Knights Drop Heartbreaker, 20-14

The UCF Knights gave a valiant effort, but fell just short as they were defeated by the Miami Hurricanes, 20-14 in front of a crowd of 40,011 mostly dressed as empty seats.

Miami dominated the first quarter as all the Knights offense could muster just one first down. UM took advantage of short fields and errors by the Knights and jumped out to a 7-0 lead on a Robert Mavre to Travis Benjamin 25-yard touchdown pass. On the ensuing possession, the Knights went three and out and the Blake Clingan punt was blocked. Although UCF's defense held strong, Miami was able to extend their lead to 10-0 via a 35-yard Matt Mosher field goal.

The second quarter began as more of the same for UCF. Following a fantastic 32-yard Joe Burnett punt return which left the team starting at the Miami 32-yard line, all the Knights offense could do was get one yard before kicker Daren Daly made a 48-yard field goal. In true Knights fashion, the kick would be disallowed due to a motion penalty on UCF.

The UCF defense took matters into their own hands as safety Johnell Neal stepped in front of a Robert Mavre pass and raced 62 yards down the sideline to put the Knights on the scoreboard, 10-7. Defense was the order of the first half, as both teams struggled to move the football. The Knights had just 42 yards of total offense at the break and Miami had 168 yards with three interceptions.

The third period was a defensive battle, as the two teams combined for just 55 yards of total offense. At no time did either offense move the ball effectively, as both units combined for just five first downs.

Scoring returned in the beginning of the fourth period as a fourth down snap sailed over punter Blake Clingan's head and into the end zone where Clingan successfully booted it through for a safety. The safety gave Miami a seemingly commanding 12-7 lead, and with the dysfunctional UCF offense, 12 points appeared as if it would be all the Hurricanes needed.

The Knights made yet another unforced error as Joe Burnett muffed a punt which the ‘Canes recovered on the UCF five-yard line. After a replay review, the play stood and Miami punched it in on the very next play on a run from sophomore Graig Cooper. Miami then converted on the two-point conversion with a Jacory Harris keeper, and Miami was up 20-7.

UCF had one last march in them as Joe Burnett took the ensuing kickoff back 91 yards to the house, trimming the ‘Canes advantage to 20-14. The Knights defense then stood tall as if did all game long, and freshman quarterback Rob Calabrese had one last opportunity to steal a game on the road. The order of the day held true, as the Knights final drive stalled on downs at the Miami 35-yard line.

The UCF defense was fantastic all day long, as they shut down a potent Miami attack. Lawrence Young led the Knights with 11 tackles, 2.5 for loss, senior cornerback Sha'reef Rashad notched two interceptions, and senior safety Jason Venson had eight tackles. UCF held the Miami offense to just 216 yards of total offense, and just 88 passing yards, both totals were well under the ‘Canes season averages.

Mistakes and absolutely no offense did the Knights in on this evening, as UCF miscues directly led to all of Miami's points. The Knights offense finished with just 78 total yards, and at no time did they look in sync or even functional. UCF's record falls to 2-4 with a much needed bye week coming up before a trip to Tulsa on October 26th.


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