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Southern Miss Rally Comes Up Short in Loss to UCF

Damion Fletcher

Damion Fletcher

Oct. 28, 2007

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) -- UCF's Kevin Smith ran for 175 yards and two touchdowns and set four school records to help the University of Central Florida beat Southern Miss 34-17 on Sunday night.

Smith, who entered the game as the No. 2 scorer and rusher in the nation, led the Knights (5-3, 3-1) back into the Conference USA East Division race.

The 6-foot-1, 211-pound junior set the school career rushing record with 3,372 yards, breaking Alex Hayne's mark of 3,359 set from 2001-04. Smith also set marks for TDs in a season (16), career 100-yard games (16) and had a school-record 43 carries.

Southern Miss turnovers set up both of Smith's first-half scores. The first, a 1-yard dive, came after Johnell Neal intercepted Stephen Reaves' pass.

The second, a 5-yard sprint to the corner of the end zone, was set up by Jeremy Young's fumbled snap in the second quarter.

Kyle Israel put the Knights up 21-10 with an 8-yard pass to Brian Watters with 1:28 left in the second quarter.

Southern Miss (4-4, 3-2) rallied briefly after UCF pushed its lead to 24-10 on Michael Torres' 41-yard field goal to open the second half. Tory Harrison's second touchdown run of the game, a 4-yarder that came with 9:59 left in the third quarter, cut the Knights' lead to a touchdown.

But Smith and UCF answered with a 17-play drive that ate up 80 yards and 8:56. Smith had seven carries on the drive, and Israel threw his second touchdown pass, connecting with Kamar Aiken on an 8-yard pass with 1:03 left in the third quarter to make it 31-17.

Reaves threw his third interception on the next drive, effectively ending Southern Miss' hopes, and Torres nailed down the game with a 31-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.

In addition to the touchdown passes, Israel made several big plays for first downs to keep UCF drives alive and finished 12-of-16 for 162 yards.

The Golden Eagles were led by tailback Damion Fletcher, who had 134 yards rushing on 19 carries.

Reaves finished 20-of-29 for 144 yards and three interceptions.

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