ORLANDO, Fla. -- UCF earned its second Conference USA championship with a gutsy defensive performance.
The Knights dominated SMU en route to a 17-7 win in the Conference USA title game for their first league title since 2007. UCF completely stymied the SMU run 'n' shoot and shut down league leading rusher Zach Line, getting two interceptions, five sacks and harassing Kyle Padron all game.
Not only that, the Knights took away top receiving option Aldrick Robinson, who had three total catches. Padron had costly mistakes that hurt, including several passes broken up in the end zone. He threw one interception at the UCF 27 late in the third quarter, down 17-0. Then after SMU closed it to 17-7, the Mustangs held the Knights and got the ball back.
But Padron threw another interception on third-and-10 from his own 20, on a pass that was slightly overthrown down the middle for Darius Johnson. Reggie Weams essentially took the ball out of Johnson's hands and gave UCF the ball at the SMU 30 with 5:07 to play.
After the Knights missed a 52-yard field goal, SMU tried to get closer. But fittingly, Padron was sacked on fourth down deep in UCF territory with 10 seconds left, ending any chance of a comeback. UCF has now tied the school record for wins in a season with 10. SMU drops to 7-6.
UCF running back Latavius Murray was named the MVP.