"There was no phase of the game where we did well, the offense, the defense, and the kicking game," Coach O'Leary explained. "We didn't make things happen and we didn't make plays when we had the opportunity."
The UAB Blazers drew first blood in the game with an unconventional nine play, 39-yard drive that ended in a 40-yard Swayze Watters field goal. Quarterback Joe Webb was a perfect two for two passing on the scoring drive, and he ran for seven yards. The UAB drive lasted four minutes and 51 seconds, but the Blazers inexplicably used all three timeouts.
The Knights defense bent, but didn't break on the next UAB possession as quarterback Joe Webb led the Blazers on a 13 play, 61 yard drive that resulted in another Swayze Watters field goal, this one from 43 yards. Webb completed six of his eight throws on the drive for 55 yards.
With the Knights offense unable to sustain any drives, the defense couldn't get much of a break and the Blazers took advantage with long, time-consuming drives. On UAB's next offensive drive, the Blazers drove 75 yards on 15 plays, while picking up three third-downs to set up another Watters field goal, this one from 22 yards.
The Knights went to backup quarterback Joe Weatherford after the offense couldn't move the ball with their final drive of the first half, and Weatherford was able to pump some life in what looked only like a dying offense. Weatherford marched the Knights offense from their own 33 yard line into UAB territory before Daren Daly couldn't connect on a 45-yard field goal due to a botched snap.
At halftime, the Knights futile offense was held to just four first downs, 19 passing yards, and the lone bright spot was freshman running back Brynn Harvey, who gained 57 yards on eight carries. Meanwhile, UAB had 199 yards of total offense, was 7 of 11 on third downs, and held a 21:10 to 8:50 time of possession advantage.
The halftime intermission couldn't cool off the Blazers offense as they opened up the second half with another one of their long, time-consuming drives that unfortunately for them ended in another field goal, but a 12-0 lead. Joe Webb led his UAB team on a 10 play, 61 yard drive that was highlighted by a 35-yard scramble by the 6'4" junior quarterback.
"I thought defensively I thought it was our worst game of the year as far as tackling is concerned and securing tackles," O'Leary said. "There were too many hidden yardage plays out there and offensively there was no consistency in the play."
The Knights re-inserted freshman quarterback Rob Calabrese in the fourth quarter, but the offense would remain stagnant on this day. UCF finished with just 209 total yards, 68 of which came on the Knights final drive which like the previous eight possessions yielded no points.
"I had no idea we would shut them out," UAB head coach Neil Callaway said. "Obviously, I have to see the film to give a good opinion. Everybody must have played well. We gave up some throws, but that is going to happen. I am tremendously proud of our defensive football on how far they have come from the beginning of the year when we could not stop anybody."
UAB quarterback Joe Webb completed 20 of his 28 pass attempts for 244 yards, and ran for 80 yards on 22 carries. Senior kicker Swayze Watters accounted for all of the Blazers points, as he went five for five on field goal attempts.
"They didn't do anything that we didn't practice against but we just missed tackles," O'Leary said. "There was a lot of yardage and too much hidden yardage."
The offensive star of the day for the Knights was Brynn Harvey, who gained 90 yards on 15 carries.
"He's a great back," Weatherford said of Harvey. "I thought the offensive line had a pretty good day."
Joe Weatherford led the Knights in passing as he completed 12 of his 26 attempts, for 99 yards and two interceptions. Rob Calabrese hit on just 2 of his 8 throws for 6 yards.
"We were trying to win the game for the seniors," Weatherford said. "Everybody gave good effort and we didn't get the win."
The Knights effort level in Saturday's 15-0 blanking was inexplicably poor as the defense couldn't tackle and all of the gains the offense made over the last few weeks was all for not against one of the worst defenses in the nation. The Knights ended a disappointing season when they were expected to defend their C-USA title with a 4-8 record.
Knights Burned on Senior Day, 15-0
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