UCF Punches Ticket To Conference USA Championship

Nov. 24, 2007

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Running back Kevin Smith rushed for 219 yards and a touchdown on 46 carries and quarterback Kyle Israel threw three touchdowns as UCF beat UTEP 36-20 on Saturday.

The Knights - winners of six straight since losing to South Florida on Oct. 13 - secured the Conference USA East title and will host the C-USA Championship game Dec 1.

Smith took over the national lead in rushing with his fourth 200-yard game of the season. The junior from Miami has 2,164 yards on the season, which is the fourth highest single-season rushing total in NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision history.

The Knights (9-3, 7-1 C-USA) scored first in the second quarter when Michael Torres kicked a 47-yard field goal.

Israel, who went 18-for-26 passing and 261 yards, threw a three-yard score to Corey Rabazinski and then a 39-yard pass to A.J. Guyton.

The Miners scored the last 10 points of the half in the final 1:12 when Trevor Vittatoe threw a 19-yard touchdown to receiver Fred Rouse and kicker Jose Martinez hit a 48-yard field goal.

UTEP (4-8, 2-6 C-USA) took a brief 17-16 lead in the third when free safety Quentin Demps intercepted Israel in the end zone and returned it 100 yards for the lead. Demps leads NCAA Division I players with 17 career interceptions. It was the second time this season Demps has retuned a pick for 100 yards.

Torres hit fields goals of 28 and 34 yards for the Knights to take the lead back at 22-17. UCF added two more scores when Israel hit receiver Rocky Ross for a four-yard touchdown pass and Smith picked up a two-yard run. It was Smith's 26 touchdown of the season.

Vittatoe went 20-for-37 with 292 yards and a touchdown and two interceptions. UCF's Guyton led all receivers with 96 yards on four catches.