Question, UCF fans: When is a record-setting blowout not a blowout?
Answer: When you score a school-record 73 points and move up in the polls, but gave up 33 to an FCS opponent on a series of are-you-kidding-me plays.
Such was the conundrum of UCF's victory over Austin Peay, a team that, coming into this season, had a nation-worst 27-game losing streak, but came in 5-3, and wasn't even on the schedule to start the year, but got added in the scramble to fill the schedule post-Irma.
It felt like the Governors hung with UCF all night, and yet they didn't. And it looked like the Knights won convincingly, and yet, they didn't.
This game was weird.
We took care of business and stayed healthy. UCF scored a new school-record 73 points, breaking the old record of 71 set against Gardner-Webb in 1992. We won on the home field by 40 points. And most importantly, no one got hurt of any significance.
UCF scored a school-record 73 points today; its previous high in a game was 71 points in 1992 (when the Knights were in FCS). pic.twitter.com/86zomPAIc1— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 29, 2017
There was a brief moment of panic when Mike Hughes got up slowly after chasing down an Austin Peay receiver on this long-gainer, but Hughes looked to be OK later on:
At times UCF did look like they were hung over a bit from the Navy win, which may not have been a surprise since Navy tends to beat up teams to the point where the following week, they look a bit sluggish. Job #1 may have been to win, but #1A was definitely to keep everybody healthy for the return to conference play.
The tackling. Lord almighty it was bad on defense. Austin Peay rushed for 143 yards, actually out-rushing UCF, and racked up 209 passing yards on just 12 completions - 17.4 yards a pop. And that was mostly thanks to some dreadful effort in the first half on the defense, which could not bring down APSU runners with any consistency in the first half:
It wasn't all that much better on special teams, as the kickoff coverage unit gave up 23.8 yards per return, plus a TD:
Credit to Kyran Moore of APSU, but the fact that this happened against our defense is distressing:
APSU was 6/13 on third down and 3/4 on fourth, largely due to the defense's lackluster performance.
I guess it's good that these issues were revealed now against Austin Peay, when you have a considerably larger margin for error than next week vs. SMU. Still, as Coach Frost has said multiple times after the game now, these are issues that must be corrected.
The fans. I get it. This game wasn't on the schedule, the weather was dicey, it was an FCS opponent - I get all of that. Still, come on now:
The Turning Point
This was Shaquem Griffin's first career touchdown, and it came when UCF was up just 24-13 early in the second. It pretty much blew the game open, but we didn't know it yet.
By the way, gotta love Shaquem pulling out the Adrien Killins Break-the-Tape TD celebration here!
"You the real MVP"
If anyone is curious, @UCF_CheerTeam did 430 push ups tonight— Attacking Champions 5-0 (@WadeH_UCF) October 29, 2017
And especially this guy:
Stat of the Night
Give it up for McKenzie Milton, who painted a masterpiece on Saturday, and hardly anyone seemed to notice:
When is this buzz going to start happening?
Play of the Night
I'm going with this catch by Dredrick Snelson:
The SMU Mustangs, who are better than you think: