Dr. Blackwell's BLOG

Thursday, January 11, 2024

UCF Knights Take Down #3 Kansas in Historic Big 12 Home Opener

Filed under: UCF Sports — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 02:46

Story and Photo Courtesy UCF Athletics:

ORLANDO – “The message for us is simple: We belong.”

UCF men’s basketball coach Johnny Dawkins made his declaration Jan. 4 prior to the Knights’ Big 12 Conference opener at Kansas State, and in front of a raucous, sellout home crowd Wednesday night, they proved it.

Built upon a second-half surge and stifling efforts on the defensive end, UCF put its new conference on notice, toppling the No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks by a 65-60 final score before 9,469 fans at Addition Financial Arena, marking the third largest crowd in program history and the second highest in a regular season game.

The victory ranks among the most prolific in program history, representing the first against a top three nationally-ranked opponent, the second against a top five foe, and the ninth against a squad ranked within the top 25. En route to the team’s upset, the Knights (10-4, 1-1 Big 12), erased a Jayhawks (13-2, 1-1 Big 12) lead that grew to as many as 16 points with 3:45 remaining in the first half.

“It was a great night for UCF. Our guys kept fighting in a game in which they got down early in the first half to a very good Kansas basketball team,” Dawkins said. “I’m proud of the way we fought back with great courage, effort and energy throughout the entire night.”

In the first meeting between the two programs in either’s history, the Knights also notched their first win within Big 12 Conference play and extended a few notable win streaks Dawkins himself owns against Kansas and its head coach, Bill Self.

UCF’s Wednesday effort represented his second win against the Jayhawks as a head coach, joining his triumph over Kansas as the head coach of the Stanford Cardinal March 23, 2014 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Overall, Dawkins improved to 4-0 against the Jayhawks in his career, after he also bested Kansas twice as a player with Duke in the 1985-86 season.

Against Self, Dawkins also improved to 4-0, having previously beaten his now-fellow head coach as an assistant coach with Duke in the tournament’s second round in 1999 when Self was at Tulsa, and in 2000 Dawkins bested Self when the latter was with Illinois as well.

With the two squads trading blows throughout much of the second half, the Knights finally claimed a lead they would not relinquish with 2:57 to play in the final half.

Fifth year forward Ibrahima Diallo grabbed a pass from junior guard Jaylin Sellers just outside the paint and finished a turnaround jumper just moments later, giving his team a 59-57 advantage.

Fellow fifth year CJ Walker, who made his first start for the Knights since March 11, 2022, gave UCF a bit of breathing room with a pair of free throws, and a Sellers layup coupled with two more converted free throw tries from junior guard Darius Johnson iced the Knights’ first win against a top five-ranked opponent since the team prevailed against then-No. 4 UConn by a 68-63 final score Nov. 25, 2011.

The timely shot by Diallo punctuated one of the better all-around games authored by the Saly, Senegal, native, finishing with a season-high 13 points and five total rebounds. The contest marked his highest-scoring effort since he recorded 16 points against California Baptist Nov. 18, 2021 with San Jose State.

“He was great,” Dawkins said of Diallo. “He’s going against arguably the best ‘big’ in college basketball, Hunter Dickinson is a terrific player. For Ibrahima to go toe-to-toe with him and have to battle him in the low post, he did a great job, and I’m proud of the way he stepped up and gave us a huge effort tonight.”

The final sequence, one that saw the Knights outscore the Jayhawks 8-3 and limit Kansas to one field goal in the game’s final 3:23 of play, represented a microcosm of the team’s dominant second half in the face of a daunting opponent.

After entering the final 20 minutes staring up at an eight-point deficit, Sellers, Diallo, Walker and fifth year guard Shemarri Allen combined for UCF’s first 16 points of the half while the team held Kansas to just seven in the first 6:47 of gametime to claim a 45-44 lead.

“We knew we had zone (defense) in our bag,” Dawkins added. “It’s something that we work on and we felt it was timely to play some today. That’s why you saw our guys play it so well, because they’re accustomed to playing it in practice. We were able to stay with it longer because it was effective at times in the second half.”

Johnson followed a Sellers turnaround jumpshot with his second triple of the game, and Omar Payne followed with a dunk on the fastbreak that capitalized on a Johnson steal that built the Knights’ lead to 50-44 with 11:01 to play before the Jayhawks made their final push to narrow the affairs.

UCF began its evening as dominant as it finished, jumping out to a 7-0 lead on the strength of five Sellers points. On the heels of a 12-0 Kansas run, the Knights hung with the visitors thanks to a 7-4 spurt down the stretch and a 10-2 UCF run to conclude the opening 20 minutes that pared the Jayhawks’ 35-19 lead down to 37-29 at the halftime buzzer.

“When they get that type of lead, you start to get knocked back a little bit,” Dawkins continued. “In our timeouts, I was trying to settle them down and stress that we have to take it possession by possession. We talked about working our way back in it in that last four-minute segment, and we were able to do that.”

Sellers paced the team with a game-high 18 points, marking his 11th game with at least 15 points and his 13th game in double figures. Johnson, meanwhile, recorded his third-highest scoring game this season with 17 points, and his sixth with at least 10 points.


The Knights have a quick turnaround to their next Big 12 test, when the Black and Gold will welcome the No. 18/17 BYU Cougars to Addition Financial Arena Saturday afternoon. Tipoff for the contest is slated for 4 p.m. Jan. 13 and will be streamed on ESPN+.

Watch the video below (courtesy ESPN) to see the UCF students storm the court after beating Kansas on Wednesday night:


Monday, December 4, 2023

UCF Knights Cap First Season in Big 12 Conference with Gasparilla Bowl Matchup Against Georgia Tech

Filed under: UCF Sports — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 01:36

After finishing its first season in the Big 12 Conference with a 6-6 record (3-6 Big 12) and a 27-13 win against the Houston Cougars (4-8; 2-7 Big 12), the UCF Knights are heading to the Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl to face ACC foe Georgia Tech (6-6; 5-3 ACC). The game will mark the 6th time the Knights have participated in that Bowl game, with its most recent trip in 2021, when they beat the Florida Gators 29-17.

“We’re not satisfied with how everything turned out, but we’re happy that in the first year, we went to a bowl,” coach Gus Malzahn said after the win over the Cougars. “Now we need to focus on winning that bowl and get some momentum going in next year.” A victory against the Yellowjackets would be an amazing cap on a shaky first season in the Big 12. UCF saw a 5-game losing streak (also accompanied by the loss of starting quarterback Jonathan Rhys Plumlee for 4 of those contests) but also a HUGE 45-3 slashing of Oklahoma State (which played in the Big 12 Conference Championship game but ultimately lost to the Texas Longhorns).

Georgia Tech does hold a lead over UCF in their series (3-2). During their last match on September 24, 2022, UCF beat Georgia Tech handily, 27-10. The head coach of Georgia Tech, Brent Key, is also a former Coach at UCF. While his head coaching stint at UCF was short-lived, many UCF fans blame Key for UCF’s 0-12 season in 2015. Beating Georgia Tech would be a great opportunity to cement some revenge. Kickoff for the Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl is Friday, December 22nd at 6:30pm. The game will be nationally-televised on ESPN.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

UCF Knights Preparing for 12/28 Showdown with Duke in Military Bowl

Filed under: UCF Sports — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 03:08

The UCF Knights (9-4; 6-2 AAC) have begun preparations for their appearance in the Military Bowl in Annapolis, MD on December 28th. The Knights will square-up against the Blue Devils of Duke (8-4; 5-3 ACC) who placed 3rd in the ACC Coastal Division. Kickoff is set for 2pm and the game will be nationally-televised on ESPN.

Per the AAC:

UCF (9-4) will meet Atlantic Coast Conference representative Duke (8-4) at 2 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022, in 34,000-seat Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, in the Military Bowl presented by Peraton, benefiting the USO. The game will be televised by ESPN.
It’s a program-record seventh consecutive postseason bowl appearance for the Knights, the 10th in 11 seasons and the 14th in 18 years. UCF also previously played in the NCAA Division II playoffs in 1987 and in the NCAA FCS Playoffs in 1990 and 1993.  
The Knights previously have played twice each in the Fiesta Bowl (following 2014 and 2018 seasons), Liberty Bowl (2007 and 2010), St. Petersburg Bowl (2009 and 2014) and Gasparilla Bowl (2019 and 2021) and once each in the Hawaii Bowl (2005), Beef O’Brady’s Bowl (2012), Cure Bowl (2016), Peach Bowl (2017) and Boca Raton Bowl (2020).
The Military Bowl has been played since 2008—the first two seasons as the EagleBank Bowl and then as the Military Bowl beginning with the 2010 campaign. The game benefits the USO and Patriot Point, the Military Bowl Foundation’s 294-acre retreat for wounded, ill and injured service members, their families and caregivers.
Previous American Athletic Conference participation has included Navy in 2008, 2015 and 2017, Temple in 2009, 2016 and 2019, East Carolina in 2010 and 2021 and Cincinnati in 2014 and 2018. The 2020 game was cancelled due to lack of available teams and the 2021 game also was cancelled due to Covid-related issues. The game originally was played at RFK Memorial Stadium through 2012, then moved to Annapolis. The game has featured an ACC-vs.-AAC matchup since 2014, and those leagues have contracted to continue that matchup through 2025. Previous AAC winners have been Navy in 2015 and 2017 and Cincinnati in 2018.
UCF head coach Gus Malzahn has seen his teams qualify for postseason bowl games in all 11 years he has been a head coach, including seven appearances in New Year’s Day games: 2013 in BCS National Championship Game vs. Florida State, 2014 in Outback Bowl vs. Wisconsin, 2015 in Birmingham Bowl win vs. Memphis, 2016 in Sugar Bowl vs. Oklahoma, 2017 in Peach Bowl vs. UCF, 2018 in Music City Bowl win vs. Purdue, 2019 Outback Bowl vs. Minnesota, 2021 Gasparilla Bowl vs. Florida and 2022 Military vs. Duke. Malzahn’s 2012 Arkansas State team qualified for a bowl game—but he already had accepted the head coaching job at Auburn and did not coach the bowl game. He also did not coach the Auburn bowl game after the 2020 season after leading the Tigers to the Citrus Bowl vs. Northwestern.
UCF and Duke will meet for the first time. This marks the second time UCF has faced a current ACC member in a bowl game—following NC State’s win over the Knights in the 2014 St. Petersburg Bowl.

The Sons of UCF Live interviewed Josh Barr, the Executive Director for the 2022 Military Bowl, on Monday. The interview is below:

Monday, November 28, 2022

#22 UCF Knights Defeat S. Florida, Advance to Conference Championship Game

Filed under: UCF Sports — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 02:57

The UCF Knights (9-3; 6-2 AAC) fought off a second half comeback bid by the S. Florida Bulls (1-11; 0-8 AAC) on Saturday at Raymond James Stadium (home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers). Their 46-39 win cements UCF as the victor for the War on I-4 rivalry, giving the Knights 7 wins to S. Florida’s 6 wins for the series. UCF’s move to the Big XII next season effectively kills S. Florida’s rivalry with UCF until at least 2028 due to scheduling conflicts. The win also brings the Knights back to New Orleans to face the Green Wave of Tulane (10-2; 7-1 AAC) for the AAC Championship Game on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 4pm and the game will be broadcasted on ABC. Per the AAC:

A matchup of top-25 teams is set for the 2022 American Athletic Conference Football Championship Game presented by RoofClaim as No 19 Tulane will meet No. 22 UCF for the conference title Saturday at Yulman Stadium on the Tulane campus. 
The American Football Championship Game will be held Saturday, Dec. 3, at 4 p.m. ET/3 p.m. CT. The championship game will be televised live on ABC for the eighth consecutive season.
Tulane clinched its spot as well as home-field advantage Friday with a 27-24 win at Cincinnati that left the Green Wave atop The American standings at 7-1 in conference play and 10-2 overall.
The Knights, who needed a win against South Florida in their regular-season finale Saturday to clinch their spot, scored a 46-39 victory in the War On I-4 matchup.
Tulane will make its first appearance in The American Championship Game, while UCF plays in the game for the third time. The Knights won the championship game in their previous two appearances, in 2017 and 2018. 
Tickets for the 2022 American Athletic Conference Football Championship Game will be made available through the ticket offices of the participating institutions.
The latest information on the 2022 American Football Championship will be available on the conference’s Championship Central site at http://www.theamerican.org/football

Check out video highlights of UCF’s win over S. Florida, courtesy of the AAC, below:

Monday, November 21, 2022

#25 UCF Knights’ Loss to Navy Complicates Path to Championship

Filed under: UCF Sports — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 16:04

The #25 UCF Knights (8-3; 6-2 AAC) took a 17-14 loss against the Midshipmen of Navy (4-7; 4-4 AAC) on Saturday, ending the hopes the Knights would host the American Athletic Conference Championship game. UCF also now faces an uphill battle to get to the Championship game altogether. If Houston (7-4; 5-2 AAC) loses to Tulsa (4-7; 2-5 AAC) this weekend AND the Knights beat S. Florida (1-10; 0-7 AAC), then UCF is guaranteed a spot in the Championship game.

However, if Houston wins, then there will be a three-way tie for 2nd place in the Conference (UCF, Houston, and the loser of the Tulane at Cincinnati game on Friday). In that scenario, UCF would have to be ranked highest in the composite computer rankings versus Houston and the loser of the Cincinnati vs. Tulane matchup. UCF is currently ranked #25 in the AP Poll and #26 (just outside of the Top 25) in the Coaches Poll. The poll from the College Football Playoff Committee is released tomorrow. It is unlikely UCF will be ranked in that poll.

See video highlights of the UCF vs. Navy game, courtesy of the AAC, below:

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

UCF Knights Catapulted to #25 in College Football Playoff, Coaches, and AP Polls after Defeating #20 Cincinnati

Filed under: UCF Sports — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 02:09

The UCF Knights (6-2; 3-1 AAC) skyrocketed into the Top 25 in both the AP and Coaches Polls after defeating the Bearcats of Cincinnati (6-2; 3-1 AAC) on Saturday in front of an at-capacity crowd of almost 46,000 fans at FBC Mortgage Stadium. But the real reward from the victory came on Tuesday when the College Football Playoff rankings were released. UCF found itself ranked at #25. The Knights now travel to Memphis to face the Tigers (4-4; 2-3 AAC) before heading to Tulane to take on the Green Wave, which also finds itself in the rankings at #19. Kickoff for the UCF at Memphis game is set for 3:30pm (EST). The game will be televised on ESPN2. The AAC reports on the Knights’ win against Cincinnati below:

RJ Harvey had a 17-yard touchdown run with 48 seconds remaining, sending UCF to a 25-21 win over No. 20 Cincinnati on Saturday.

Harvey’s go-ahead TD capped a seven-play, 75-yard march directed by Mikey Keene. The backup quarterback was 4 for 4 for 57 yards on the drive.

Cincinnati (6-2, 3-1 American Athletic Conference) took a 21-18 lead with 3:04 remaining. Ryan Montgomery scored on a 39-yard touchdown run, and the Bearcats added the 2-point conversion on a Ben Bryant pass to Tyler Scott.

UCF (6-2, 3-1) took a 10-6 lead into halftime on the strength of a 26-yard touchdown run by Harvey. The Knights added a safety in the third quarter when Josh Celiscar sacked Bryant in the end zone.

Cincinnati had won six in a row since a season-opening loss to Arkansas. Bryant passed for 298 yards and a touchdown, and Montgomery had a team-high 40 yards rushing on three carries.

Harvey had 18 carries for 84 yards for UCF. The Knights finished with 258 yards on the ground and 247 through the air.

Following a fumble recovery, Bryant threw a 14-yard touchdown to Josh Whyte to make it 13-12 at the end of the third quarter. Whyte’s TD capped a 10-play, 84-yard drive.

UCF quarterback John Rhys Plumlee was 7 of 11 for 71 yards when he was knocked out of the game late in the first half. He also rushed for 31 yards.

Outside of Montgomery’s touchdown run, the Bearcats couldn’t get anything established on the ground.

Keene’s experience from starting 10 games last year as a true freshman proved to be invaluable. He walked into a tough situation, but one he was familiar with. Keene put together his best drive of the day when the Knights needed it most and kept UCF in contention for the American Athletic Conference championship.

Check out video highlights of the game, courtesy of the AAC below:

Sunday, October 16, 2022

UCF Knights Dismantle Temple in Annual Space Game

Filed under: UCF Sports — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 00:36

UCF (5-1; 2-0 AAC) celebrated its annual Space Game by completely dismantling the Temple Owls (2-4; 0-2 AAC) 70-13 on Thursday. The game was nationally televised on ESPN. The Knights wore specially-designed, ”Space-U” uniforms which garnered national sports media attention in the week leading up to the contest. UCF hits the road this week, taking on the ECU Pirates (4-3; 2-2 AAC) in Greenville. Kickoff is set for 7pm; the game will be nationally televised on ESPNU. Take a look at a recap of UCF’s win over Temple and video highlights, courtesy of the AAC, below:

John Rhys Plumlee accounted for seven touchdown to match a program record and led UCF to a 70-13 rout of Temple on Thursday night.

Plumlee threw for 373 yards and four touchdowns and added another 37 yards on the ground with three scores. All three short-yardage touchdown runs and a 25-yard TD pass to Kobe Hudson came in the first half as UCF (5-1, 2-0 American Athletic Conference) jumped out to a 35-13 halftime lead.

Plumlee hit Ryan O’Keefe with touchdown passes that included a 68-yarder on consecutive drives early in the third quarter. Plumlee added a 64-yard TD pass to Hudson that stretched the Knights’ lead to 56-13 about midway through the third.

Hudson finished with four catches for 121 yards receiving and O’Keefe had seven for 111.

UCF put up 737 yards of offense while holding Temple (2-4, 0-2) to 293. It was the Knights’ sixth straight win against the Owls and the third game this season surpassing 600 yards of offense. It was also the Knights most yards of offense since gaining 798 against Memphis on Oct. 17, 2020.

The Knights honored their ties to the Kennedy Space Center, where roughly a third of its employees are UCF alumni, by rebranding as The Space U Citronauts for the game. They wore space-themed, all-black uniforms displaying a Canaveral blue “Space U” wordmark on the front of their jerseys. The Knights are 7-0 in spaced-themed games.

E.J. Warner completed 24 of 43 passes for 234 yards and a touchdown pass for Temple.

Friday, October 7, 2022

UCF Knights Open Conference Play with Big Win Against SMU

Filed under: UCF Sports — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 01:34
Photo Couresy UCF Athletics

After being postponed twice due to the effects of Hurricane Ian, the UCF Knights (4-1; 1-0 AAC) opened their last season in the American Athletic Conference with a big 41-19 win against the SMU Mustangs (2-3; 0-1 AAC) on Wednesday night. The game was nationally televised on ESPN2. The Knights now enjoy a bye week before taking on the Owls of Temple on Thursday, October 13th at 7pm. That game will be nationally televised on ESPN. Below is the AAC’s report on UCF’s big win over SMU:

John Rhys Plumlee threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns, both coming in the second half to Ryan O’Keefe, and UCF scored 31 unanswered points to beat SMU 41-19 on Wednesday night in a game postponed because of tropical weather.

UCF trailed 13-10 at halftime before scoring four touchdowns in the second half.

O’Keefe made a diving catch in the end zone on a 26-yard throw to extend UCF’s lead to 24-13 with 3:07 left in the third quarter. O’Keefe added a 58-yard touchdown early in the fourth on a shuffle-pass jet sweep.

O’Keefe finished with six catches for 117 yards and two scores, and Javon Baker added 138 yards receiving for UCF (4-1, 1-0 American Athletic Conference). Isaiah Bowser had three short touchdown runs.

The UCF defense made three keys plays. Jason Johnson recovered a fumble on SMU’s first possession of the game, Divaad Wilson made an interception to end the first half and Tre’mon Morris-Brash sacked Tanner Mordecai in the end zone for a safety in the fourth quarter.

Mordecai was 28 of 45 for 295 yards with one interception for SMU (2-3, 0-1). Rashee Rice, who entered leading the nation in receiving yards per game at 141.2, had 12 catches for 122 yards.

The game was rescheduled twice due to Hurricane Ian. It was initially scheduled to be played Saturday at UCF’s on-campus stadium before shifting to Sunday.

UCF coach Gus Malzahn guided new SMU coach Rhett Lashlee in high school at Shiloh Christian in Arkansas from 1999-01. Lashlee also served as an offensive coordinator at Auburn under Malzahn.

Check out video highlights of the game below, courtesy of the AAC:

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.

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