A series of offensive miscues may have cost the Knights an upset win against Ohio State on the gridiron on Sept. 8. UCF fell 31-16 to the Buckeyes in a game that had been very close through the first half.
Now they’re staring down their first home game of the season coming up Saturday against a Florida International University team that embarrassed them 17-10 last season.
They’ll be looking for a rebound after a game that started off well but got out of hand for the Knights.
In a matchup of quarterbacks, the Buckeyes proved they had a more resilient and versatile playmaker in Braxton Miller, who scampered for 141 yards in the game and threw for 155 to lead his team to victory.
Meanwhile UCF redshirt sophomore quarterback Blake Bortles suffered through 10 yards lost on rushing attempts and sacks, while throwing for 249 yards and two touchdowns in the air. Unfortunately for Bortles, three of his passes were picked off, and two of those interceptions rapidly led to Ohio State touchdowns.
The Knights kickoff against FIU at 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, at Bright House Networks Stadium. Visit ucfathletics.com to buy tickets.
Bortles’ last pick of the night at the start of the fourth quarter was en route to the end zone to bring the Knights within a touchdown of the lead when it hit the Buckeyes’ Orhian Johnson in the numbers at the Ohio State five-yard line. That would-be touchdown for the Knights became the only Buckeyes interception that did not lead to a score.
But the Knights did have their moments of offensive brilliance, drawing within easy field goal range for kicker Shawn Moffitt to grab their first score late in the second quarter, then a short pass from Bortles to Justin Tukes midway through the second that tied the game at 10 points each.
After that it was the Braxton Miller show, as he took the middle of the game and turned it into three straight unanswered scores to extend the OSU lead as broadly as 31-10 late in the third quarter before the Knights struck again with a two-yard pass from Bortles to Billy Giovanetti to make it 31-16.
That’s where the score would remain, as the Knights’ defense held the Buckeyes back in some strong stops on third and fourth down conversion attempts near the first down line. But the damage was already done, and the Knights’ failed to score on three possessions in the fourth quarter.
Running backs Storm Johnson and Brynn Harvey provided nearly all of the Knights’ speed on the ground, with 75 and 36 yards of carries, respectively. Johnson also caught three passes for 22 yards.
In the air, wide receiver J.J. Worton was Bortles’ go-to guy with seven catches for 96 yards. Quincy McDuffie’s fleet feet carried him to 44 yards receiving on three catches. Rannell Hall added another 40 yards.
The Knights kickoff against FIU at 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15. Good news for the Knights: Last week the Panthers narrowly outlasted the Akron Zips 41-38. In Week 1 the Knights trounced Akron 56-14.