By: Adrian Beecher
Orlando FL- Thursday night, the Knights of UCF (1-0) and Zips of Akron (0-1) matched up in a lopsided event that saw the Knights cruise to a 38-7 victory as the season kicked off at Bright House Networks Stadium.
Blake Bortles and the UCF offense opened up the scoring with a record-breaking 91 yd. TD play connecting with Breshard Perriman on 2nd and 18 from the UCF 9yd line with 14:02 showing on the scoreboard. The 91-yard play was the longest play from scrimmage in UCF football history.
UCF extended their lead late in the first quarter after Bortles connected with Rannell Hall for a 19yd TD pass and gave the Knights a 14-0 lead.
The Knights wrapped up the first half with two additional scoring drives. One was a touchdown by J.J. Worton and the other resulted on a 32 yd. field goal by Shawn Motiff; As a result the Knights took it to the locker room with a good 24-0 lead over the Zipps by the end of the half.
Akron’s offense seemed lackluster at best only accounting for 83 yards of total offense in the first half. Zips QB Kyle Pohl only accounted for 32 of those yards, as he was unable to get into any rhythm in his first college start.
In the 3rd quarter Knights running back Storm Johnson took over the score reaching the end zone with two additional scoring drives. His first score came with 9:38 left in the 3rd on a 9 yard TD run and was able to cap off his third quarter performance with a 1yd run with 2:23 left in the 3rd. Storm finished the night with 99yds rushing and 2 scores on 20 carries.
The UCF defense held strong holding Akron to only 250 yards of total offense compared to UCF’s 476 yds. Knights' Troy Gray grabbed his first career interception midway through the 3rd on a pass from Zips QB Kyle Phol. Gray said post game of the play, “Before the play I saw the Tackle turn around and look at the running back and he kind of bumped him out a little bit, he said something I don't know for sure. we worked this play in practice and we saw what they did and what their tendencies were. …. I didn’t think the quarterback was gonna throw the ball but he threw the ball, it was just a good moment.”
With the score 38-0 going into the 3rd quarter and te game all but wrapped up, Coach George O’Leary put in his 2nd teamers to get them some playing time not wanting to risk injuries.
The only bright part of the night for Akron was with less than a minute left in the game, as they were able to score a touchdown to break the shutout with back up QB Nick Hirschman connecting with Imani Davis on an 11 yd TD pass.
The Knights are on the road next at Florida International Friday Sept. 6th . Akron will host its home opener against James Madison next Saturday Sept. 7th.