Calabrese opened the game very sharp, as opened by hitting on his first three passes. Although he showed promise in his second consecutive start at quarterback, the true freshman couldn't put up much offensive output on the scoreboard and the ineffectiveness caused head coach George O'Leary to pull him in the second half.
O'Leary decided to return to his original starting quarterback, Michael Greco, a decision he said that just came to him.
"It was divine intervention. I went into the locker room at halftime and sat at my desk and I kept looking up and it just hit me in the head; put Greco in," joked O'Leary after the game. "I think the freshman was getting a little frustrated out there. I put Greco in there to see what he could get done."
After a rocky three and out possession to begin the second half, Greco finally gave the offense the spark it needed, finding a wide-open Brian Watters for a 56-yard touchdown pass.
"I saw the coverage and I knew exactly what they were going to do," said Greco. "The d-line stunted and I just stepped up and saw Brian and hit him on the seam."
Greco led the Knights to three touchdown drives in the second half, and really got things going through the air, firing two touchdown passes. He seemed comfortable and consistently made the right reads.
"I'm getting more confident and am reading defenses better," said Greco. "I have to continue to be patient back there and I made some soft throws today. I just need to keep getting better."
O'Leary was impressed with Greco.
"From an athletic standpoint he has good foot speed," said O'Leary. "Sometimes you take (the quarterback) out and let them see what is going on from the sideline then put them back in, but I thought Michael did a good job of controlling the team and putting some points on the board."
Despite playing with an injured knee that kept him out of last week's loss to UTEP, Greco was also mobile, rushing for a first down and picking up 20 yards on the ground. His knee still isn't fully healed, but he doesn't think it will keep him out next week.
"It hurts, it keeps swelling up, but I'll be ready for next week, I just have to ice it, do whatever I can to get back," said Greco.
The numbers between the two quarterbacks weren't too dissimilar, as Calabrese went 5-of-9 for 32 yards, while Greco went 4-of-8 for 94 yards. The biggest discrepancy though was passing touchdowns, as Greco threw for two, while Calabrese didn't have any.
With Calabrese having started the last two games for UCF, it seems that his starting position might be in jeopardy; although O'Leary has said numerous times that he plans on using both quarterbacks for the rest of the season. Who starts next week against the University of Miami is a bit of a mystery at this point.
"It's really up coach, it's his decision really, I just need to keep progressing and worry about my knee getting better," added Greco.
O'Leary Pulls the Right Strings
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