Just Enough Offense

Any coach will take an ugly win over a pretty loss, any day. The Knights haven't had many ugly wins this season, nor have they had pretty losses. Most everything about the 2008 season has been ugly for UCF, as they have endured vast injuries and inexperience on offense which led to second-half collapses on almost a weekly basis.

The second-half collapse that the Knights were becoming famous for was put on hold for at least one week.

"Our nemesis of every game has been the second half," Coach O'Leary explained in his post-game press conference. "In eight games this year, six of the eight we're either leading or tied at the half and the others we were behind by three points. Today I thought the kids went out and played a full game making some plays when they needed to make them."

The Knights defense has been making plays and has been solid all season long, but offensive ineptitude has kept them on the field for entirely too long in games.

"The longer you're out there on the field as a defense, the more of a chance that the offense has to make a play against you," senior cornerback Sha'reff Rashad said following the game.

On Saturday, the UCF defense was only on the field for 58 plays compared to the 82 plays the Marshall defense was on the field. The Knights dominated time of possession by holding the ball for better than 38 minutes (38:10-21:50), and they made just enough plays to keep the defense fresh.

"I thought they were very solid like they have been all year," O'Leary said. "They've been stingy on giving plays up. They weren't even on the field for that first touchdown but defensively they played well enough to win seven games if we could contribute offensively."

There is still plenty of work to do on offense, but there are certain signs of things coming together. Freshman quarterback Rob Calabrese had nightmarish statistics as he completed just 4 of 17 passes for 29 yards, but he played much better than those numbers. Calabrese had two touchdown passes dropped, actually completed one touchdown pass, threw no picks and he was sacked just one time.

The offensive line opened up enough room for freshman running back Brynn Harvey to have a career day with 150 yards rushing, and they did a solid job in pass protection. The Knights don't need much offense to win, and they didn't receive much offense, but for the first time in over a month they got some offense.

"I'm happy for our football team, Coach O'Leary said. "I thought it was a solid win against a Marshall team that has been playing fairly consistent this year. I'm happy for our players because we've had a tough season."


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