Well, it was going to happen eventually. For the first time since November 26th, 2016, UCF has lost a regular season football game. This is a sword the entire fanbase is going to have to fall on (no pun intended). After three years, the Knights were finally getting the national respect they deserved and now the reset button has been hit. The haters and the doubters will jump on the first opportunity to say “I told you so” and there’s not much that can be said back. The truth is that Pitt outplayed and out-coached UCF from start to finish.
1. Not a fan of the plan. Offensively, I think UCF’s game plan was flawed from the beginning. There was too much emphasis on the short passing game even after it clearly wasn’t working. I also think Adrian Killins was extremely underutilized, especially in the passing game. With a minute left in the game and you need a score, I definitely would have drawn up something based around the fastest player on the team.
The defense didn’t do the offense any favors either. Too many times, the middle of the field was wide open and Pitt was able to take advantage of that with the passing game as well as the quarterback run. I’m not sure if that was a result of the defensive game plan or if Pitt was able to just expose a weakness on that side of the ball.
2. Struggles up front. The biggest surprise to me was how the UCF offensive line struggled with pass protection all night long. Pitt had six sacks against a unit that had only given up one sack in the first three games. The Knights also only averaged 2.5 yards per carry in the run game.
3. Pitt might just be a really good football team. All in all, I’ll be the first to admit that I severely underestimated this Pitt team. I thought their strong performance against Penn State last week was because the Nittany Lions weren’t as good as everyone thought. In reality, they’re disciplined, well coached, and very talented on the defensive side of the ball. The only saving grace for the Knights will be if Pitt racks up a few more big wins this season.
4. The upshot. There’s still a lot more football left to play in 2019. While this loss will hurt UCF in terms of national respect and ranking, the G5 New Year’s Six bowl bid is still very much in play for the Knights. While this one definitely stings, the only thing the Knights can do is move on to UConn next week and try to go 1-0.