Nov. 3, 2007
ORLANDO - The UCF Knights jumped ahead to a 27-3 halftime lead Saturday and never looked back, beating Marshall 47-13 in front of a loud and raucous crowd at Bright House Networks Stadium.
UCF ground its way to victory with 269 rushing yards, most of those coming from the nation's second leading rusher, Kevin Smith, who carried 29 times for 188 yards. Knight quarterback Kyle Israel chipped in with 223 yards passing including two touchdown connections with receiver Brian Watters
The Thundering Herd was led offensively by Bernard Morris 239 yards passing and tight end Cody Slate who had 91 yards receiving.
Marshall won the coin toss but deferred, and UCF received the opening kickoff. The Knights didn't do anything special on their first possession and went 61 yards in 11 plays, mainly behind the rushing of Smith who carried the ball six times on the drive and eventually punched the ball in for his first score of the game, giving UCF a 7-0 lead.
After a 10-yard run by Morris on its opening offensive play, the Marshall offense was shut down and Marty Biagi came in for a 31-yard punt.
UCF went ahead 10-0 with 4:45 as Michael Torres knocked through a season long 48-yard field goal to cap off a 38-yard drive by the Knights.
The Herd went three and out in its next possession and once again put its defense on the field. UCF ground the ball all the way to Marshall four-yard line on a 15-play 58-yard drive, but stalled out and settled for a second Torres field goal to go ahead 13-0 with 12:43 left in the half.
On the ensuing drive, Marshall looked to have something going as Marshall connected with Slate along the sideline for a 22-yard gain, but the UCF defense and a holding call against the Herd killed the momentum and Marshall was forced to give the ball back.
The Knights took over a their own 14-yard line and went three-and-out as the Marshall defense rose up to stuff Smith for a loss on a third and short carry.
Marshall wasn't able to get anything going and was forced to punt again. Anthony Binswanger bombed a 51-yard punt right into the coffin corner and pinned UCF at its own one-yard line.
A quarterback sneak and a quick out from Israel to James Burkes moved the Knights to their 13 and set the stage for Smith to break off a school-record 87-yard scoring run. The touchdown moved UCF ahead 20-0 with 5:28 remaining in the half.
Marshall finally got on the board with a nine play drive that resulted in a 64-yard Binswanger field goal.
UCF countered going 71 yards in under two minutes and recorded its first passing touchdown of the day as Israel connected with wide out Brian Watters on a 23-yard scoring strike to give the Knights a 27-3 lead going into the break.
The Herd took the opening drive of the second half and moved to the UCF 41 before punting the ball away. Marshall pinned the Knights at their own one-yard line for a second time as Bigai's punt was downed near the UCF goal line.
After the Knights advanced the ball to the 41, Marshall was able to force a punt. The Herd mounted a series scoring threat and worked its way to the UCF 17. On fourth and seven Morris rolled out and had a receiver in the back corner of the end zone, but the ball fell out of the hands of a sliding Darius Passmore.
Marshall forced UCF to punt on its next drive and took over again at the Herd 36. MU moved the ball well once again but Morris was intercepted by Justin Bodie at the UCF 12-yard line.
Defensive lineman Ryland Wilson recorded the first interception of his career and set up a 38-yard Anthony Binswanger field goal.
UCF scored again on its next possession as Israel and Watters hooked for their second touchdown and extended the lead to 33-6.
The Herd finally put a touchdown on the board when Chubb Small broke a 45-yard run for a score. It was the junior's third rushing touchdown of the year. Marshall's two-point attempt failed.
The teams exchanged possessions as UCF and Marshall turned the ball over on Morris' second interception throw of the game.
UCF took advantage of the good field position and moved 33 yards in eight plays capped by a one-yard touchdown run by Phillip Smith.
The Knights' final touchdown came when Herd backup quarterback Brian Anderson threw an interception to Darin Baldwin, who returned the ball 37-yards for the score.