PHOTOS: KURT RIVERS
Below is Head Coach George O’Leary’s reaction to the first conference loss the Knights suffered today.
Video courtesy of Brandon Helwig/UCFsports.com
And check out some video highlights shot of the game by KnightNews.com’s Brandon Ratay:
The UCF Knight lost to the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles by a score of 31-21.
Why UCF lost the game:
After the first two drives, it looked like another UCF blowout. It was not. After initially going up 14-0, Southern Miss rattled off 31 unanswered to crush the Knights hopes of climbing higher than #25. The Knights could not run the ball after the first quarter. After Ronnie Weaver broke free for 112 first quarter yards, the run game screeched to a halt. UCF as a team only rushed for 28 yards after the first quarter. The Knights defense, ranked number one in Conference USA entering the game, looked extremely porous as USM routinely marched down the field and into the end zone, totaling 414 yards of offense. UCF could not get much pressure, only sacking QB Austin Davis one time. The kick game failed the Knights once again as Jamie Boyle missed the one UCF field goal attempt, a 30 yard shot with UCF down by 10.
Why Southern Miss won the game:
After the first two drives, the Golden Eagles were able to do everything right. They focused on stopping the run, not only taking out Ronnie Weaver but limiting the explosiveness of Jeff Godfrey. The usually elusive Godfrey could not race past spying Southern Miss linebackers, and only averaged 0.5 yards per carry. On offense, Davis put on a show, throwing for 264 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Golden Eagles were also able to run the ball effectively with Tracey Lampley and Kendrick Hardy, finishing with 150 total rushing yards as a team. Two big interceptions early were able to swing the momentum in USM’s favor, and the Golden Eagles won the turnover battle.
Austin Davis, Southern Miss QB. Davis had the first 4 touchdown passing game of his career. He threw for 264 yards and chipped in 44 yards on the ground. Davis showed off impressive leadership ability in taking his USM team from a early hole and completely turning the game around to favor his squad.
What this all means:
UCF’s undefeated conference record is no more. UCF will also fall from its national ranking, and barring the unforeseen will not be ranked again this year. This loss casts doubt over what was a very sure and confident team leading up to the game. This loss does not, however, take UCF out of first place in Conference USA’s Eastern Division. The Knights are still on pace to win the division and, as long as they have no more losses, host the conference championship game
UCF takes on Tulane on the road. Tulane is 3-6 overall, 1-4 in the conference before their game against Rice later today.
- It was senior day for UCF
- Jeff Godfrey was injured in the fourth quarter, but returned to the game.