The Golden Hurricane (1-1) made it two straight wins over UCF (2-1), which was plagued by penalties (18 for 124 yards) and turned the ball over three times.
Smith threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Keylon Stokes to give Tulsa a 31-26 lead with 12:56 remaining. Zack Long added a 34-yard field goal with 1:30 remaining to make it 34-26.
UCF (2-1) drove into Tulsa territory, but after a holding penalty pushed the Knights out of the red zone Dillon Gabriel’s Hail Mary pass fell incomplete.
Gabriel was 28-of-51 for 330 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Smith threw for 273 yards and T.K. Wilkerson rushed for 86 yards and a touchdown to lift the Golden Hurricane to their first win against a Top 15 opponent since 1991. Stokes had six catches for 95 yards and a touchdown.
UCF led 23-5 with 1:39 left in the second quarter after Cole Schneider, the Knights’ starting left guard, lined up at fullback and scored on a 1-yard run. Tulsa answered quickly to make the score 23-12 at halftime when Josh Johnson hauled in a 48-yard touchdown pass from Smith.
Tulsa recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half and on the next play Smith threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Sam Crawford Jr. to make it 23-19. After UCF got a 26-yard field goal from Daniel Obarski, Wilkerson scored on a 2-yard run to make it 26-25, and Tulsa missed the PAT.
Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane have two wins over UCF in their past five games.
UCF: The Knights’ long-shot College Football Playoff hopes take a major blow.
Tulsa will host Cincinnati on October 17.
UCF will travel to Memphis on October 17.