UCF Rolls Past Memphis In C-USA Opener, 56-20


GO KNIGHTS UCF Joe Burnett dodges a tackle by Memphis defender Brandon Hunt on a punt return during the first half. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
GO KNIGHTS
UCF Joe Burnett dodges a tackle by Memphis defender Brandon Hunt on a punt return during the first half. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
GO KNIGHTS

Sept. 22, 2007

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - UCF's Kevin Smith ran 22 times for 124 yards and three touchdowns, then took most of the second half off as the Knights rolled past Memphis 56-20.

UCF coach George O'Leary used two quarterbacks - with explosive results. Backup Michael Greco, a 6-foot-3 junior college transfer taking his first snaps for UCF, completed 11-of-12 passes for 151 yards. He ran 10 times for 77 yards and scored twice on the ground.

Starter Kyle Israel was 6-for-9 for 137 yards and a touchdown - a 72-yard pass to Kamar Aiken that put UCF (2-1, 1-0 Conference USA) ahead 49-0 early in the third quarter.

The Knights held Memphis (1-2, 0-1) to 290 yards - including just 57 in the first half. Greco's 50 yards rushing at halftime was better than the Tigers' whole team, which had 41 at the break.

Memphis didn't get on the board until 11:16 left in the third quarter on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Martin Hankins to Carlos Singleton. Matt Reagan missed the extra point, hitting the left upright.

Hankins nearly threw another TD on the next drive, but the 25-yard pass slipped just off Maurice Jones' fingertips in the corner of the end zone. Hankins completed 10-of-23 passes for 81 yards before sitting out the fourth quarter.

 

 

Both of his backups - Will Hudgens and Matt Malouf - threw TD passes in his absence.

Memphis couldn't stop UCF with either of their quarterbacks in. Israel led the Knights to two decisive first-quarter scoring drives, the second lasting more than nine minutes. Greco, a mobile threat, was even more effective, running it up to 42-0 at halftime.

His only blemish was a third-quarter fumble on UCF's 33 yard-line as Greco sprinted for an easy first down. The Knights went the whole first half without a turnover but lost three fumbles in the third quarter.

Aiken caught four passes for 131 yards and a touchdown

Smith, the nation's leading rusher averaging 183 yards, had 51 yards on four carries on UCF's first drive, scampering three yards for a score.

UCF scored a rushing touchdown on each of its first seven possessions with Smith collecting three of those to equal his career high. Smith's back-up, Philip Smith, added a career-high 96 yards on the ground and scored the first touchdown of his career.

The seven rushing touchdowns by UCF was a school record and tied the Conference USA record set in the 1999 Louisville-Army game.

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