Nov. 6, 2006
Orlando, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The UCF football team starts a two-game road stretch this Saturday at Memphis when the Golden Knights take on the Tigers at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET on CSTV. This will mark the seventh-nationally televised appearance of the season for the Knights.
The Knights (2-7, 1-4 C-USA) and Tigers (1-8, 0-5 C-USA) have met twice previously with the home team winning both games. There was a 16-year break between contests as the teams will meet for the second-consecutive year as C-USA East Division members. UCF traveled to Memphis in 1990 as a Division I-AA member and dropped a 37-28 decision to the Tigers. The Knights won last year's meeting at the Florida Citrus Bowl, 38-17.
UCF Quick Hits
? This will mark the third meeting between the two schools. The series is tied at 1-1 after both teams posted victories on their home fields. Memphis won the first meeting in 1990, taking a 37-28 decision at the Liberty Bowl.
? UCF won the first Conference USA match-up between the schools a year ago in Orlando at the Citrus Bowl, winning 38-17. The 21-point victory was the largest for UCF last year and the setback for Memphis was also its largest.
? Memphis is one of two other schools in Conference USA besides UCF that plays their home games at a site that will also host a postseason bowl game. The AutoZone Liberty Bowl is slated for Dec. 29 in Memphis and features the C-USA champion vs. a Southeastern Conference team. UTEP, who will be on UCF's schedule next year, plays at the Sun Bowl in El Paso where the Vitalis Sun Bowl is also set for Dec. 29. All three venues, ironically, will host a bowl game on Dec. 29 as the Florida Citrus Bowl will be the site for the Champs Sports Bowl. That venue also hosts the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1.
? A pair of UCF players set milestone yardage marks in last Saturday's game with East Carolina. Sophomore Kevin Smith became just the seventh running back in UCF history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in his career. Through 21 games, Smith has racked up 2,019 yards. Junior Curtis Francis became just the sixth kick returner in UCF history to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in returns. Francis has returned 51 kickoffs for 1,013 yards in his three-year career.
? Senior Mike Walker is 21 receptions away from breaking the single-season UCF record. Through nine games, Walker leads the nation, averaging 7.7 catches per game. His 69 grabs this season are the third most among Division I-A receivers. Tyson Hinshaw holds the UCF single-season record after hauling in 89 passes in 1990.
? Junior Leger Douzable doubled his season sack total against East Carolina, posting 3.5 sacks - the fourth highest single-game total in UCF history.
Facing Conference USA ? Since joining C-USA last season, UCF has a record of 4-3 at home and 4-2 on the road in 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 11-14 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.
All-Time UCF Lettermen from Tennessee
Despite no players on the current roster hailing from the Volunteer State, three previous Golden Knight letterwinners called Tennessee home, including running back Terence Bonner. Bonner, who is from Memphis, rushed for 430 yards and two touchdowns in his three-year career from 1984-86. Quarterback Brian Miller, a native of Johnson City, threw for 501 yards and five touchdowns in three seasons for UCF. Placekicker Travis Allen, who earned a letter in 1988, grew up in Rogersville.
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 the Houston game (32,635) just before that on Nov. 5.
UCF Football Televised a Record Amount in 2006
The UCF football team will play 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.
Next up for the Knights on national television, CSTV will carry the game at Memphis on Nov. 11. Comcast Sports South, partnering with CSTV, will broadcast the regular season finale against UAB to a regional audience on Nov. 25.
So far this season, UCF has appeared nationally on CSTV three times (USF, Houston and East Carolina), 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 57 televised appearances, including 16 on national television.
Kevin Smith Stepping Up In Conference USA Play
Sophomore tailback Kevin Smith has rushed for 1,374 yards (105.69 avg.) through 13 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 five league games of the 2006 campaign.
In games against Southern Miss, Marshall, Rice, Houston and East Carolina, Smith has totaled 663 yards on 129 carries (5.1 avg.). The 132.60 per league game rushing average ranks second in Conference USA.
He has surpassed the 100-yard plateau in four of the Knights' five league contests (129 vs. Southern Miss; 166 at Marshall; 155 vs. Rice and 163 at Houston). Smith is averaging 105 yards rushing in eight overall games - a total that ranks second among C-USA running backs.
Mike Walker Continues to Climb up the UCF Record Book
With nine more catches and 85 yards against East Carolina, senior wide receiver Mike Walker continued his rise up the UCF career receiving lists.
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 upped his career totals to 163 receptions, 2,234 yards following the East Carolina game.
The nine catches vs. the Pirates allowed Walker to move into the top five in career receptions at UCF. He also stands just 14 and 15 yards away from sixth (Charles Lee 2,249) and seventh (Siaha Burley 2,248) on the career receiving yardage list.
Walker's last 100-yard receiving effort against Houston was his eighth overall moving him into a tie for seventh with current NFL players Doug Gabriel and Brandon Marshall.
Walker leads the team and is tied for third in the nation with 60 receptions for 766 yards and four touchdowns. Each game this season, he has either led the team in receptions or receiving yards and now has caught at least one pass in 25 straight games.
His average of 7.67 catches per game is tops among all Division I-A receivers and his average of 94.56 receiving yards a game ranks 10th. His 69 catches are the third most in the nation.