UCF Waxes ECU 63-21 To Go 5-0 For First Time Since ’88

Tre Neal UCF ECU
Tre Neal returns an interception 50 yards for a touchdown in UCFs 63-21 defeat of ECU at Spectrum Stadium. Photo: Derek Warden)

When UCF assembled its scouting report for ECU, the coaches and players had to salivate. They were about to pit the #1 scoring offense in the nation against one of its worst scoring defenses on Homecoming. This could get ugly in a hurry.

They were right.

Nine different Knights scored touchdowns, and UCF advanced to 5-0 for only the second time in school history, and the first time since the halcyon Division II days of 1988, with a 63-21 victory over ECU.

Here’s a look back at the game:

The Highlights

The Reaction

The Photos

Catch Derek Warden’s photo gallery HERE!

The Good

The offense. They did what they were supposed to: Score in bunches and rack up yards:

603 total yards. 365 passing yards, 238 rushing yards (Balance FTW!). 5.7 yards per rush, and 11.8 yards per pass. Nine different players with nine touchdowns. Only one sack (the second of the season given up!) and one turnover. And 63 points.

It was UCF’s highest-scoring game since the season opener in 2001 against Liberty. And it was expected.

The Bad

The fans. Where the hell were you? It was Homecoming. The students came out. What about the rest of you?

The official attendance for this game was 40,287. How are there almost 5,000 empty seats in Spectrum Stadium for this game? This is a UCF team that’s scoring more points than any other in the nation, is ranked in the top 25, and is a more exciting product to watch than any UCF team since at least 2002.

I’m pretty sure it wasn’t because you thought the stadium might fall down.

What does this team have to do to get you to care?

The Concerning

The run defense. They gave up 5.1 yards per rush to a team that was 117th in the country in rushing yards per game at just over 107 per contest. The tackling, particularly on a 57-yard run by Darrius Pinnix, was suspect at times.

I don’t want to me Debbie Downer here. UCF still held ECU to 21 points and just 160 yards passing. But you can get away with that against ECU this year.

But you CANNOT get away with it against Navy, the #1 rushing offense in the nation at 397.5 yards on the ground per game.

The Unremarkably Amazing

Special Teams. Especially punt returning and coverage. Mike Hughes brought back two punts for scores (one was brought back due to an illegal block penalty), and punter Mac Loudermilk, who had the week off last week through no fault of anyone but UCF’s offense, averaged 46.3 yards on three kicks and dropped one of them inside the one.

The Knights are now second in the nation in punt returns at 22.5 per return.

The Turning Point

It’s tempting to say the opening kickoff, but I’m not that mean.

Let’s go back to the start of the second quarter. UCF was up 21-7, but ECU moved the ball to the UCF 42 before stalling. A great punt dropped UCF to its own 5.

The Knights went 3-and-out, and for a second, ECU had field position and some life with a chance to get back within a score. But three plays and 56 seconds later, again ECU was punting, and again they pinned the Knights back, this time at their own 4.

7 plays, 2:21, and 96 yards later, UCF was in the end zone. A 42-yard completion to Cam Stewart was the big play, and McKenzie Milton capped it off with a 1-yard keeper. Just like that, it was 28-7:

A kickoff and two plays later, Tre’ Neal picked off an errant pass from Thomas Sirk and raced 50 yards untouched for a pick-6, and the game was essentially over at that point.

Stat of the Night

Again, what does this team have to do to get you to care enough to show up in force?

Next Up

Like we said earlier, this is the #1 rushing offense in the land. They were undefeated prior to this past weekend. They’re at home. They’re Navy. They’re probably pissed.

Saturday at 3:30 in Annapolis, Maryland. Buckle up.

About Jeff Sharon 164 Articles

Jeff Sharon is the Managing Editor, Publisher, and boss around here. He graduated from UCF in 2005 and worked in the Knights’ athletic department full-time from 2008-2010. He still works for UCF as a public address announcer at several sporting events and also thinks the Atlantic Sun Conference days were more fun than you realized. Follow him on Twitter at @Jeff_Sharon.