After Further Review…

The roughly 100 or so UCF fans that braved the cold weather and ventured off to the Liberty Bowl to watch their team play left happy, as the Knights pulled off a 28-21 upset victory. Did UCF win the game or did Memphis lose the game? We explored this question a week ago in the Knights' 30-14 triumph over Marshall thanks to the post-game comments of Marshall coach Snyder.

The question begs to be asked this week again, based not only on Memphis head coach Tommy West's post-game comments, but more importantly the stat sheet.

"I thought we matched up pretty well with UCF from a physical standpoint, not disappointed about that," West explained. "The second thing is, coming into the game, we knew we weren't supposed to help them get points and that wasn't the case today. We helped them to 14 points in the first half and that is the reason we didn't win the game."

Similar comments were made a week ago by Marshall's head coach and they sounded a lot like sour grapes. This week the words have much more meaning when you take into account the Knights did virtually nothing offensively following their opening drive of the second half.

The Knights were outgained 177-42 in total yards in the second half, outrushed 77- (-2) in the second half, and the Tigers maintained a 100-44 advantage in passing yards after intermission. What was heading toward a blowout after the first 34 minutes of the game turned into a nail-biter thanks to a complete absence of offense.

"We made a great run at the end but we were unable to close out the game and get the win," West said.

So what won the game for UCF, or should we say what lost the game for Memphis? Silly mistakes. In Memphis' desperate attempt to kick away from UCF cornerback and return man extrodinaire Joe Burnett, the Tigers lined up with their offense and attempted a rugby style quick-kick by their quarterback Arkelon Hall. The kick never rose more than just a few feet and was blocked by Bruce Miller's facemask. The Knights took over on the Memphis 30 and punched it in the end zone just six plays later.

"We punt the ball right in the back of our guy," West explained. "We had worked on Arkelon (Hall) punting the ball for the last two weeks. It was just a horrible play by our guy."

On the very next offensive possession, Memphis again shot themselves in the foot when quarterback Arkelon Hall couldn't handle the snap and execute a handoff and Knights linebacker Derrick Hallman was "Derrick on the spot" and picked up the ball and coasted 26 yards for another Knights score.

"With the second turnover, it was just a horrible snap and we needed to jump on the ball, but we didn't and they were able to recover the ball and run it all the way in for a touchdown," West said.

The final stats show the Knights outgained 305-194 in total yards, had 15 fewer plays, and nearly five minutes less time of possession. The key to the win was that the Knights were opportunistic and they didn't make too many key mistakes of their own.

"I am disappointed that we made the errors early in the game and that put us behind, West said. We shouldn't have ever been down in that game."

Turnovers kill.


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