By: Adrian Beecher
UCF got off to a rough start, turning the ball over in the redzone on their first 2 possessions. Storm Johnson would be the first victim of a turnover as he had the ball stripped on a 1st and goal play from the 4 yard line. UCF's d was able to hold strong and force a quick 3 and out. Johnson finished the night with 28 carries for 127 yards.
On the next possession, after a strong drive down the field, QB Blake Bortles threw a pick on a 3rd and 4 from the 8 yard line. Bortles finished the night 17 of 24 for 210 yards passing. "It was just a bad read, I can't make those mistakes." Said Bortles of the pick.
Though the struggles early in the 1st quarter the Knights were able to stay on track holding a 6-0 lead going into the Half. UCF's defense was able to hold a high powered Houston offense, that came in averaging 41.1 points per game to just 105 yards of total offense and no points.
The Cougars grabbed their only lead midway through the 3rd quarter as QB O'Korn ran it in from 24 yards out giving Houston a 7-6 lead with 7:29 left in the 3rd. O'Korn finished the night 24 of 46 for 231 yards passing, 1 TD pass and 2 interceptions.
With UCF up 19-7 and 6:06 left in the 4th UCF sent out kicker Shawn Moffitt to try a 50 yard FG to put it away, but the kick was blocked and gave Houston excellent field position. "We should have punted there, and pined them back deep." Said O'Leary of the field goal attempt post game.
44,665 watched as Houston marched down the field and pulled to within 5. Then the Houston D stood tall and forced a 3 and out from the UCF offense. As O'Korn marched his Cougars back down the field to try and win the game the stadium was rockin as they tried to pump up the defense to make a stop. On 4th and goal from the UCF 7, and 20 seconds left in the game, Cougars QB John O'Korn threw to the end zone only to have his pass deflected by UCF Free Safety Brandon Alexander which would seal the deal for the Knights. "The player came from the outside and they tried to pick him off, he fell so I was there to go and make the play." Alexander said of the deflection.
UCF heads to Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA to face Temple next week for the first time ever. Kickoff is set for 12pm and is set to air regionally on ESPN.
Houston heads to Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in Louisville, KY to face the Louisville Cardinals. Kickoff is set for 7pm and will air on ESPN2.