Dr. Blackwell's BLOG

Saturday, September 29, 2012

UCF Knights’ Offense Comes Up Short, Loses to Mizzou

Filed under: UCF Sports — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 23:55


The UCF Knights football team (2-2; 0-0 C-USA) lost 21-16 to the Missouri Tigers (3-2; 0-2 SEC) at home today at Bright House Networks Stadium. Although the Knights put up a strong offensive during most of the first half, their failure to score on Mizzou’s 3-yard line in the final 2-minutes of the second quarter set-up the offense for a sputtering second half. The Knights take-on East Carolina (3-2; 2-0 C-USA) this coming Thursday at 8:00pm at home. The game will be nationally broadcasted on CBS Sports Network.

Brenden Sonnone writes about the loss to Missouri in the Orlando Sentinel:

UCF senior linebacker Ray Shipman planned to rub salt in some raw wounds. After the Knights suffered a 21-16 loss to Missouri on Saturday at Bright House Networks Stadium, Shipman planned to watch hours of film chronicling the Knights’ latest squandered opportunity. “We let another winnable game get away,” Shipman said. “That’s pretty much all I have to say about it right now.” There wasn’t much else to say. Saturday’s home game, played in front of an announced crowd of 35,835, had the potential to be a statement game for a program that still lacks an abundance of marquee wins. Things began to unravel for UCF (2-2) just before halftime. Leading 10-7, the Knights were outplaying Missouri and could have seized control of the game by taking a two-score lead. However, quarterback Blake Bortles was sacked for a 6-yard loss on third down. With no timeouts remaining, the clock ran down and the half ended, along with the good will UCF had compiled. “It was a big shift of momentum,” UCF running back Storm Johnson said. “Obviously, we were on, what, the 3-yard line? We want to score or at least get a field goal out of it. To get no points, that was a big momentum switch, but I don’t think it should have changed our pace of the game. But it did.” New life was injected into the Tigers on both sides of the ball. Missouri took what seemed to be UCF’s best shot and trailed by just three points. The Knights started a drive at their own 12-yard line and efficiently marched downfield. UCF was facing first-and-goal from the 3-yard line with 13 seconds remaining in the half. With renewed energy on defense, Missouri forced UCF into two three-and-outs to start the second half. Johnson had 84 rushing yards in the first half, and the Knights possessed the ball for nearly 22 of the game’s first 30 minutes, but UCF’s offense became stagnant in the second half. With a 14-10 lead, Missouri never looked back. Running back Kendial Lawrence would score on a 10-yard run with 9:31 left in the fourth quarter to put Missouri up 21-10.

It looked as if UCF might pull out of the nose dive just in time. More punting meant more opportunities for Tigers tailback/return specialist Marcus Murphy, who embraced the frequent reps by returning a punt 66 yards for a touchdown midway through the third quarter. After UCF forced Missouri to punt, the Knights took over on offense with 2:44 left in the game, but Godfrey fumbled the ball after a 7-yard reception, ending any chances of a UCF comeback. Sophomore wide receiver Jeff Godfrey hauled in an 18-yard touchdown pass from Bortles with 4:34 remaining in the game. 

“They’re losses,” UCF head coach George O’Leary said of the narrow defeats to teams from automatic qualifying BCS conference teams. “They win, we lose, that’s how we look at those games. … But I think we can grow on, correct some of the mistakes. I think we had it going early in the game.” Again, it was another missed opportunity for UCF, which lost at Ohio State earlier this season 31-16 in a game that was competitive outside of self-inflicted mistakes. Defensively, Shipman had eight tackles and a tackle for loss, defensive end Troy Davis had 1.5 sacks and safety Kemal Ishmael had six tackles and an interception. UCF was led on offense by Johnson, who finished with 93 rushing yards. Bortles, who was not made available to the media after the game, threw for 267 yards and two touchdowns. “It’s just dull,” Ishmael said. “We were inconsistent on offense and defense. We had chances to capitalize, but we just have to move forward now.” Ishmael said he will soon forget the painful loss and concentrate on Thursday’s Conference USA opener at home against UCF.

Story and Photo Courtesy Orlando Sentinel.

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