Ain’t no sugarcoating it: This sucked.
Turnovers, mistakes and a damn good Cincinnati defensive game plan spelled defeat for the UCF Knights in Nippert Stadium, 27-24. It’s UCF’s first loss in The American since 2016. And it hurts.
Now at 4-2, UCF has likely seen its New Year’s Six Bowl hopes vanish. The Knights are also 0-1 in the conference, with Cincinnati now having a game in hand in the East Division. It’s going to be an uphill climb for the Knights if they want to get to the conference championship game.
[SIGH] Alright, let’s do this.
#UCF head coach Josh Heupel: "This one is gonna hurt." pic.twitter.com/Dz7xPzldCL— Brian Murphy (@Spokes_Murphy) October 5, 2019
Full Dillon Gabriel presser after tonight's loss in Cincinnati. He placed a lot of blame for the defeat on himself. #UCF pic.twitter.com/4POfxThxMy— Brian Murphy (@Spokes_Murphy) October 5, 2019
#UCF center Jordan Johnson: "We're just disappointed and we've got to come back stronger next time." pic.twitter.com/4SHKRx5fOF— Brian Murphy (@Spokes_Murphy) October 5, 2019
Senior LB Nate Evans doesn't want any of his teammates to dwell on this loss.— Brian Murphy (@Spokes_Murphy) October 5, 2019
"We've got to take this one, walk over it and rise." #UCF pic.twitter.com/DSyTWjGsxo
- The offense was not good. Dillon Gabriel was 25/46 for 297 yards, one TD, three interceptions and a lost fumble. Credit to the Cincinnati defense, which took away the long ball and forced him to throw underneath. But he was confused multiple times tonight, and when he wasn’t it was the pass rush that caused havoc.
- The offensive line was offensive. Even with seven blockers (a TE and a back) on certain passing downs, UCF’s offensive line was thoroughly dominated. The Knights gave up three sacks and had just seven total yards in the third quarter, when Cincinnati made their move.
- The Defense was REALLY good. And that’s too bad. They kept the Knights in the game the whole night, only giving up one long TD drive. Desmond Ridder spent most of the evening having to improvise, and outside of one long scamper in the third, Michael Warren had a fairly pedestrian evening.
- The red zone was the dead zone. On six trips to the red zone, UCF managed just one TD. The Knights tallied three field goals and got picked twice near the goal line.
Stat of the Game
Cincinnati’s defense came to play!— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) October 5, 2019
The Bearcats forced 4 turnovers and held UCF to only 16 points on their 5 redzone trips.
UCF’s drive chart in the second half:
-11 yards, punt
-10 yards, punt
5 yards, punt
23 yards, punt
2 yards, punt
93 yards, td
Knights of the Night
Nate put up a career-best 17 tackles, 11 solo, in one of the best games he’s ever played.
Nate Evans is a man possessed tonight so far. #UCF— Jeff Sharon (@Jeff_Sharon) October 5, 2019
It was a mixed back for Gabe, who caught a career-high 13 balls for 170 yards, but mostly on slants and short routes. Cincinnati’s defense did not allow him to get behind them.
Bye week. Thank God.
Then it’s ECU at home on October 19th.
That's a wrap from DFS. Thanks for bringing it tonight, Pirate Nation.#NoQuarter pic.twitter.com/yI45XjFoB2— ECU Football (@ECUPiratesFB) October 4, 2019