Dr. Blackwell's BLOG

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

After Win over FIU, Knights Look to Mizzu

Filed under: UCF Sports — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 23:59


The UCF Knights (2-1; 0-0 C-USA) defeated the FIU Panthers (1-2; 0-0 Sun Belt) on Saturday at Bright House Networks Stadium in-front of a crowd of nearly 41,000. FIU’s late rally wasn’t enough for UCF’s dominant defense and the Knights sealed their 33-20 victory. UCF now faces the Tigers of Missouri (2-1; 0-1 SEC) a week from this Saturday and will enjoy a bye-week before facing what is likely to be their most formidable foe of the remaining season. Orlando Sentinel‘s Ilana Limon reports:

For a brief moment Saturday afternoon, the haunting memories of the past crept up on UCF players. It was inevitable.But thoughts of revenge and the memories of last year’s painful collapse prompted the Knights to avoid letting history repeat itself. “It’s been a long year, and it’s been worth it,” said UCF senior defensive end Troy Davis, who finished with seven tackles, two sacks and two forced fumble. “Just the loss to them last year put more fuel to the fire.” Just one year since a 17-10 meltdown and loss to FIU — a defeat that derailed the Knights’ once promising season — UCF again flirted with surrendering a comfortable lead to the upstart Panthers. UCF (2-1) thwarted a late FIU (1-2) comeback attempt, beating the Panthers 33-20 before an announced crowd of 40,478 fans at Bright House Networks Stadium. It was UCF’s home opener. 

Then, the pesky Panthers began to claw back. UCF had built a 30-7 lead late in the third quarter following a 10-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver and converted quarterback Jeff Godfrey, but FIU recorded two unanswered touchdowns to cut the Knights’ lead to 30-20 with 9:16 left in the game. The Knights were clearly motivated from the onset of the game, jumping out to a 23-0 halftime lead. It was then when the Knights recalled the way they felt after 2011’s 17-10 loss, a defeat that helped spark a disappointing 5-7 season for UCF. “Just stay on those guys; don’t let up,” Godfrey said of what he thought during the FIU rally. “Just keep pushing.” The Knights dug down and put together a six-minute drive capped by a 23-yard field goal from Shawn Moffitt. The score pushed UCF ahead 33-20 with 2:26 left in the fourth quarter and put the contest out of reach.


UCF’s win over FIU is an exorcism of sorts. Sophomore quarterback Blake Bortles threw two touchdown passes during the game’s first two quarters, and the Knights’ defense did not allow the Panthers to cross midfield.For Godfrey and J.J. Worton — both South Florida natives — beating former high-school teammates and opponents who play for FIU means they can move on from last year’s upset loss. Worton finished with five receptions for 94 yards and a score. “It was very personal,” Worton said. “I knew all the guys on their team, so there were no hard feelings afterwards, but I’m glad we came up with the win.”  Even Godfrey’s touchdown toss was much more than just a successfully completed gadget play out of UCF’s Wild Knight formation. With his pass, Godfrey was relieved of the memories from 2011’s debacle. The game started his downward spiral from starting quarterback, to quitting the team, to finally returning as a wide receiver. “Going out there and throwing that ball, it felt like being a quarterback again,” Godfrey said with a smile. “It was very special. [FIU players] were talking a lot down there, saying that I’m a receiver and that I’m not going to get to throw the ball. But we surprised them today.” 

UCF’s balanced offensive attack was led by Bortles, who was 20-of-30 for 251 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, as well as running backs Storm Johnson and Brynn Harvey. The duo ran for 78 and 73 yards, respectively. Along with Godfrey’s touchdown throw, the junior had 26 receiving yards and 19 rushing yards. “A win’s a win,” UCF head coach George O’Leary said. “I thought it was two different halves. … We fought back, got the win. It was a good win.”

Story and Photo Courtesy Orlando Sentinel.

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Powered by WordPress