Nov. 13, 2007
ORLANDO - With just two regular-season games remaining for the UCF football team, the Knights wrap up the road portion of their schedule when they travel to Dallas to face SMU Saturday at 3 p.m. ET. It will be the first meeting between the two schools, as UCF is hoping to extend its winning streak to five games.
UCF (7-3, 5-1) moved atop the Conference East Division with a 45-31 win at UAB Nov. 10. If the Knights can close out the season with two victories, the C-USA Championship game will return to Orlando for the second time in three seasons.
Meanwhile, SMU is 1-9 overall and 0-6 in league play, which includes two overtime losses and a one-point setback to Rice last weekend. The Mustangs have lost their previous six outings by an average of just eight points. Quarterback Justin Willis leads SMU in rushing with 547 yards on the ground. In the air, he has racked up 2,457 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Following its clash with SMU, UCF returns home for senior day vs. UTEP Nov. 24 at 2 p.m.
Knights use Four-Game Win Streak to Grab C-USA East Lead
During the present four-game win streak, UCF became bowl eligible for the second time in three seasons under head coach George O'Leary and took over the outright lead in the C-USA East Division. Also, the Knights have outscored opponents 170-86 and are now averaging a league-best 44.0 ppg in C-USA contests, while the defense is surrendering only 21.5 ppg. In 2005 when the Knights last reached at least six wins, the team went 7-1 in the C-USA East Division and earned a trip to the program's first-ever bowl game - the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. In 11 years as a head coach, O'Leary has led his teams to at least six wins in eight of those seasons (six at Georgia Tech, two at UCF). Under his direction, the Yellow Jackets went to bowl games in five of seven seasons.
Smith Garners College Gameday Final Helmet Sticker
National scoring leader Kevin Smith was saluted for his record-setting performance in UCF's 45-31 win at UAB in one of the best ways possible these days. ESPN College Gameday Final studio analyst Mark May tapped Smith with one of his ceremonial "helmet stickers" in Saturday's late evening broadcast. The "helmet sticker" signifies the day's best performances.
402-Yard Rushing Game - Ranks Fourth in C-USA History
UCF rushed for 402 yards in its 45-31win at UAB last Saturday. The team rushing total, led by Kevin Smith's 320-yard outburst, ranks fourth all-time in Conference USA history. The figure leads all current C-USA teams, as the three higher team totals of 480 (Army, 1999), 447 (Army, 1999) and 405 (Cincinnati, 1996) were set by programs that are no longer in C-USA.
Smith is Nation's Top Scorer and Touchdown Producer
In 10 games this year, Kevin Smith has been responsible for 138 points, good for a UCF single-season record. His average of 13.8 points per game leads the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision. Smith has 23 total touchdowns on the year, which is also a school record and leads the FBS. Bret Cooper held the previous UCF single-season scoring mark with 90 points in 1992. With the UCF record already eclipsed, Smith tied the Conference USA record for touchdowns in a season with his four scores at UAB, which was perviously set by DeAngelo Williams of Memphis in 2005 when he found the endzone 23 times (22 rush, 1 rec.). Oklahoma State's Barry Sanders holds the NCAA FBS record for touchdowns when he found the endzone 39 times during the 1994 season. Smith is 12 points shy of breaking into the FBS Top 20 for points scored in a season.
Burnett Moves into a Tie for Second in Career Interceptions
Joe Burnett's third quarter interception of UAB quarterback Sam Hunt was the junior cornerback's ninth career interception, which places him a tie for second all-time at UCF with Reggie Edwards (1984-87) and four behind No. 1 Keith Evans (1986-88). Burnett is UCF's interception leader during the FBS era. The interception, on the second play of UAB's first drive of the second half, led to a Kevin Smith touchdown two plays later and a 24-17 lead. Teammate Sha'reff Rashad is not far behind with eight career interceptions, good for fourth place all-time. Burnett and Rashad lead the team with three interceptions a piece in 2007.
Red Hot in the Red Zone
The UCF offense is among the top schools in the FBS when it comes to converting scoring chances in the red zone. The Knights have scored points on 41-of-44 trips, including 32 touchdowns, inside the opponent's 20-yard line this season. That is good for a percentage of 93.2. The improvement the offense has made from a year ago in the red zone is significant. Last year, the offense converted just 36-of-50 attempts and only scored 20 TDs inside the 20-yard line.