It was a tale of two different games for the UCF defense on Saturday, as they stifled Boston College in the first half, and then allowed the Eagles to move the ball seemingly at will in half number two. The Knights took a slim 7-3 lead into halftime, as they allowed the home team just 115 yards of total offense and forced one interception and a missed field goal.
"Obviously we had opportunities today," said Knights head coach George O'Leary.
The Boston College offense set the tone from the beginning of the third quarter as they took the opening kickoff to the UCF 41 yard line, then drove 41 yards on six plays capped off by a Chris Crane one-yard touchdown plunge, his first of two rushing touchdowns on the day. Despite forcing two second-half interceptions, the Eagles moved the ball with relative ease against the Knights defense, and cruised to a 34-7 victory.
"Give BC credit, they made some plays we didn't make, and we had plenty of great opportunities to put some points on the board with the special teams and offense and we just didn't get it done," O'Leary said.
The Knights offense was pretty offensive on this day, as turnovers and sloppy play were the order of the day. The Knights converted on just 5 of 17 third down opportunities and UCF quarterbacks threw four interceptions. The offense was so stagnant that Knights head coach George O'Leary pulled quarterback Michael Greco in favor of true freshman Rob Calabrese, who couldn't offer much of a spark. O'Leary flip-flopped between the two quarterbacks, trying to manufacture some kind of offense. In his press conference following the game, coach O'Leary explained his decision.
"I wanted to get (Calabrese) in the game, O'Leary explained. "He went in and I thought he did some good things; probably not enough good things."
Starter Michael Greco accounted for the Knights only points of the day, as he had a 44-yard run that set up a one-yard touchdown with no time remaining in the first half. Through the air Greco struggled, completing just 12 of 24 passes for 92 yards, and his first, second, and third interceptions of the season. Greco's understudy, Rob Calabrese never looked comfortable under center and completed just 4 of 8 passes for 37 yards and one interception.
"I thought Michael went in and it's good sometimes to watch what's going on. He also did some good things."
The question that begged to be asked is if there's now a quarterback controversy for the Knights as they begin their conference schedule.
"There's no quarterback controversy," O'Leary said. "I just thought that I wanted to get someone else in, I think he (Calabrese) had a good week of practice and that's why I put him in there. He did some good things and some other things not so good; it's a learning practice with Calabrese and even Michael (Greco)."
When asked who would be the starting quarterback next week, O'Leary wasn't definitive.
"I'll look at the film, I think I'm going to play two quarterbacks," O'Leary said. I don't have any trouble with that.
UCF's inability to move the ball on offense and convert third downs led to the defense getting tired out, and the bigger team from the bigger conference took advantage. As inept as the Boston College offense looked in the first half, they appeared to make adjustments and were a well-oiled machine in half number two.
The UCF secondary had an on and off game, as they accounted for three interceptions from the arm of B.C. quarterback Chris Crane, but allowed some big plays in the passing game for the second consecutive game. B.C. wide receiver Brandon Robinson led the Eagles in receiving as he caught seven passes for 109 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown.
The kicking game remains a mystery for the Knights, as Daren Daly missed a pair of short field goals, from 23 and 25 yards, which appeared to remove any momentum for the Knights.
"You can't blow field goals, said O'Leary. "It's not just field goals, it's momentum. That's like sticking a pin in a balloon out there. That will be seriously addressed. I'm not very happy from snapper, to holder, to kicker. We lost three points in the first half and then another three in the second half, but more important it's momentum. You've got a chance to put some points on the board and you can't do what we're doing there. I thought we had addressed it and got it ironed out, but I was mistaken."
The Knights will take their 1-2 overall record into conference play with a trip to Texas-El Paso next Saturday.
Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.
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BC Gives UCF Headaches, 34-7
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