Photo by Bryce Brimhall
The Knights weren’t able to overcome early miscues unleashing a Wolverine onslaught that resulted in a 51-14 Knight-mare blowout on the road.
UCF came into their road matchup versus Michigan as a 35.5-point underdog—needless to say those odds were spot-on versus the No.5 team in the country. But the Knights made unnecessary blunders throughout the game such as senior linebacker Demeitre Brim getting ejected for targeting or sophomore cornerback Rashard Causey fumbling the kickoff in the second half—some of the many noticeable UCF growing pains.
The Knights unnecessary penalties, dropped passes and missed opportunities, however didn’t overlook a second half that was far better than the first. In the first half UCF gave up 34 points, but in the second half they gave up half that (17) and held Michigan’s running game to 119 yards on 2.9 yards-per-carry.
“It’s hard to say when the score is what it is, but we out-hit those guys today,” UCF head coach Scott Frost said. “Standing on the sideline there was no doubt whose team was hitting harder. Our guys came in hungry and want to do that it’s rare you come into Michigan and rush for 300 yards on them.
“They had to run a fly-sweep in the fourth quarter to get to 100 [yards]. I give our defense a ton of credit.”
Although UCF was anemic in the passing game, they were effective with their rushing attack. The Knights rushed for 275 total yards from scrimmage and both of their touchdowns came by way of their ground game. Freshman running back Adrian Killins believes that this game is a great stepping stone for UCF’s rushing attack.
“This will help us a lot, knowing we played a Big-10 team a top-5 in the nation and we put up several points on them [and] several rushing yards on them,” Killins said. “This helped us going forward in the season, knowing that we can put up even more numbers against any team.”
The Knights snafu’s in the first half cost them opportunities at bringing the fight to the Wolverines early on in the game. UCF opened the game with a solid 11-yard run to the outside by true freshman Jawon Hamilton followed by a short completion by redshirt senior quarterback Justin Holman through the air to redshirt wide receiver Taylor Oldham. But on UCF’s fifth drive, Holman bobbled the snap on 3rd-and-1, leading to a tackle for loss and an awful punt on 4th-and-5.
UCF’s special teams saw two of their punts partially tipped and two blocked field goals which lead to Michigan having outstanding field position on four of their first six scoring drives in the first half.
The Knights’ scored their lone touchdown of the half on a 87-yard touchdown run by freshman running-back Adrian Killins. UCF rushed for 160 yards in the first half, but they weren’t able to establish a rhythm throwing the ball as they were held under 20-yards passing in the first half.
“We got behind on field position right away and gave up some short field,” Frost said. “This is a process, I think on all three phases of our team we have to learn how to play faster and harder and execute more precisely … our team played hard today—the passion, the effort, the physicality, was there. Sometimes our execution isn’t where it needs to be.”
Redshirt senior quarterback Nick Patti replaced Holman after he injured himself scrambling out of bounds in the second half. The redshirt senior’s primary point of emphasis for the team going forward was for the leaders to lead and for the team to stay positive.
“I think we have to take positives from every week,” Patti said. “Stay together, the message from coach Frost was for us to come together tighter and tighter as a team win or loss and today it’s going to test that and we got to do a good job as seniors and leaders guys that have been around… like I said take the positives and not let anything comes between us as teammates and not letting anything come between us and the coaches … and move on to next week.”
The Knights will look to bounce back at home on Saturday versus the Terrapins. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Bright House Networks Stadium.