Knights shocked in loss

Jeff Godfrey will look to lead the team to victory over the UAB Blazers Oct. 20.

Jeff Godfrey will look to lead the team to victory over the UAB Blazers Oct. 20.

Isaac Babcock

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The Knights are set to play the second worst team in Conference USA, the week after losing to the worst.

Four quarters after entering what had been predicted as the shoo-in win of the season for the Knights, UCF’s football team left wondering what happened against UAB on Oct. 20. The previously winless Blazers (1-6) shocked the Knights with a 26-24 upset that sent the Knights down to 3-4, their first losing record this season.

The Blazers, who had struggled to find any offense early in the season, were further handicapped by missing their starting quarterback, star running back and left tackle. That didn’t seem to matter for the Blazers, who had their offensive game of the season, amassing 501 total yards and scoring in three of the game’s four quarters, blowing by a UCF defense that had been ranked in the nation’s top five in many defensive categories.

“That’s as sloppy a defense as I’ve ever seen,” Head Coach George O’Leary told UCF Athletics. “We’re just doing things you can’t do and expect to win.”

In the final minute of the game, a comeback attempt by backup UCF quarterback Blake Bortles fizzled with an interception at the end zone that sealed the loss for the Knights.

But Bortles had shown some brilliance earlier in the final quarter, directing the Knights during two scoring drives that would set the stage for a comeback. At one point in the final minute the Knights had a 24-23 lead, which was erased when a stalled UAB fourth-down conversion attempt was converted by a costly pass interference penalty that eventually led to the Blazers’ winning score.

Now the Knights will have to face Memphis, but they will be looking to rebound on their own turf. That’s good news for the Knights, who have a 3-0 record at home, in direct contrast to their 0-4 record on the road.

The Tigers are 2-6 after shocking Tulane 33-17 on Oct. 22. The game kicks off at 4 p.m. Oct. 29, televised on Bright House Sports Network.