First play: On the first play from scrimmage at brand new Bright House Networks Stadium, the Knights threw a bomb that was broken up at the last minute by Texas cornerback Ryan Palmer.
The running game: Texas' Jamaal Charles was up and down against the Knights – his highs were very high, and his lows were very low indeed. Bad news first: he lost two fumbles, one inside the three yard line in the first half with Texas trying to widen its lead. The other came late in the fourth quarter, giving the Knights the football prior to their final touchdown, eliciting more than a few moans in various sports bars and dens across Central Texas. Charles' final numbers, however, were impressive: he rushed 22 times for 153 yards and added an electric 46-yard game-winning touchdown with 3:37 remaining in the game, pushing the Texas lead to 35-24. Charles needed just 43 yards to reach the 2,000-yard mark for his career and he flew by that mark. He has now rushed for more than 100 yards in all three Texas games this year. His cumulative stats this year are 70 carries for 399 yards, a 5.7-yards per carry average.
Charting McCoy: Colt McCoy is now 13-3 as a starter and has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 14 of his 16 career games. With his team trailing 24-23 in the fourth period, McCoy added to his legend by leading the Longhorns to two field goals and a touchdown under tremendous pressure. McCoy completed 32 of 47 passes for 259 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He completed 10 of his first 11 passes in the game. In the drive that set up the final Bailey field goal, McCoy was especially effective, hitting Jordan Shipley on a huge 38-yard gainer.
Bailey sets record: Ryan Bailey set a school record with five field goals in the game. His field goals were from distances of 19, 19, 42, 30 and 37 yards. He missed one, too, a 31-yarder pushed wide right.
Memorable first possession: Texas had a memorable first possession after holding the Knights to three-and-out on the initial possession of the game. Texas drove the ball successfully but stalled, and Bailey came out to attempt a 28-yard field goal. Holder Shipley, however, took the snap and ran up the middle, picked up a first down on fourth and one. Replays, however, showed that the playclock had expired for at least two seconds before the snap. Texas still couldn't score the touchdown, resulting in Bailey's 28-yard field goal with 8:45 remaining in the first quarter. Another interesting aspect of the first UT possession: Charles lined up on one play in the backfield, then split out wide right as a receiver, catching the pass from McCoy for seven yards.
Memorable second possession: Texas' second possession was even more impressive than the first drive. The Longhorns drove it 73 yards on 14 plays with McCoy passing for the score on a six-yard touchdown strike on a slant to Nate Jones with :22 left to play in the first quarter.
The Cosby Show: Quan Cosby entered the game having caught at least one pass in 20 consecutive games, and caught ten passes for 67 yards in this one. He has caught at least three passes in eight consecutive games.
Why two?: Mack Brown decided to go for two points after his team pulled ahead of the Knights 35-24 with 3:37 left to play. McCoy's pass to tight end Blaine Irby was just off his fingertips in the back of the end zone. Kicking the extra point would've given Texas a 12-point lead, meaning UCF would've have to score a pair of touchdowns to pull even or ahead of the Longhorns. Instead, the 11-point lead kept the Knights with a two-score opportunity to tie, which came into play with Charles' second lost fumble of the game.
Sweed hurt: Receiver Limas Sweed started his 36th consecutive game against the Knights, but caught just one pass for nine yards. Sweed injured his ankle in the first half and did not return in the second half. He has now had at least one reception in 21 consecutive games. His career stats are 115 catches for 1,737 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Lighting start: UCF went three-and-out on its first possession of the game, but drove the ball 68 yards in eight plays on the second possession. On its first 11 plays, the Knights used the same formation only twice. A lightening delay was called with 6:01 left to play in the first quarter after the Knights took a 7-3 lead on Kevin Smith's two-yard touchdown run. The delay lasted 16 minutes.
Weird stat: Texas had the ball for 52 plays in the first half, compared to UCF's 28. Despite that discrepancy, Texas led by only 10 points at halftime, 20-10.
No punt returns: Texas has gone 100 games without allowing a punt return for a touchdown.
Knight numbers: UCF entered the game having lost all 16 previous games played against ranked opponents. Make it 17.
Texan in Florida: The only Texan on the Knights' roster is reserve running back Phillip Smith, a sophomore from Mansfield Summit High School. Smith got into the game when Kevin Smith, the starter, left on a couple of occasions. He rushed 3 times for 15 yards.
Introducing Blaine Irby: True freshman Blaine Irby got his hands on a couple of passes Saturday, but couldn't convert either tough reception opportunity. One would've given the Longhorns a first down in the fourth period but was a tad high, and the other came on Texas' two-point conversion following the 46-yard Charles touchdown in the fourth period – it was also a high pass, in the back of the end zone, and he couldn't pull it down.
Mr. Smith: The most dangerous Knight is Kevin Smith, who is on the Doak Walker Award Watch List. He finished the game with 149 yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns. In the first half he gained just 26 yards on eight carries, but 14 of those yards came on one play. On the first possession for the Knights in the second half, he had a 35-yard run, stepping out of bounds at the three-yard-line while choreographing a summersault into the end zone. He traveled the final three yards on the next play for a touchdown. He did the bulk of his damage in the third quarter as the Knights were beginning their comeback.
Coaches' numbers: Mack Brown is now 96-22 record at Texas. George O'Leary is 13-25 since taking the job in 2004 entering the game. Brown has lost only seven games on the road in his 10 years at Texas, two of those in his first three road games. The Longhorns are 18-1 in their last 19.
Scoring defense: Texas has scored at least three touchdowns defensively in seven of the last eight seasons. Brandon Foster's interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter was the Longhorns' first defensive score of the season.
Stadium debut: Saturday's game marked the first game ever played at the new Central Florida football venue, Bright House Networks Stadium. The Knights had played the previous 28 season at the Citrus Bowl in downtown Orlando.
Upon further review...
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