Both UCF's and Tulsa's game plans were evident; the Knights wanted to pound the ball and keep the clock running, while the Golden Hurricanes attempted to score quickly and often. In Sunday night's game, it was Tulsa who had its way with UCF.
The Golden Hurricane got off to a 14-0 lead after several big plays, with both of Tulsa's scoring drives coming in under two minutes. Quarterback David Johnson was responsible for two big passing plays that set up both of Tulsa's opening touchdowns and the senior finished with 264 passing yards, and three total touchdowns.
UCF abandoned its clock-control offense on the very first play of the following series as freshman quarterback Rob Calabrese found a slanting Brian Watters over the middle for 62-yard touchdown to put the Knights within seven. Tulsa defenders were drawn to a UCF slot receiver that ran a curl pattern, opening up the middle for Watters in what was a great call by UCF's coaches.
Both squads' punters struggled in the breezy Tulsa wind, but after a Golden Hurricane punt was held up in the air, the Knights received the ball with great field position. UCF couldn't move the ball, but Daren Daly got something out of the drive, nailing a career high 54-yard field goal to put the game at 14-10.
On the ensuing kickoff, Emery Allen forced a fumble, which UCF recovered on Tulsa's 12. The Knights, who ranked 110th in the nation in redzone offense heading into the game, managed to find the endzone when Calabrese hit Watters on his second touchdown reception of the evening on third down. The seven yard touchdown toss gave UCF a 17-14 lead, its first of the evening, with just under four minutes remaining in the first half.
Following UCF's touchdown, Tulsa was pinned back deep in their territory when a poor snap catapulted into the back of the endzone for a safety, giving the Knights a 19-14 lead heading into half time.
Tulsa started the next half with a bang, after Damaris Johnson returned the kickoff 70 yards. Three plays later, Johnson ran into the endzone for 10 yards, allowing the Hurricane to regain the lead, 21-19.
After the score, the onslaught was on for Tulsa, as the team went on to score 35 unanswered points. On most of Tulsa's scores in the second half, UCF gave up big passing plays on third down to keep Golden Hurricane drives going. Tulsa converted half of its third down conversions on the evening.
Aside from missed opportunities, turnovers and poor decision making doomed the Knights. UCF finished with three lost fumbles and Calabrese was sacked nine times.
Tulsa, who had the number one ranked offense in the nation heading into the game, continued its offensive annihilation of C-USA opponents. A week after putting up 77 points against UTEP, the Golden Hurricane moved the ball downfield against UCF in every way imaginable, finishing with 435 yards on offense.
The Knights fall to 2-5 with the loss and must now win the rest of their conference games to have a chance of making the C-USA championship game. Tulsa is now 8-0 and will likely move up from 18th in the BCS rankings.
Knights Blitzed by Tulsa, 49-19
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