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Knights’ Roundtable: A Look Back on GameDay

Derek Warden, Jeremy Brener and Brian Murphy answer questions regarding this weekend’s game against Cincy.

Jeff Sharon

Each week, a few staff contributors will answer five questions regarding the upcoming events in UCF Knights sports. It’s a way to get the staff to come together as well as the rest of Knights Nation, to see if they agree or disagree with the crew at BGB.

Today, Jeremy Brener, Brian Murphy, and Derek Warden take their seats at the roundtable to answer this week’s questions about Saturday’s win over the Bearcats and everything that went down over the weekend.

1. What was your reaction to the GameDay crowd?

Jeremy Brener: As I was watching from home, I was always rewinding to see if I could pinpoint my friends. I would pause every 10.3 seconds to take a look at every sign to see the enthusiasm from Knights Nation. It was truly remarkable. Even though I wasn’t physically there, I felt like I experienced it.

Brian Murphy: I don’t think there is an official count of the GameDay crowd, but I think I was expecting more people to show. My guess is that between 6,000-8,000 were present; I thought it would be closer to 12,000. But those who were there generated a fantastic atmosphere on TV (when I watched the show back), and the sea of signs was simply awesome. I came away feeling jealous because I’m nowhere near as clever as many of the people who were out there Saturday morning.

Derek Warden: Crowd was incredible, and the signs were both creative and numerous. Bonus points for the multiple Citronauts I saw!

2. What was your reaction to the GameDay panel?

Jeremy Brener: I thought it was fair for the most part. I do think they were filtering themselves ever so slightly, but you have to do that or face the wrath of thunderous boos from thousands of one of the nation’s angriest fan bases. They did a good job.

Brian Murphy: They did what they are supposed to do: Debate UCF’s case and say some things that the fans don’t like to here. Oh, well. What can you do? That’s their job. While everyone else keeps talking, all the Knights can do is continue to win and let things fall as they may. The opinions expressed on College GameDay don’t (or rather, shouldn’t) impact this team’s final placement in the CFP poll.

Derek Warden: The panel was what I expected: complimentary of the crowd and school, but sticking to their guns regarding their opinions of the team. As for Maury as the guest picker, that was disappointing from a UCF standpoint, but he did a good job. I knew Corso would pick us, but loved that he went full-Knightro. Always go full-Knightro!

3. What was your reaction to the defense last night?

Jeremy Brener: The defense was phenomenal. It was their finest showing in the Randy Shannon era. Savage Pat’s hit on Desmond Ridder was the moment everyone knew not to mess with UCF anymore. It was a statement and they made that statement in front of a national audience, so that was cool.

Brian Murphy: It was a great showing to have in front of a national, primetime audience. It was the most impressive outing from the defense all season, but it also had all of the earmarks of what we have seen from them throughout the year: A high-pressure, attacking style; big turnovers; a third-quarter shutout; lots of yards allowed without giving up points. That’s how this defense wins.

Derek Warden: Defense only allowed 7 points, and it came in garbage time. Outside of a shutout, I couldn’t be happier with the D.

4. What was your reaction to the offense last night?

Jeremy Brener: After the first drive, it was smooth. Adrian Killins had his best game in a month or so, but while McKenzie Milton was probably saving his best performance for a future game this season, he impressed and proved why his team is one of the best in the country.

Brian Murphy: It wasn’t perfect: Milton was admittedly a little too hyped up at the start; there were some miscommunications with WRs; Michael Colubiale dropped a wide-open touchdown; UCF recorded a season-low in rushing yards and missed multiple opportunities to really put this game away when it was 21-6 ....

And they still scored 38 points.

So much can go wrong for this offense, but it’s just so good, it almost doesn’t matter. They are going to get their 30-plus and move on.

It was good to see Milton connect with Tre Nixon on a few deep balls -- something I thought UCF needed to try versus Cincy’s secondary coming into the game. And finally, it seems like Heupel is using Killins out in space more often. He remains very dangerous when he has room to move and is still a total difference-maker for this offense.

Derek Warden: When your Top 10 offense meets a Top 10 defense and wins by 4 touchdowns, you have to be pleased.

5. Favorite moment from yesterday, and yes, you can only pick one.

Jeremy Brener: The atmosphere right at the beginning of the game was the best part of the night. It’s great to have the energy for the morning pre-game show and it’s great to get the win. However, the energy the Bounce House brought to where the Bearcats faced two penalties to begin the game set the tone for the evening and I was really proud of the fanbase at that moment.

Brian Murphy: It’s hard to gauge the crowd noise from the press box, but you can certainly feel that place bounce when the students get rowdy. Feeling Spectrum Stadium undulate throughout the night was something I was looking forward to, and it didn’t disappoint. I’ll definitely remember the energy that crowd brought.

Derek Warden: I’ll try to be different (I think) and say that I was most impressed by how great the crowd was early. It was almost completely full for Senior Knight festivities and I can’t remember crowd noise causing two(!) penalties before the first offensive play of the game. (Fun fact: prior to the first offensive play of the game, the Knightmare had outscored Cincy 2-0).