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Don't Put Any Stock in the Michigan Game

Sunday Morning Quarterback

Just don't look at the score. Don't even bother with it.

Now, listen: I know UCF got throttled by Michigan. I'm not stupid. I'm not going to stand here and say that if this or that had gone our way that Saturday would have been different. That would be dumb and dishonest. You tip your cap to Jim Harbaugh and Michigan and be on your way home.

But I will say that come December, we'll look back at this game a lot differently than we're currently looking at it. Lessons were learned. Some good things happened. Some bad things were exposed. Such are the growing pains with a first-year head coach and a team coming off an 0-12 season.

The Highlights

The Reaction

The Good

The running game. I've said before that the Oregon offense is a running offense. This is what I meant. UCF picked up 275 yards on 46 rushes, good enough for a six-yards-per-carry average. This was against a team that was 16th in FBS against the run last year, and then got better by all accounts.

Dontravious Wilson (17-83-TD) and Justin Holman (7-67 before leaving with a hamstring injury) led the way, but the highlight of the day for UCF is something we'll talk about a bit later.

The Bad

The passing game. Justin Holman started 3/11 for 19 yards before having to leave the game in the second quarter after blowing a tire on a long run. Nick Patti came in and didn't do much better. In fact, he did almost exactly the same - 3/11, 37 yards.

The Ugly

Special teams. The two blocked punts and a blocked field goal were on the first three possessions. UCF had another field goal blocked in the second quarter. That's just not going to do it.

The Interesting

I've never seen speed like that before from a UCF player. That was awesome. The future certainly is fast.

Here's a very nice breakdown of the play from Touch The Banner.

The Turning Point

Matthew Wright's blocked field goal in the first quarter. Down 7-0 after two blocked punts, UCF drove the ball into Michigan territory, thanks to a 30-yard run by Justin Holman. After the drive stalled, Wright came in to kick a 50-yarder to put UCF on the board, but it was blocked and the Knights came away with no points. Had UCF answered the first Wolverine TD, things might not have gone differently anyway, but it was the third blocked kick in as many possessions, and on the Wolverines' ensuing possession, they scored another touchdown on a Khalid Hill run, and that was pretty much that.

Stat of the Night

Rushing yards:

UCF - 275 yards, 6.0 average per carry

Michigan - 119 yards, 2.9 average per carry

Irrational Overreaction of the Week

You know what I don't miss? Anything about George O'Leary.

Next Week

Saturday night against another Big Ten opponent, Maryland. It's the first meeting between UCF and the Terps, who are coming off a blowout win over FIU:

Interestingly enough, UCF is currently 71st all-time in program win percentage at .526, one spot ahead of Maryland, according to Winsipedia.