Dec. 29, 2007
Final Stats |
AP Liberty Bowl Gallery |
2007 UCF Football Game Notes
Game 14: Mississippi State (Dec. 29)
AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Mississippi State 10, UCF 3
UCF finished 2007 with a 10-4 record, marking the most wins in a season in program history.
The Knights fell to 0-2 all-time in bowl games, including a 2005 loss to Nevada in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.
UCF witnessed their school-record seven-game winning streak come to an end.
Junior running back Kevin Smith eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the 13th time this season with a 12-yard carry in the third quarter. He rushed 17 times for 77 yards in the opening half and 18 times for 42 yards in the final half for 119 total in the game.
Smith finished the season in second on the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision single-season rushing list with 2,567 yards. He reached that figure on 450 carries for an average of 5.70 yards per carry. Meanwhile, Smith posted a 183.4 yards-per-game average and 29 rushing touchdowns this year.
Smith now has 4,679 career rushing yards in three seasons for UCF. He entered the 2007 campaign with 2,112 yards in his first two years in Orlando.
Junior Johnell Neal picked off his sixth pass of the season, tying Joe Burnett for the team and Conference USA leads. The interception was the Knights' 24th of the season, which is the second most in the FBS this season (Cincinnati after its bowl game had 26).
Neal and Burnett are the first Knight teammates to pick off at least six passes in the same season. The six interceptions are career highs for both cornerbacks and are the second most in a single-season by any Knight.
Junior safety Sha'reff Rashad registered his first career sack in the second quarter. With seven first-half tackles, Rashad surpassed 100 on the season. Rashad is the first Knight since 2003 to register 100 tackles in a season (Peter Sands, 113).
Rashad's three tackles for a loss were also a career-high in a game. Rashad finished the game with nine tackles and 103 for the season.
Junior safety Jason Venson had a game-high 11 tackles, which tied a season-high he set in a win at NC State in the 2007 opener.
The UCF defense held MSU to just 39 passing yards. The Black and Gold's previous season-low was 144 yards vs. Southern Miss.
Senior Michael Torres extended his streak of consecutive makes to 16 on the season with his 45-yard field goal in the second quarter. His school-record streak was snapped when he missed from 32 yards in the third quarter. His previous miss was from 31 yards out against East Carolina in the Knights' fifth game of the season on Oct. 6.
True freshman Blake Clingan's first quarter punt of 55 yards was a season long. He completed his afternoon with six punts for a 42.83 average.
The three points scored by the Knights were the fewest in a first half and a game this season.
The Knights held Mississippi State to 10 points, the lowest by a UCF opponent in 2007.