TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Rannell Hall rushed for 65 yards and a touchdown to lead UCF to a 16-0 victory against South Forida at Raymond James Stadium on Friday.
The Knights (8-3, 6-1) will face East Carolina next Thursday with the American Athletic Conference championship on the line.
''We got a good win, and now they gave themselves an opportunity to play for a conference championship next weekend,'' Knights coach George O'Leary said. ''I congratulate them, but our job is not done yet and they understand that.''
It was the Knights second-straight victory against their in-state rivals. USF (4-8, 3-5) was shut out for the first time at home and third time in the program's history.
During the week many USF players talked about the way they would handle their rivals but UCF stayed quiet and let its play on the field speak for itself. The Knights held the Bulls to five-yards rushing and stopped them on two red-zone possessions in the second half.
''They did their talking, we just played with our shoulder pads and our feet,'' said UCF linebacker Troy Gray. ''That's what we did. We played hard football, hard-nosed, running to the ball, everybody swarming. We won this game, and we won it how we wanted to win it.''
UCF took a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter when quarterback Justin Holman connected with wide receiver Breshad Perriman from seven yards out to cap a 17-play, 80-yard drive that took over seven and a half minutes.
After holding USF to a three-and-out the Knights extended their lead to 14-0 when Hall scored on a 21-yard jaunt to the outside and ran into the corner of the end zone.
The only points in the second half came when USF quarterback Mike White was sacked in the end zone by defensive end Thomas Niles.
''That's the job of the defense, not to let them score any points, we did that,'' Niles said. ''That's hard to do in college football, because everybody in college football is good at something, so we're very proud of that. We played with a chip on our shoulder as we always do.''
USF's defense created opportunities for the offense in the second half but Lamar Robbins' interception and Demetrius Hill's fumble recovery did not lead to any points.
Hill's recovery and return of Holman's fumble gave the Bulls a first down at the UCF 14. The drive quickly stalled, however, and USF faked a field goal but tight end Mike McFarland's pass to Sean Price was incomplete.
''We had the play exactly the way we wanted it but Mike just missed on the pass,'' USF coach Willie Taggart said. ''That was the story of the game. We just didn't execute.''
In the fourth quarter USF had a first-and-goal on the UCF 1 but backup quarterback Steven Bench took a sack and the Bulls were flagged for a personal foul. Bench couldn't connect with Andre Davis on the fourth-and-goal play from UCF's 22.
''We executed to get down there and then didn't execute once we were in position to score,'' Taggart said. ''It's frustrating because we had the opportunities and couldn't capitalize.''
Holman finished 20-of-29 for 150 yards while USF quarterback Mike White was 11-of-25 for 107 yards before leaving the game with a rib injury in the third quarter.