Dr. Blackwell's BLOG

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.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

UCF Knights Crush Wildcats, Look to Primetime Matchup at Louisville

Filed under: UCF Sports — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 23:43

The UCF Knights (2-0; 0-0 AAC) crushed the Wildcats of Bethune Cookman (0-2; 0-0 SWAC) 63-14 Saturday night in front of a packed Bounce House Stadium. It was a huge week for UCF, which accepted an offer to join the Big XII Conference by 2024, sealing the Knights’ future as a member of a Power 5 conference. The Knights now move on to face ACC foe Louisville (1-1; 0-0 ACC) on Friday night. That game will be broadcasted on ESPN at 7:30pm. Check out a synopsis of UCF’s win against Bethune Cookman courtesy of the AAC and video highlights of the game courtesy of UCF Athletics below:

ORLANDO, Fla. — UCF improved to 2-0 on the season with a 63-14 victory over visiting Bethune-Cookman, Saturday at the Bounce House. Junior quarterback Dillon Gabriel threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns in the win.

The Knights struck first with a rushing touchdown from Isaiah Bowser, his second of the season. Bethune-Cookman then countered with a score of its own to tie the game at 7-7. 

UCF took a 14-7 lead when Dillon Gabriel found Brandon Johnson in the end zone from 22 yards out. It marked the 25th straight game Gabriel has thrown a touchdown, taking sole possession of second place in the UCF record book for consecutive games with a passing touchdown.

Tatum Bethune snagged his second-career interception.

Isaiah Bowser rushed for a trio of touchdowns in the second quarter to help UCF get out to a 35-7 lead at halftime. Bowser tied the UCF record for rushing touchdowns in the game, matching Darriel Mack, Kevin Smith and Alex Haynes.

Gabriel had the longest rush of his career, running 44 yards and all the way across the field to make it 42-7 in the third quarter. The Wildcats got one score back in the third to make it 42-14.

Gabriel found Trillion Coles for a third-quarter touchdown, the first for Coles in his career, making it 49-14.

The Knights made it 56-14 when freshmen quarterback Mikey Keene hit Kaedin Robinson for a 30-yard touchdown late in the third quarter. It was Keene’s first touchdown in his first collegiate action, and Robinson’s first-career score on the first catch of his career.

Coles rushed for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to make it 63-14 in favor of the Knights.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

UCF Knights Roar Back From 21-Point Deficit, Beat Boise State in Season Opener Amid Pending B12 Invite

Filed under: UCF Sports — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 01:23

The UCF Knights (1-0; 0-0 AAC) roared back from a 21-point deficit against the Boise State Broncos (0-1; 0-0 MWC) Thursday night (after a 3-hour weather delay) to win 36-31. The game was absolutely heart pounding; and it marked the biggest comeback win in Knights football history! Rumors of a potential B12 invite also heated up hours before the game, when ESPN began reporting that UCF, BYU, Houston, and Cincinnati were top contenders for B12 conference expansion.

This news crystallized on Friday when ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and other sports media outlets confirmed an official invite from the league could be coming by September 10th. The move to the B12 would be historic and monumental for UCF, marking its entrance into a Power 5 conference. Below, read UCF Athletics’ recap of UCF’s victory over Boise State and watch video highlights courtesy of the AAC:

The UCF football team opened the Gus Malzahn era with a 36-31 defeat of visiting Boise State, Thursday in a delayed start at the Bounce House. Junior quarterback Dillon Gabriel threw for 318 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions as the Knights won their season opener for the sixth straight year.

The 2021 season opener for the UCF football team against Boise State, scheduled to kick off at 7:05 p.m. from the Bounce House Thursday night, kicked off at 9:45 p.m. after a lightning delay.

After stopping the Broncos on their first drive, the Knights drove the length of the field, but Boise State intercepted Dillon Gabriel and returned it for a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead. Boise State scored again on a 3-yard rush to take a 14-0 first-quarter league.

Boise State extended its lead to 21-0 in the second quarter, but the Knights struck back with a touchdown from Gabriel to Alec Holler, the tight end’s first-career reception.

Gabriel found Titus Mokiao-Atimalala for a 8-yard pass with six seconds left in the first half to make it 24-14.

Early in the third, Gabriel hit Brandon Johnson for an 11-yard touchdown pass to make it just 24-21 in favor of the Broncos.

UCF took the lead, at 28-24, when Gabriel hit Jaylon Robinson for a 21-yard touchdown pass. The Knights made it 30-24 on a safety early in the fourth quarter.

Boise State retook the lead after Gabriel’s second interception led to a Bronco touchdown to make it 31-30.

The Knights took a 36-31 advantage when Isaiah Bowser rushed for a score late in the fourth quarter. UCF’s two-point conversion was no good.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Introducing UCF’s New Football Coach, Gus Malzahn

Filed under: UCF Sports — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 02:36

Terry Mohajir, UCF Knights new Athletic Director, wasted no time in hiring a new football coach for the program after Josh Heupel left for Tennessee last month. Former Auburn Football Coach Gus Malzahn will take over the reigns of the program. Malzahn, a mega-successful Coach with a stellar career, will be paid $11.5 million over a 5-year period. Take a look at the hire analysis by CBS Sports, grading it an A+, below:

Monday, December 14, 2020

UCF Knights to Face #14 in Boca Bowl

Filed under: UCF Sports — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 23:47

The UCF Knights (6-3; 5-3 AAC) learned today they will face the #14-ranked Cougars of Brigham Young (10-1) in the Boca Raton Bowl next Tuesday (12/22) at FAU Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:00pm and the game will be nationally televised on ESPN. The game will be the third time the Knights have faced off with the Cougars; the series is split 1-1, with UCF claiming the last victory 31-24 in 2014.

Per UCF Athletics (John Heisler):

UCF’s trip to Boca Raton, Florida, for the RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl pits the Knights against 14th-ranked and once-beaten BYU.
UCF (6-3) and BYU (10-1) will square off at 7 p.m. Dec. 22 in FAU Stadium on the Florida Atlantic University campus in Boca Raton. ESPN and ESPN Radio will provide the coverage.
The Cougars will provide a major challenge for UCF in every phase of the game—with BYU ranking as the only team in the country to stand in the top 10 nationally in total offense (10th at 510.1 yards per game), total defense (10th at 308.9), scoring offense (eighth at 43.0 points per game) and scoring defense (third at 14.6). In addition, BYU boasts the top-ranked field-goal kicker in the nation (13 for 13 by sophomore placekicker Jake Oldroyd), and the Cougars rank 16th in net punting.
“BYU plays complementary football, in terms of offense, defense and special teams, as well as any team in the country,” says UCF head coach Josh Heupel. “This will be a tremendous challenge for our football team—and certainly one our players are excited about.”
BYU finished 10-1 (7-0 at home), with its only loss at unbeaten and ninth-ranked Coastal Carolina (22-17) in a game that ended with the Cougars on the Coastal Carolina one-yard line. BYU currently ranks 14th (AP) and 16th (coaches poll) and the Cougars ranked 18th last week in the CFP poll. BYU is one of only four FBS teams that have won at least 10 games so far in 2020—joining Alabama, Notre Dame and Coastal Carolina. The Cougars ranked as high as eighth in the AP poll prior to the loss to Coastal Carolina.
It’s the first 10-win season since 2011 for BYU against a 2020 schedule ranked 21st-most difficult in the country by the NCAA. The Cougars are coached by Kalani Sitake, concluding his fifth year. BYU is playing in a bowl game for the 15th time in 16 years.
BYU boasts one of the best defenses in the country—ranking third in scoring defense and 10th in total defense. The Cougars held three different opponents scoreless in three of four quarters. They also complete 72 percent of their passes, score 43 points per game and average 510 total yards and 323 passing yards. Only two teams in the country—North Carolina and Alabama—have recorded more first downs in 2020 than BYU.
BYU quarterback Zach Wilson and UCF counterpart Dillon Gabriel both have thrown 30 TD passes. Wilson ranks second nationally in TD passes and points responsible for, third in passing efficiency, fourth in completion percentage—and he’s the first BYU quarterback in 11 years to throw at least one TD pass in every game.  
The Cougars are led by junior signal-caller Wilson (3,274 passing yards, .731 completion percentage), junior wide receiver Dax Milne (1,099 receiving yards), redshirt sophomore running back Tyler Allgeier (957 rushing yards), redshirt senior rover Isaiah Kaufusi (184 tackles) and redshirt sophomore middle linebacker Keenan Pili (184 tackles).   
BYU has won at least eight games 11 times over the past 15 years (including 2020) and boasts 10 or more wins six times during that span. Competing as an independent since 2011, the Cougars have eight bowl victories over those 15 seasons. This is a preview of two upcoming regular-season games between UCF and BYU: 2023 at the Bounce House, 2024 in Provo. These two teams played twice previously–in 2011 (BYU won 24-17 in Provo) and 2014 (UCF won 31-24 in OT in Orlando).
A limited public ticket sale is expected at a later date, with pandemic protocols in place. The game has been approved for 20% stadium capacity. UCF donors and season-ticket holders already have been contacted by the UCF Ticket Office.
Fans unable to attend this year’s bowl game who would still like to support the UCF football program may consider making a donation to the Keep Charging On Fund. All donations are tax-deductible and accrue priority points for future post-season ticket allocation.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Superstar QB McKenzie Milton says Goodbye to UCF

Filed under: UCF Sports — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 01:04

In an incredibly heartwarming announcement to the Knight Nation, McKenzie Milton made the announcement that he has made the incredibly difficult decision to enter the transfer portal for his final year of NCAA eligibility. Milton suffered a devastating injury during the UCF vs. USF matchup in 2018 and has faced an incredibly hard-fought battle to get back to the field.

But he also faced the difficult reality that the UCF Knights football team is now under the helm of his dear friend QB Dillon Gabriel. Gabriel has been prolific at UCF and has broken many records for the Knights. Milton would have to compete against Gabriel to play for the team in 2021, a tenuous and challenging predicament.

Acknowledging he wanted nothing best for the Black & Gold and its QB leader Gabriel, Milton is chasing his dream of playing in the NFL and is transferring to another team for his final year. Watch this amazing video of Milton’s goodbye to UCF below. Have tissues handy:

Monday, November 30, 2020

UCF Knights Await Bowl Fate After S. Florida Win

Filed under: UCF Sports — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 01:20
Photo Copyright, UCF Athletics

The UCF Knights (6-3; 5-3 AAC) defeated S. Florida (1-8; 0-7 AAC) on Black Friday in the annual War on I4. The game was nationally-televised on ESPN. As reported by the AAC:

Quarterback Dillon Gabriel threw for 336 yards and four touchdowns and added a rushing TD to lead UCF to a 58-46 win against USF Saturday in the annual War on I-4 matchup at Raymond James Stadium.

abriel and the Knights came out on top in a shootout that saw the teams combine for 1,223 yards, 66 first downs and 109 points. USF quarterback Jordan McCloud threw for a career-high 404 yards and four touchdowns along with a rushing touchdown on his own.

Both teams finished with two 100-yard rushers and a 100-yard receiver, but the Knights had the final answer after the Bulls had closed to within seven points in the fourth quarter.

UCF built a 31-14 lead at halftime on Daniel Obarski’s 23-yard field goal with nine seconds left in the second quarter and the Knights led 45-28 after Gabrie’s 12-yard touchdown run with 1:13 in the third period.

But the Bulls answered with Jared Sackett’s 30-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter and USF took advantage of Gabriel’s only miscue when Brian Battie scored on a 1-yard run with 10:10 left after a Gabriel interception, making it 45-38.

The Knights scored on back-to-back drives to close the game out as Greg McCrae scored from 11 yards out with 6:34 left to cap a short drive after USF had fumbled. Bentavious Thompson added an insurance score on a 2-yard run to make it 58-38, and McCloud’s fourth touchdown pass with 14 seconds left was too little, too late.

Gabriel, who entered the game as the national leader in passing yards, added to his total with his sixth 300-yard game of the season as he completed 22 of 36 passes. Tight end Jacob Harris had five catches for 110 yards and three touchdowns, while McCrae (130 yards) and Thompson (110 yards) both hit triple digits.

USF enjoyed its best offensive showing of the year as McCloud led the way with his first career 400-yard game. Tight end Bryce Miler had 11 catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns, while Kelly Joiner and Battie both surpassed 100 rushing yards. Joiner had 116 yards on 14 carries, while Battie had 15 carries for 102 yards and a touchdown.

The Knights now await their fate in the college football bowl post-season. Many predictions are placing UCF against Liberty in the Boca Raton Bowl on 12/22. Check out highlights of UCF’s victory over S. Florida, courtesy of the AAC, below:

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