Knights Weekly: UCF fails to bounce back against Furman

imageIt was a dark and dreary Saturday night in Orlando…

…if you’re a Central Florida Knight fan.

But for Furman fans everywhere, they were elated to see their team pull off the upset against a struggling UCF team. The Paladins fought to gain the come-from-behind win against a UCF team that still has not seen their first win of the season.

UCF, coming off two embarrassing losses, was expected to bounce back this game against a division-II team. This matchup gave the Knights an opportunity to get their game together- especially the defense. Two weeks ago against Stanford, they gave up easy touchdowns and 31 points. And on Saturday, they did exactly the same. The defense is not the focal point of their worries this week, however.

UCF has no one else to blame for this loss but themselves, turning the ball over four times. You can say they shot themselves in the foot…four times.

After starting fast, it unraveled mid-second quarter when quarterback Bo Schneider(7/11, 65 yards, 1 int.) was intercepted by defensive back Trey Robinson. This interception would be a critical point in the game. Motivation came with it and hope filled the Furman players. After starting the game down 12-0, Robinson’s interception is what sparked Furman’s offense.

Late in the second quarter, fullback Ernie Cane punched in a one-yard touchdown. However, it got real ugly in the second half. Going into halftime up 12-7, UCF would be lucky if the score held firm.

In the third quarter, Furman quarterback Reese Hannon (15/29, 188 yards, 1 TD) found a wide-open Andrej Suttles for the 61-yard touchdown. For UCF fans, it was starting to look like the Stanford game all over again. While Hannon threw touchdowns, UCF quarterback Tyler Harris was busy throwing passes to the wrong team. UCF’s second interception came with 5:50 remaining in the third quarter as Harris found safety Rodney Anderson for the interception.

At the start of the fourth quarter, UCF was on top 15-13 when Furman kicker J.C. Hollingsworth hit a 55-yard field goal. Head coach Bruce Fowler said after the game, “He hit it perfect, tremendous execution.”

With 12 minutes remaining in the game, the Knights can easily come back from a three-point deficit, right? Not exactly. The turnovers came into play again as Tyler Harris (7/17, 35 yards, 2 int.) gave Trey Robinson his second interception of the game and running back C.J. Jones coughed up the rock at the three minute mark.

Many people might say UCF choked, others might say it the turnovers that killed them. To me, it was a combination of a messy offense with a lackadaisical defense. The four turnovers is the main concern, however. Head coach George O’Leary has to make a decision about who’s going to run the offense. Both quarterbacks Bo Schneider and Tyler Harris threw picks against Furman and they will put in the work to make adjustments.

The defense has got to shape up, as well. Every week UCF is expected to tighten up on “D,” and week after week, they fail to deliver.

Prediction for UCF @ South Carolina: The Knights face a tougher opponent next week in the South Carolina Gamecocks. South Carolina is expected to roll over UCF as a tough SEC team, but don’t be surprised if the game is closer than people would have thought. The Gamecocks are coming off a depleting loss to Georgia. If UCF didn’t get their act together against Furman, however, don’t expect them to do it against South Carolina.

Final score: UCF 17 SCAR 27

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