus Bowl.
With an average of 32,871 fans showing up for UCF games this season, the Golden Knights will easily surpass the 200,000 plateau for the first time in school history. UCF closes out its home schedule against UAB on Nov. 25.
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 Louisiana-Monroe (25,093) games in 2000. Last year, 84,613 came out to the postseason C-USA title game and to the Houston game (32,635) just before that on Nov. 5.
UCF Football Televised a Record Amount in 2006 The UCF football team has played in front of a national audience a record seven-times in 2006, surpassing the five national appearances the program made in 2005. Overall, the Golden Knights have nine televised games in 2006 - also a record total.
The next Knights' telecast is slated for regional coverage as Comcast Sports South, partnering with CSTV, will broadcast the regular season finale against UAB on Nov. 25.
So far this season, UCF has appeared nationally on CSTV four times, including one tape-delayed broadcast (USF, Houston, East Carolina and Memphis), ESPN2 twice (Southern Miss and Marshall) and ESPN once (Pittsburgh). The Knights have also appeared on Sun Sports (Florida).
Since moving up to Division I in 1996, the program has made 58 televised appearances, including 17 on national television.
Kevin Smith Stepping Up In Conference USA Play
Sophomore tailback Kevin Smith has rushed for 1,467 yards (104.78 avg.) through 14 career Conference USA regular season contests. A preseason first-team All-C-USA pick by the leagues' coaches, Smith has lived up to those expectations through the first six league games of the 2006 campaign.
Through the first six games of the 2006 campaign, Smith has racked up 756 yards on 157 carries (4.8 avg.). The 126.00 per league game rushing average ranks second in Conference USA.
He has surpassed the 100-yard plateau in four of the Knights' six league contests (129 vs. Southern Miss; 166 at Marshall; 155 vs. Rice and 163 at Houston).
Smith is averaging 103.8 yards rushing in nine overall games - a total that ranks second among C-USA running backs.
Eyeing The 1,000-Yard Mark
A six-catch, 131-yard performance at Memphis left senior Mike Walker just 18 yards shy of reaching the 1,000-yard receiving mark this season. Ten different Golden Knight receivers have eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark on 13 different occasions. David Rhodes leads the list having reached that plateau three times during his UCF career.
With two games remaining on the schedule, Walker leads Conference USA and ranks in a tie for second nationally with 75 catches this season, while his 982 yards are second most in C-USA and rank eighth nationally. His average of 7.5 catches per game is tops in the NCAA.
Walker became just the ninth player all-time at UCF to surpass the 2,000-yard receiving plateau with career highs of 13 catches and 169 yards against Rice. The Orlando native's efforts at Memphis continued his ascent up the UCF career charts as his totals increased to 169 receptions (fourth) and 2,365 yards (sixth). He also registered his ninth 100-yard receiving game, a total that ties him for the fourth most in school history.
Each game this season, he has either led the team in receptions or receiving yards and now has caught at least one pass in 26 straight games.
Walker also had a 12-catch, 133-yard effort against USF to give him three games in his career where he has reached double-digits in catches.
Happy Homecoming For Javid James
Junior Javid James, one of four Louisianans on the UCF roster, returns to play in his hometown of New Orleans as the Knights close out their 2006 road schedule at Tulane on Sat., Nov. 18. James prepped at Edna Carr Magnet, just miles from Tulane's home football field at the Louisiana Superdome, where he caught 30 passes for 532 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior.
The JUCO transfer has now caught at least one pass in his last seven games since making his first-career start against Southern Miss on Sept. 26. In those seven games, James has made 21 catches for 249 yards. His yardage ranks second on the team to Mike Walker and his 21 catches rank fourth on the squad.
James led the team with a season-high 86 yards receiving on five catches against Marshall on Oct. 4. He registered a career-high seven grabs and his first touchdown in the Southern Miss contest.
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.
Joining James from the state of Louisiana are Baton Rouge natives and defensive starters Johnell Neal (Redemptionist) and Emeka Okammor (Southern Lab) and Leesville native Wes Sauvao (Leesville). Sauvao is redshirting.
Junior Michael Torres tied a school record with four field goals in the Knights' 26-24 victory over Memphis on Nov. 11. His last kick from 18 yards out with just over three minutes to play proved to be the game winner. He also converted on kicks of 22, 36 and 33 yards.
Eight of Torres' 13 field goals this season have come in UCF victories and seven of those have been in the Knights' two league victories. He also made three in UCF's thrilling 23-22 victory over Marshall, including the game-winner with only six seconds remaining.
Torres is now one of seven UCF kickers to make four field goals in a game. Matt Prater was the last to achieve the feat, converting on four field goals in a 27-21 UCF victory over UAB on Nov. 12, 2005.
Kevin Smith Continues Rushing Rise
Sophomore Kevin Smith narrowly missed his fifth 100-yard rushing effort of the season against Memphis, finishing with 93 yards on 28 carries in only three quarters of action.
The Miami native became just the seventh back in school history to rush for 2,000 yards in a career after rushing 18 times for 50 yards against East Carolina.
Smith now has 2,112 yards in his career to rank seventh on the UCF charts. With his 28 carries, Smith has 455 carries during his career - a total that ranks sixth on the UCF charts. Smith only trails Daunte Culpepper (456) by one carry for the fifth spot on the list.
Smith's rushing touchdown vs. East Carolina was the 16th of his career, moving him to eighth on the career list. On Oct. 28 at Houston, Smith vaulted into the top 10 after tying his career-high set in last year's Sheraton Hawaii Bowl against Nevada with three TDs.
Smith had his ninth 100-yard effort of his career against the Cougars - the fourth most in UCF history . The 163 yards at Houston was also his fourth straight 100-yard rushing effort in a C-USA game. The 163 yards was the third best total of the sophomore's career, trailing only his 166-yard effort against Marshall earlier this season and his 202-yard total in the Hawaii Bowl.