Oct. 30, 2007
ORLANDO - Riding a 34-17 win at Southern Miss on ESPN Oct. 28, UCF returns to Orlando to celebrate its first Homecoming game on campus when it welcomes Marshall to Bright House Networks Stadium Saturday at 3:30 p.m. The Knights are 18-9 all-time in Homecoming games, but all 27 of those contests took place at the Florida Citrus Bowl.
Saturday's meeting with the Thundering Herd will be televised by Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast. Earlier this year, CSS was on hand for UCF's 56-20 victory over Memphis Sept. 22.
UCF (5-3, 3-1 C-USA) is tied for second with Memphis in the C-USA East Division, but is even with first-place East Carolina (4-1) in the loss column. With a 5-3 mark for 2007, the Knights have the best overall record of any C-USA program.
Marshall (1-7, 1-3) is hoping to get revenge on UCF after Michael Torres booted a 22-yard field goal with seven seconds left to give the Knights a 23-22 win in Huntington, W.Va., a year ago. Kevin Smith rushed for 166 yards en route to the UCF triumph.
In just eight games this year, Kevin Smith has been responsible for 102 points, good for a UCF single-season record. Smith has 17 touchdowns on the year, which is also a school record. Bret Cooper held the previous single-season scoring mark with 90 points in 1992. With the UCF record already eclipsed, Smith can set his sights on the Conference USA record for touchdowns in a season, which was set by DeAngelo Williams of Memphis in 2005 when he found the endzone 23 times (22 rush, 1 rec.).
Home is Sweeter in 2007
Off to a 3-1 start at their new facility, there is no doubt that the Knights are enjoying Bright House Networks Stadium. UCF has totaled 169 points at the new on-campus venue so far this season - good for an average of 42.3 ppg. In 2006, the Knights played seven home contests at the Florida Citrus Bowl and scored a total of 143 points at the stadium. The Knights have already surpassed their home win total from 2006 (2-5) with two more home tilts remaining.
Red Hot in the Red Zone
The UCF offense ranks third in the country when it comes to converting scoring chances in the red zone. The Knights have scored points on 34-of-36 trips, including 26 touchdowns, inside the opponent's 20-yard line this season. That is good for a percentage of 94.4. Only Georgia (SEC) and Virginia Tech (ACC) have better conversion rates, but those two squads have taken an average of 12.5 less trips into the red zone than the Knights. Georgia leads all teams with a 96.4 rate (27-of-28), while Virginia Tech is second with a 94.7 rate (18-of-19).
Eight is Enough
The UCF defense posted its second consecutive game with four turnovers in the 34-17 victory over Southern Miss. After going five games without forcing a turnover, the unit has eight turnovers during the two-game winning streak. Seven of those eight turnovers have come via interceptions. UCF has recorded 10 interceptions this season as eight different Knights have registered at least one pick on the year. In 2006, just six Knights had at least one interception as the team finished the campaign with 10 picks. This season, three true freshmen have tallied interceptions - Justin Boddie, Derrick Hallman and Lawrence Young. Last year, Travis Timmons was the lone rookie to post an interception. With a plus-seven turnover margin in the last two games, the Knights have helped reverse a minus-11 start through six games.
The Knights have outscored their opponents 190-102 in the first half this season. A year ago, UCF scored only 130 first-half points in 12 games. In fact, the Knights 109 second-quarter points is more than the 88 points the team has scored in the second half of games this season. UCF is 5-1 in 2007 when leading at intermission.
Through eight contests, the Knights have totaled 1,927 yards on the ground and 1,464 yards passing. If the numbers hold, a rarity will occur for the UCF program. In 28 seasons of varsity football, UCF has finished a season with more rushing yards than passing yards on only two occasions. In 1990, UCF had 3,017 yards on the ground and 2,546 via the air. In its third year of football, UCF also achieved the feat in 1981 (1,374 rushing; 1,313 passing).