Deny, Deny, Deny

The UCF Knights put forth their best effort of the season Saturday, as they overcame the cold, wet conditions in Huntington, West Virginia and ruined Marshall's homecoming, 30-14. Did the Knights win the game or did the Thundering Herd lose the game? The truth is that is probably was a little of both, but Marshall head coach Mark Snyder feels differently.

Sure, Marshall had the better record entering Saturday, and still do, and they have the better offensive rankings, but anyone with an average amount of objectiveness and sanity who was able to witness Saturday evening's display of football came away believing that Central Florida was the better team, the much better team.

"We've brought a lot of it on ourselves; it's been self-inflicted," Marshall head coach Mark Snyder explained. "We're not making plays when we need to make plays."

It's easy to point out mistakes that Marshall made, as they did manage to commit four turnovers, but not all of those errors were unforced. The Thundering Herd were outgained by the nation's worst statistical offense, and had less than half the number of first downs as their guests from the south. If the Knights hadn't made a mistake on a short punt that hit one of the blockers, and dropped two touchdown passes, the final score would've represented an even bigger blowout.

A completely one-dimensional UCF offense was able to run the football for 213 yards on 65 attempts against a Marshall defense that must have known what was coming. It's rare when one team wins by three scores despite completing just four passes.

"We ran the ball today because it's what we had to do," Knights head coach George O'Leary explained. "Again, I think we had some good passes dropped for touchdowns but I thought the game plan going in was to control the ball as much as we could and keep Marshall off the field."

Just enough offense created some rare opportunities for rest for the UCF defense which allowed them to almost completely neutralize Marshall's offensive weapons. Still, Marshall's head coach failed the give the road team much credit.

"Two weeks in a row we've been anemic on offense and have had a couple of busts in special teams," Snyder said.

If the reasons why Marshall lost their first homecoming game in 15 years were due to their own mistakes, the question that begs to be asked is why wasn't this superior team better prepared? Four turnovers, eight penalties for 65 yards, and less than a 25% pass completion rating doesn't speak of a team that was in bowl contention and ready to play a big football game.

Knights coach George O'Leary has now defeated Marshall coach Mark Snyder each of the four times their teams have squared off. Although the Knights didn't have much to play for on paper with a 2-7 record coming in, they were the better prepared football team. O'Leary kept his players motivated by preaching "pride."

"I was concerned that we keep our sense of urgency and intensity in the second half. I wrote the work ‘pride' on the board for finishing the season right."

It seems as if the Knights took O'Leary's statement to heart and showed a great amount of pride on Saturday.


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