After a 44-7 loss to East Carolina on Thursday, UCF has officially reached its lowest point. It was painful to watch as the Pirates gashed the UCF defense for touchdowns. Despite Justin Holman’s poor performances at quarterback throughout the year and the running game’s lack of production, the defense is the focal point of this offseason.
It is not so much the players’ fault as it is the system’s. UCF is in desperate need of a defensive minded head coach with a system set to succeed. Several defensive coaches have already taken the opportunity like Florida linebackers coach Randy Shannon and defensive coordinator Geoff Collins.
Still, much of the weight falls on the players’ shoulders. At the end of the day, it’s the players out on the field making tackles (or, supposed to be making tackles, that is). The East Carolina backs and receivers ran towards the end zone with ease on Thursday night. On the other side of the ball, ECU quarterback Blake Kemp had himself a day. Kemp finished the game with 465 yards through the air along with four touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 89.7. Wide receiver Isaiah Jones had a monster game with 14 receptions, 181 yards, and a pair of scores.
The running game was also clicking for the Pirates. East Carolina controlled the line throughout the entire game, and running back Chris Hairston finished the game with 123 yards on 14 carries and a score of his own.
UCF’s Justin Holman had a subpar day, throwing for 110 yards on 9/17 passing with a touchdown and an interception. UCF’s biggest concern with Holman, however, is his health. The junior QB left the game in the second quarter with a high ankle sprain but is expected to finish off the season next week.
The South Florida Bulls come to town next week in a heated, rivalry week matchup.
Prediction for USF @ UCF: The Bulls need this win big time to hopefully make the jump over Temple for AAC East champions. They are lead by sophomore quarterback Quinton Flowers, a Miami Jackson alum, and running back Marlon Mack who have each had remarkable seasons. Expect Flowers and Mack to take care of business again and possibly take control of the AAC East.
Final score: USF 35 UCF 9