In a matchup of weakness vs. weakness in terms of the very penetrable Rice defense against the normally slow starting UCF offense, the Knights struck quickly and firmly. On UCF's first offensive possession, in fact the first play, senior quarterback Brett Hodges found sophomore A.J. Guyton for a 76-yard score to put UCF up 7-0. UCF's defense then bent but didn't break as they forced a Rice punt, and the Knights put together a long, methodical 14 play, 87-yard drive that was capped by a Brett Hodges one-yard touchdown plunge to put UCF up 14-0 with three and a half minutes remaining in the first period.
Following another Rice offensive mishap, the Knights continued to pound away at the under-talented Rice defense as backup running back Ronnie Weaver took a hand-off off left tackle and galloped down the sideline 27 yards untouched for a score. With another Nick Cattoi extra point, the Knights found themselves up 21-0, with just two minutes remaining in the first period.
A.J. Guyton continued his fantastic day as he took a punt back 38 yards all the way to the Rice 28-yard line. UCF couldn't capitalize as the offense went three and out, and Nick Cattoi was wide right on a 37-yard field goal attempt.
Although the Knights offense cooled off as they had three consecutive three and outs following their three touchdowns, the defense was more than dominant as they allowed Rice just 42 yards on their next five possessions. At no time did Rice even threaten to put points on the scoreboard despite having short fields.
UCF capped the first half with more offensive firepower as wide receiver A.J. Guyton found Kamar Aiken on a wide receiver option for a 36-yard touchdown. The drive encompassed 89 yards on just six plays and the Cattoi extra point put the Knights up 28-0, a led they would take into the locker room.
UCF dominated in every way imaginable in the first half as they racked up 275 yards of offense (166 passing), while attempting just 11 throws. The Knights had 13 first downs and committed just three penalties. Rice had just 112 yards of total offense, with five first downs and just 26 yards rushing.
The Knights kept pouring it on in the second half as freshman cornerback Josh Robinson intercepted a Nick Fanuzzi pass and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown to put the Knights up 35-0. UCF would then score on their next offensive possession as backup quarterback Rob Calabrese found Jamar Newsome for a 52-yard score to make it 42-0.
The blowout victory was very necessary for UCF, as they hadn't put up this many points since the days of Kevin Smith. Quarterback Brett Hodges completed eight of 13 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown. Brynn Harvey gained 68 yards on just 12 carries, and A.J. Guyton caught four passes or 113 yards including a 76-yard touchdown. Guyton, a former high school quarterback completed his only pass attempt to Kamar Aiken for a 36-yard score. Final offensive stats for the Knights include 465 yards of total offense (213 passing, 252 rushing) and 21 first downs.
The UCF defense was just as spectacular as the offense, as they allowed minimal gains to the Owls, who scored their only points of the game long after the final outcome was decided. The Knights sacked quarterback Nick Fanuzzi five times, despite playing several backups for much of the second half. The Knights forced five fumbles and had an interception.
The Knights now move to 4-3 on the season and the victory evened their conference record to 2-2, just one game behind both Marshall, who visit Bright House Networks Stadium on Sunday night, and ECU.
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