Dr. Blackwell's BLOG

Monday, September 26, 2022

UCF Knights Defeat Georgia Tech Before Heading into Conference Play

Filed under: UCF Sports — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 20:35
Photo Courtesy Orlando Sentinel.

The UCF Knights (3-1; 0-0 AAC) overcame some offensive stalls to defeat the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech (1-3; 0-1 AAC) on Saturday in front of a loud and boisterous crowd at FBC Mortgage Stadium on the beautiful UCF campus. The Knights will move into American Conference play on Saturday against the SMU Mustangs (2-2; 0-0 AAC). Kickoff is set for 3:30pm and the game will be televised on ESPNU. Check out news and video highlights of UCF’s 27-10 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday below:

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — On a day when senior quarterback John Rhys Plumlee completed just eight passes, UCF scored on a blocked punt and rode four Colton Boomer field goals to a 27-10 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday.

“A win is a win, no matter what it looks like,” said Plumlee, who has produced two games of 300 passing yards and 100 rushing yards this season. “What stood out today was our defense and special teams.”

Plumlee did not complete a pass in the first quarter and finished 8 of 16 for 49 yards with an interception and two sacks. He carried 16 times for 100 yards to lead the Knights’ ground game.

Plumlee described his performance as “bad. I think I’ve got to be better and I will be better.”

RJ Harvey and Isaiah Bowser combined for 143 yards on 31 carries, and the Knights averaged 5.1 yards per rush.

“We were having success on the ground so he kept leaning on us,” Bowser said.

UCF (3-1) drove 71 yards on 20 plays, all of them on the ground, on the game’s opening series to take a 3-0 lead on a 21-yard Boomer field goal.

Jeff Sims threw a 59-yard touchdown pass to Malachi Carter to give Georgia Tech (1-3) a 7-3 lead in the second quarter, but the Knights got field goals from 21- and 31-yards out and, with :41 left in the first half, Jarvis Ware blocked David Shanahan’s punt. Quandric Bullard scooped up the loose ball at the Yellow Jackets’ 29 and scored to send UCF into intermission with a 13-7 lead.

“The big play of the game was the blocked punt right before halftime. It gave us some momentum,” said UCF coach Guz Malzahn. “When you go into the locker room with momentum, that’s really good in football.”

The teams traded third quarter field goals and Plumlee charged 28 yards for a touchdown with 10:37 left in the game, then passed for the two-point conversion and Boomer added a 43-yard field goal with 4:17 left.

Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste sacked Sims in the second half and Tre’mon Morris-Brash returned the Tech fumble 89 yards, only to be stripped at the goal line by Nate McCollum for a Georgia Tech touchback. The Yellow Jackets then drove for a 42-yard Jude Kelley field goal to make it 16-10.

But two big penalties helped UCF on a 57-yard touchdown drive that ended with Plumlee’s touchdown run, which gave the Knights a 24-10 lead with 10:37 remaining.

Sims was 21 of 32 passing for 314 yards and a touchdown for Georgia Tech. He was sacked four times.

Georgia Tech lost its ninth straight game against an FBS opponent but outgained UCF, 452 yards to 333. Eight penalties, some of them prolonging UCF drives, were critical, and linebacker Charlie Thomas was disqualified for targeting during UCF’s fourth-quarter touchdown drive.

UCF did not post gaudy offensive stats but showed it could win with defense and big special teams plays when Plumleee had an off day. “We did give up some yards,” noted Malzahn, “but once we got in the red zone we came up with big plays time and time again.”

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Knights Rebound by Blowing Out FAU

Filed under: UCF Sports — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 00:32
Photo Courtesy UCF Athletics

The UCF Knights (2-1; 0-0 AAC) soundly defeated the Owls of FAU (2-2) on Saturday a week after suffering a rare at-home defeat against Louisville. The Knights now take on the Rambling Wreck of Georgia Tech (1-2) at home on Saturday at 4pm. the game will be nationally televised on ESPNU. Below is a recap and video highlights of the Knights’ win on Saturday at FAU courtesy of the American Athletic Conference:

BOCA RATON, Fla. – After allowing just 18 yards in the second half, UCF football bounced back in a big way with a 40-14 win against Florida Atlantic Saturday night at FAU Stadium. The Knights defense held the Owls to zero yards in the third quarter and only allowed 18 yards in the fourth quarter.

UCF (2-1) has now won all four games in the series against Florida Atlantic (2-2), including a perfect 2-0 record at FAU Stadium.

Florida Atlantic scored on its opening drive of the game, but UCF quickly responded to knot the score at 7-7. Following consecutive passes to Ryan O’Keefe and Xavier Townsend, Knights quarterback John Rhys Plumlee called his own number and scored on a rushing play from seven yards out.

The Owls scored a second touchdown with a few seconds remaining in the first quarter, but the Knights defense held Florida Atlantic scoreless for the final three quarters.

A 41-yard field goal from freshman kicker Colton Boomer, making his collegiate debut, cut the UCF deficit to 14-10 and Plumlee scored his second rushing touchdown of the game a few minutes later to give the Knights a 16-14 lead at halftime. The Hattiesburg, Mississippi, native turned in a career performance with 121 rushing yards, a career-high 339 passing yards and 25 completions for three total touchdowns.

The second half was all UCF with the Knights compiling 327 yards of total offense and limiting Florida Atlantic to 18 total yards.

Isaiah Bowser opened the second-half scoring with a 1-yard rushing touchdown, his fifth of the season. The Sidney, Ohio, native has scored a rushing touchdown in all three games this season and dating back to the bowl game last year, Bowser has seven touchdowns in his last four games.

A 3-yard touchdown run from RJ Harvey pushed the Knights’ lead to 30-14 on the redshirt junior running back’s first career touchdown.

Boomer connected on a 29-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to finish a perfect 2-2 on field goal attempts, stretching the UCF advantage to 33-14. Javon Baker reeled in a 20-yard pass from Plumlee for the final score of the game to cap a nine-play, 69-yard drive.

UCF returns to action at home next weekend when the Knights welcome Georgia Tech for a 4 p.m. kickoff on ESPNU from FBC Mortgage Stadium.

Saturday, September 3, 2022

UCF Knights Open Season with Crushing Defeat of SC State

Filed under: UCF Sports — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 23:58
Photo Courtesy Orlando Sentinel

The UCF Knights (1-0; 0-0 AAC) soundly defeated the Bulldogs of South Carolina State (0-1; 0-0 MEAC) on Thursday in front of an almost at-capacity crowd at fbs Mortgage Stadium on the beautiful campus of the University of Central Florida. As reported by the AAC:

John Rhys Plumlee figured in five touchdowns as UCF opened its 2022 season with a 56-10 win against South Carolina State Thursday night at FBC Mortgage Stadium. Plumlee, the former Ole Miss signal-caller who most recently spent two seasons as a receiver for the Rebels, passed for 308 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 86 yards and another score in his UCF debut and his return to the quarterback position. Plumlee helped stake the Knights to a 21-0 lead after the first quarter.

Isaiah Bowser rushed for 80 yards and two touchdowns to help the Knights rush for 292 yards as a team. UCF gained 600 yards on offense, while the defense limited the Bulldogs to 91 yards (56 passing, 35 rushing). The Knights took a 42-10 lead into the fourth quarter, but Plumlee found Zach Marsh-Wojan for a 21-yard score to make it a 39-point lead before Quadric Bullard capped the scoring when he blocked a punt and dove on the loose ball in the end zone.

The Knights take on the Cardinals of Louisville (0-1; 0-1 ACC) for a primetime matchup on Friday at 7:30pm. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN2. Check out highlights of UCF’s win over SC State below, courtesy of the American Athletic Conference:

Video Courtesy the American Athletic Conference

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

UCF Knights Knock Off Gators in Gasparilla Bowl, Have Record Recruiting Class, Look to Big 12

Filed under: UCF Sports — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 19:56


The UCF Knights (9-4; 5-3 AAC) took care of business last Thursday against the Florida Gators (6-7; 2-6 SEC), winning the Gasparilla Bowl 29-17 in Tampa. As reported by the AAC (via AP):

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Isaiah Bowser ran for 155 yards and two touchdowns, Ryan O’Keefe had 85 yards on seven receptions, and UCF earned Sunshine State bragging rights by beating Florida 29-17 in the Gasparilla Bowl on Thursday night.

UCF (9-4) took a 26-17 lead late in the third when Daniel Obarski made a 21-yard field goal and Mikey Keene threw a 54-yard scoring strike to O’Keefe in the span of about two minutes. Obarski then made it 29-17 on a 33-yarder with 2:41 to play.

Florida quarterback Emory Jones, playing in his final game with the Gators before entering the transfer portal, completed 14 of 36 passes for 171 yards. He also ran for 62 yards on 10 carries.

Florida was led by interim coach Greg Knox, who took over when Dan Mullen was fired before the regular-season finale against Florida State. Former Louisiana coach Billy Napier will take over for the 2022 season. Florida (6-7) finished with its first losing record since 2017.

UCF outgained Florida 436-376. O’Keefe also put up 110 rushing yards, including a 74-yard run in third quarter after which Bowser put UCF up 16-10 with a TD run 4 yards out.

Florida regained the lead, 17-16, on its next possession when Malik Davis had a 19-yard rushing TD.

Florida led 10-9 at halftime thanks to Chris Howard’s 26-yard field goal with 1:36 left in the second quarter.

Keene replaced starting QB Dillon Gabriel, who broke his left collarbone against Louisville in September. The true freshman went 14 of 22 for 144 yards on Thursday.

It was the first time the time the two teams played since Florida won 42-0 during its 2006 national championship season. The Gators also won 58-27 in 1999.

The announced crowd at Raymond James Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was a Gasparilla Bowl record of 63,669.

The Knights also pulled in one of the program’s best recruiting classes ever, ranking 41 nationally. With a 9-4 2021 record (especially given the team’s adversity), a win against Florida, and a move to the Big 12 Conference (probable in 2023), the future has never been brighter for the UCF Knights.

Check out video highlights of the Knights’ win over the Gators in the Gasparilla Bowl, courtesy of ESPN, below:

Monday, December 6, 2021

UCF Knights Best S. Florida, Accept Bowl Bid to Play UF in 2021 Gasparilla Bowl

Filed under: UCF Sports — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 02:07

The UCF Knights finished their regular season with an 8-4 record on Black Friday after beating rival S. Florida 17-13. UCF ended with a 5-3 record in the American Athletic Conference and finished at #3 in the conference standings behind #2 Houston and #1 Cincinnati. Cincy clenched the #4 national ranking on Sunday, making history as being the first G5 team to ever make the College Football Playoffs. They will face #1 Alabama on New Year’s Eve.

UCF also learned its bowl fate Sunday as well. The Knights will square off against the Florida Gators (6-6; 2-6 SEC) in the Gasparilla Bowl at Raymond James Stadium on December 23rd. That game will be nationally-televised on ESPN. Kickoff is set for 7pm. The game is also expected to be the Bowl’s first-ever sell-out, with Knights fans posted to fill more than half the stadium. Check-out highlights of UCF’s Black Friday win over USF below, courtesy of ESPN College Football:

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Knights Destroy UCONN, Look to Black Friday Rivalry Showdown with usf

Filed under: UCF Sports — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 02:50

Mikey Keene threw for 208 yards and two touchdowns as UCF raced to an early 28-0 lead on its way to a 49-17 win against UConn Saturday at the Bounce House.

Johnny Richardson rushed for 147 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, while Brandon Johnson had seven catches for 125 yards and his American Athletic Conference-leading 10th touchdown of the season.

The UCF defense registered five sacks and forced three turnovers, all on interceptions.

Richardson staked the Knights to an early lead on a 9-yard touchdown run, and Keene followed with a 30-yard keeper for a TD to give UCF a 14-0 cushion only 5:23 into the game.

Mark-Antony Richards made it 21-0 with a touchdown run late in the first quarter, and Keene and Richardson connected for a 17-yard touchdown to start the second period, giving UCF (7-4; 4-3 AAC) a four-touchdown advantage.

Tatum Bethune led the UCF defense with 14 tackles.

UConn quarterback Steven Krajewski went 18-for-42 for 174 yards with three interceptions as the struggling Huskies fell to 1-10.

The Knights now take on their rivals, the usf bulls (2-9; 1-6 AAC), on Black Friday. The game will be nationally-broadcasted on ESPN. Kickoff is at 3:30pm. Check out video highlights of UCF’s win over UCONN, courtesy of the AAC, below:

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

UCF Knights Secure Bowl Eligibility with Homecoming Win Against Tulane, Face Big Challenge at SMU Saturday

Filed under: UCF Sports — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 00:43

As reported by the AAC:

Brandon Johnson’s 23-yard touchdown reception from Mikey Keene with 5:55 left gave UCF its first lead of the second half and the Knights’ defense came up with a late stop to preserve a 14-10 win against Tulane Saturday afternoon at the Bounce House.

The win was UCF’s third straight victory and kept the Knights unbeaten at their home stadium this season (5-0). 

UCF took a 7-0 lead into halftime, but Tulane added 10 third-quarter points to build a 10-7 advantage on Tyjae Spears’ 8-yard run and a 25-yard field goal by Merek Glover. 

The UCF defense forced Tulane to punt on its next three drives, and the Green Wave ran out of time on its final possession after a 10-play possession stalled at the UCF 39-yard line. 

Keene went 19-for-25 for 229 yards and two touchdowns for UCF, while Ryan O’Keefe had 11 catches for 94 yards and a TD. 

Tulane was led by quarterback Michael Pratt, who went 17-for-28 for 147 yards, while Spears finished with 77 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. 

The Knights (6-3; 4-2 AAC) face a formidable foe in SMU (7-2; 3-2 AAC) in Dallas on Saturday. Kickoff is set for Noon and the game will be nationally televised on ESPNU.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

After Dismantling Temple, Knights Return Saturday for Homecoming

Filed under: UCF Sports — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 01:19

The UCF Knights (5-3; 3-2 AAC) destroyed the Owls of Temple (3-5; 1-3 AAC) last Saturday 49-7 and will return to campus to face the Tulane Green Wave (1-7; 0-4 AAC) for Homecoming on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 4pm and the game will be nationally-televised on ESPNU. Below is a recap of Saturday’s win against Temple along with video highlights courtesy of the AAC:

Mikey Keene threw a career-best five touchdown passes and UCF rolled to a 49-7 win over Temple on Saturday.

Keene was 15 of 21 for 229 yards. He threw touchdown passes that covered 13 yards to Alec Holler and 18 to Brandon Johnson in the second quarter for a 21-0 lead at the half. In the the third quarter the scoring plays covered 33 yards with Holler and 12 and 46 yards with Ryan O’Keefe.

Isaiah Bowser, who rushed for 89 yards, ran 11 yards for a score in the first quarter and Johnny Richardson had a 1-yard plunge for a fourth-quarter score.

The Knights (5-3, 3-2 American Athletic Conference), who have won five straight in the series, piled up 428 yards of total offense while limiting the Owls (3-5, 1-3) to 297.

Temple, which lost three fumbles, scored in the last minute when backup quarterback Justin Lynch hit Jose Barbon with a 27-yard strike. Jadan Blue had four receptions to move into second on Temple’s all-time list with 168.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Strong Defense Propels UCF’s Win over Memphis

Filed under: UCF Sports — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 00:58

In their annual Space Game, the UCF Knights (4-3; 2-2 AAC) soundly defeated the Memphis Tigers (4-4; 1-3 AAC) 24-7 at a packed Bounce House on the beautiful UCF campus Saturday. The game was nationally televised on ESPN2. UCF used a stout defensive approach to force the Tigers to cough up several turnovers. As reported by the AAC:

Ryan O’Keefe rushed for one touchdown, caught a pass for another and UCF defeated Memphis 24-7 on Space Night Friday.

On a night themed to honor UCF’s ties to the nation’s space program — complete with the unveiling of special uniforms — the Knights were somewhat low orbit as Mikey Keene completed 11 of 19 passes for 63 yards — his lowest yardage since the season opener.

Meanwhile, the Knights gained 215 yards on the ground with Isaiah Bowser rushing for 111 yards on 26 carries, his second 100-yard rushing game of the season.

Peter Parrish, starting for Memphis’ injured Seth Henigan (right hand), went 31-for-48 passing for 215 yards but threw three interceptions. His final pick came with less than five minutes remaining. An unnecessary roughness penalty against UCF advanced Memphis to a first down at the 27 and Parrish’ shot to the end zone was intercepted by Dyllon Lester.

Parrish guided the Tigers close to the end zone once more in the closing minutes, advancing to the 12-yard line, but a third-down pass to the end zone was broken up by UCF’s Justin Hodges and a fourth-down run by Parrish was short.

Parrish was also the Tigers leading rusher with 60 yards gained on 22 carries but he was sacked six times for a loss of 39 yards.

UCF takes on the Owls of Temple (3-4; 1-2 AAC) on Saturday at Noon. The game will be streamed live in ESPN+.

Check out video highlights of UCF’s Saturday win over Memphis, courtesy of the AAC, below:

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Knights Get Back to Winning in Thrilling 20-16 Victory over East Carolina

Filed under: UCF Sports — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 00:45

After falling to Louisville and Navy in their last two contests, the UCF Knights (3-2; 1-1 AAC) defeated East Carolina (3-3; 1-1 AAC) in a thrilling game at the Bounce House last Saturday night. The game was televised live on ESPN+. The Knights take on the #3-ranked Bearcats of Cincinnati (5-0; 1-0 AAC) on Saturday. Kickoff is at Noon and the game will be nationally-televised on ABC. See below for the AAC’s summary of UCF’s win over ECU along with video highlights from the game.

ORLANDO, Fla. — — Mark-Antony Richards’ 1-yard touchdown smash with 23 seconds left to play helped carry UCF to a 20-16 win over East Carolina on Saturday.

Richards’ score ended an 11-play, 64-yard drive that lasted just a little more than three minutes.

Johnny Richardson paced UCF (3-2, 1-1 American Athletic Conference) on the ground with 104 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown. Mikey Keene threw for 194 yards for the Knights.

Holton Ahlers threw for 208 yards, a touchdown and an interception for the Pirates (3-3, 1-1).

With its sixth-straight win over the Pirates, UCF leads the cumulative series 11-10.

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