Longhorns Too Much for Knights

A depleted UCF squad took an early 3-0 lead against the second-ranked Longhorns but then the Knights saw why Texas was ranked where it was.

A potential UCF upset victory over Texas, in Austin would have made for the biggest win in the history of the UCF program and one of the greatest upsets in the history of sports. When Texas kicker Hunter Lawrence put his right foot on the ball for the opening kickoff, the Knights were more than five touchdown underdogs. The thought of an upset became even more of a fantasty than a reality when it was learned that both starting quarterback Brett Hodges and starting running back Brynn Harvey would miss the game with various injuries.

The harsh reality was a 35-3 Texas victory, as they ran off 35 unanswered points and dominated nearly each and every statistical category. Colt McCoy continued his assault on the Heisman Trophy as he completed 33 of 42 passes for 470 yards, the second-highest total in the history of the program. McCoy also tossed a pair of touchdowns and was intercepted once. Biletnikoff Award hopeful Jordan Shipley had an enormous day as he caught 11 passes for 273 yards, including an 88-yard touchdown.

UCF hung tough for a while, as their defense bent but didn't break en route to a scoreless first period. The Knights actually led the game on a Nick Cattoi 39-yard field goal on a drive that was set up by great runs from freshman running back Jonathan Davis and sophomore quarterback Rob Calabrese. Unfortunately for the Knights, their lead would be short-lived.

Heisman Trophy runner-up Colt McCoy got his Longhorns offense in gear as he found his favorite target in senior wide receiver Jordan Shipley for several big gains which set up a Cody Johnson 20-yard touchdown run to put the second-ranked 'Horns up 7-3. Texas followed up with another Johnson touchdown run on their next possession, this one from 13 yards out to put Texas up 14-3, and the Knights would get no closer.

The Knights' defense played hard for much of the game, but they were simply overmatched by the quicker, more talented Texas team. The UCF defense certainly spent far too much time on the field in the second half as the Knights offense couldn't move the ball consistently, as they lacked anything resembling a passing attack. Rob Calabrese couldn't move the team offensively in his first two starts against both Samford and Southern Miss, and to expect him to be able to sustain an offensive attack against the 11th ranked Longhorns defense proved to be far too tall of a task. Entering the fourth period, Calabrese completed just five of 12 passes for 25 yards, and only 10 net passing yards.

The Knights didn't begin attempting to throw the football until the fourth period, and from a distance it appeared as if UCF was trying to play close to the vest to not get blown out, but after further review, it was because the team is simply incapable of moving the football through the air with the backup quarterback. Filling in for Brett Hodges who had led the Knights to an improbable comeback just six days prior, Rob Calabrese finished completing just 10 of 19 throws for 76 yards. Most of the yardage came during the Knights final drive of the game in which Texas played several backups and were rushing just three or four at the most.

Lost in the blowout was a nice day for freshman running back Jonathan Davis, who ran for 71 yards on 22 carries, and the Knights defense which was led by Torrell Troup, Jarvis Geathers and Josh Robinson. Troup sucked up blocks and clogged the middle while Geathers added two more sacks to his resume. Freshman corner Josh Robinson held up fairly well against the impressive group of Texas wideouts and even snagged his fourth interception of the season.

The outcome means very little to the Knights in terms of their ultimate goal of winning the C-USA title, as they are 3-2 in conference, just one game behind ECU who beat them head to head. UCF must turn their focus toward the 15th ranked Houston Cougars, who will travel to Bright House Networks Stadium to play the Knights during Homecoming.

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