We thought the Navy game would be the tough one. But UCF's victory over SMU at home has proven to be the most hard-fought of 2017. And we should have expected that - SMU came in undefeated at home with the 9th-best scoring offense in the nation. So this one should have been hard, particularly for the defense.
But depending on how you view this game, you either see a tough, hard-fought road conference win over a game opponent, or you see a team that's showing signs of fatigue down the stretch as the pressure to go undefeated mounts.
The defense. SMU came in averaging over 500 yards of offense and 42 points per game, but UCF's defense bent without breaking, holding the Mustangs to 17 points (7 were scored on a pick-6, which isn't the defense's fault). We knew there would be offense, and there was, to the tune of 1,104 total combined yards between the two teams. But to hold the explosive Mustangs to two touchdowns and a field goal on their home field - not to mention the forthcoming - Stat of the Night - should be cause for celebration for Eric Chinander
The turnovers. This game should have been well in hand earlier than the final possession, but UCF turned the ball over three times - two picks and a lost fumble. UCF had just five turnovers all year, including three interceptions. The lost fumble by Jordan Akins ended up keeping SMU in it in the third when UCF could have almost put the game away, but the defense bailed him out in the end.
When AK's gone, you know it's & #UCFast pic.twitter.com/7rdhkFdRSt— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) November 5, 2017
This was actually Killins' most impressive run yet, as he ran out of a couple of tackles and kept his feet after stumbling. We are going to miss him when he's gone. This is fun.
The Turning Point
After Matt Wright's 19-yarder put UCF up 7 early in the fourth, SMU could sniff their chance to tie it up and make things really uncomfortable for UCF. But here are their final three drives:
- At 14:18 - 10 plays, 34 yards, punt
- At 7:37 - 6 plays, 32 yards, turnover on downs
- At2:55: 7 plays, 14 yards, turnover on downs
Yes, they shot themselves in the foot with some critical drops, but still, credit the defense for making the big plays when they needed to.
You the real MVP
Ashley Frost and Scott Frost's child. Frost BabyWatch 2017 went off without a hitch over the weekend, and last we heard, Mom and Dad are still awaiting their bundle of joy's arrival.
Clearly, Baby Frost is not interested in his/her father's hurry-up philosophy.
Stat of the Night
Yards per pass attempt:
UCF: 10.3, SMU: 5.4
The Mustangs attempted 52 passes to gain 283 yards, which all in all was remarkably inefficient. That's thanks to UCF's secondary, who got burned on the first play of the game thanks to their own bad tackling.
So adjusted for that first play:
Fun #UCF stat:— Jeff Sharon (@Jeff_Sharon) November 7, 2017
Take away the first play vs. SMU, and the Mustangs’ passing attack was 26/51 for 197 yards - 3.8 yards per attempt.
That's how you defend the pass.
UCF moved up again in the polls, to 12th in the Coaches' Poll and 14th in the AP. We await the CFP rankings, which likely won't be as bullish.
Still, UCF's school-record start continues at eight in a row now - just in time for everyone's favorite non-rivalry...
Terrible shot from press box but there on end of bench at 40 yd line, that's Civil ConFLiCT trophy 10 min after game... pic.twitter.com/qd7tZbNHKE— Mike Anthony (@ManthonyCourant) October 23, 2016
Has anyone checked Rentschler Field to see if it's still there?