UH’s late rally falls just short against UCF

Though UH’s high scoring offense was mired in turnovers, penalties and had only scored seven points until late in the fourth quarter,  the game came down to four plays on one drive.

Trailing by five points, the Cougars received the ball at their own 38-yard line with three minutes to capture first place in the American Athletic Conference. Freshman quarterback John O’Korn helped orchestrate a 55 yard drive, but unfortunately for the Cougars their team needed a few more to get into the endzone.

The Cougars had four opportunities to score from inside the UCF but couldn’t. Their rally fell seven yards too short. It was UCF that picked up a 19-14 win at Bright House Networks Stadium in Orlando, Fla. and remained in the driver seat for a conference title.

“I’ve been around football a long time and it doesn’t get any closer than that. You’ve got to make a play. We made the play on defense,” said UCF head coach George O’ Leary.

The Cougars’ defense gave the team a chance to win, despite surrendering nearly 400 total yards, including 127 on the ground to UCF running back Storm Johnson.  UCF drove 98 yards, with the help of a controversial 15-yard targeting penalty on senior defensive back Zachary McMillian, while emphasizing the running game. But the “3rd Ward Defense” clamped down after UCF freshman running back William Stanback strolled 38 yards almost untouched for a touchdown to give the Knights a commanding 19-7 lead with 10:03 remaining in the fourth quarter.

UH forced a long field goal attempt and earned a 3-and-out following  that gave O’Korn an opportunity to first find junior receiver Wayne Beadle from 12-yards out to narrow UCF’s lead to 19-14 then receive the ball with one final chance to steal the game.

But the Cougars were more opportunistic in the first three quarters. UH forced three turnovers—including two that took points off the board in the first quarter.

The Knights’ used nine plays to drive down to the Cougars’  3-yard line on their first offensive drive, before junior linebacker Derrick Mathews stripped Johnson and UH took over when freshman Steven Taylor recovered the loose ball. On UCF’s second possession, sophomore safety Trevon Stewart stepped in front of UCF quarterback Blake Bortles’ pass at the UH five.

“The thing we emphasize more than anything in our program, defensively, is creating turnovers,” said head coach Tony Levine. “Normally when you win that turnover margin, you win the game.”

Mathews was all over the field, with eight tackles and a sack that forced UCF to kick a field goal. Stewart led the team in tackles with 13.

In the third quarter, junior defensive lineman Jeremiah Farley sacked and stripped Bortles to give the offense another opportunity. Special teams chipped in too. Redshirt freshman B.J. Singleton blocked UCF kicker Shawn Moffitt’s 50-yard field goal attempt with 6:06 remaining in the fourth quarter.

It was the offense that failed to find rhythm until late in the fourth quarter. UH was shut out in the first half when O’Korn couldn’t consistently connect with his receivers. The only scores before the break were two Moffitt field goals that gave UCF a 6-0 lead.

The Cougars first got on the board when O’Korn scrambled for a 24-yard score to give UH its first and only lead of the game. O’Korn finished with 231 yards and a passing and rushing score, but threw two interceptions in the game. Sophomore receiver Deontay Greenberry was the Cougars leading pass catcher, finishing with 94 yards on eight catches.

[email protected] 


    • Dude… Get off the gas.. every time they fall short (twice).. u complain about the QB… O’Korn is the man.. Cosh has not and prob won’t play… Have u even seen Cosh play?

  • I had not realized that the D gave up 400 yards, but they were incredible with major plays. This was a tough one to lose, given that we almost won at the end…..and everyone, including UCF, knows it. Proud of the Coogs.

  • In spite of the loss I would have to say that the offense gave a good account of itself against a very good team and the defense certainly played as well as any college level defense I have seen this year

Leave a Comment