ORLANDO, Fla. — UCF wrapped up homecoming with another landmark win Saturday evening as they took care of ECU with ease in a 63-21 game. He is a quick breakdown of what we learned from UCF’s latest performance on the gridiron.
Pace and Space
UCF was continuously running out of the shotgun, with no huddle, and four wide-outs. As soon as the referee spotted the ball they seemed to be hiking it, giving the defense no time to make substitutions. This was leading to a lot of miscommunication on ECU’s defense, which was resulting in huge plays by UCF.
Chip Kelly led teams were known for their exhaustive pace, an element that Scott Frost has promised since his arrival in Orlando. After a year and a half of installation, the UCFast offense is no longer just a marketing ploy.
The Knights held the ball for only 27:52 but rattled off 72 plays, two more than the Pirates – who won the possession battle with ball control for 32:08.
McKenzie Milton was getting Adrian Killins and Otis Anderson the ball in space as much as possible with the game-time scratch of Dredrick Snelson from the lineup. These two guys will be crucial when UCF takes on tougher opponents in the future. Frost wants to make sure these young guys are ready following Jawon Hamilton’s season-ending injury.
“He is doing some really good things, he is really versatile, he gives another weapon,” Frost said about Otis Anderson, who had stepped up in the slot.
Anderson is one of two players who comprehensively own the playbook at two positions, receiver and running back. Frost’s offense derives its strength from variety, and Anderson is the Agent X in igniting the system.
Killins and Anderson combined to produce 149 total yards and a touchdown but saw a ton of looks. The pair totaled 17 total touches before the night was through.
ECU’s starting quarterback seemed rattled from the get-go. He missed many open receivers early in this game. Coach Frost was bringing heat, playing man behind it, and ECU had opportunities. In Sirk’s defense, the crowd was loud, and the pocket kept closing in on him.
Sirk still stood out as a silver lining at times, and would end the day with two touchdowns – but he completed just 9-of-21 passes for 91 yards. Gardner Minshew entered the game in mop-up fashion and would close out the ECU passing attack with a solid night, comparatively.
The backup found his target on 6-of-12 attempts and notched 50 yards and a touchdown of his own.
Death, Taxes and Mike Hughes
The game seems to be moving really slow for Mike Hughes. He returned one touchdown to the house tonight, and another touchdown got called back for a block in the back. This guy has been an elite corner and returner this season. Teams will not continue to kick him the ball with yet another display of raw athleticism on the tape.
“Special teams is a game changer a lot of people don’t realize it, that what I am trying to do,” Hughes said about his punt return magic.
Meaningful Game Reps for Backups
There was no reason for UCF to risk their headliners in the fourth quarter, and Quarterback Noah Vedral continues to get a chance at playing meaningful snaps, as Coach Frost called them after the game.
With Milton’s tendency to move around and small frame, there is a chance that Vedral will have to take over for at least a series with serious game implications somewhere down the line. Vedral played most of the fourth quarter and joined the scoring party with a rushing touchdown late in the game.