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Ten Thoughts: UCF Falls to Tulsa

It’s a long season, folks.

Tulsa v Central Florida Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images

I did this on Twitter the first two games, and I’m not a fan of scooping yourself on social, so I’m turning it into an article here for your consumption.

Here are my ten thoughts on the UCF Knights’ loss to Tulsa Saturday:

1. Penalties

What am I going to say about this that hasn’t been said? UCF is now 72nd of 74 active teams in FBS in penalty yardage (104.67) and dead last in penalties per game with 15.

But as our Brian Murphy pointed out, the false starts are the biggest problem. 25 of their 45 penalties have been false starts. ECU simulating the snap count is one thing, but this is now an Oscar Rogers problem:

2. Matt Lee will be alright.

Saturday was one of those nights we all have for center Matt Lee. But give me 85 dudes who have a night like that and come back like this:

His predecessor, Jordan Johnson, was spot on:

Matt Lee was recruited by UCF, USF, and two service academies. He’s both smart and good at what he does. Two years from now, I have a feeling we’ll be saying, “Remember the Tulsa game? Yeah, that was like night and day now.”

P.S.: For more on how hard it is to play center, read Andrew Gluchov’s fantastic breakdown in his Knee-Jerk Reactions column.

3. I can’t stand Tulsa.

Tulsa is now 9-3 and has won four in a row and eight of the last nine against UCF. Their head coach, Philip Montgomery, is 4-0 against UCF. He was the offensive coordinator for Baylor when UCF beat them in the Fiesta Bowl, and he’s taking out his frustrations from that night on us every chance he gets. They’ve handed us four of the most excruciating losses I can remember over the last 15 years.

4. Tulsa won the battle in the trenches

E-Lo always reminds me of this and it’s true: Win in the trenches and you win the game. Take out Otis Anderson’s sublime 49-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and Tulsa out-rushed UCF (minus sacks) 183-79.

In the passing game, Zach Smith had all kinds of time to throw, especially in the second half. On the other side, Tulsa’s defensive line did a fantastic job of flushing Dillon Gabriel out of the pocket to his right, making it harder for him to throw on the run. Meanwhile, the secondary was playing the outside receivers very soft, daring Gabriel to take the short stuff. Give them credit: They had the athletes to pull of the right scheme.

5. Injuries

Good thing we’re in a bye week, because here’s a list of guys who got hurt last night at various times:

  • Richie Grant
  • Marlon Williams
  • Otis Anderson
  • Greg McCrae
  • Jacob Harris
  • Bentavious Thompson

Plus Tre Nixon was out with his injury from last week and Parker Boudreaux was out as well. Richie and Marlon’s injuries were particularly frightening. Fortunately they both walked off the field, but still.

This week off cannot come at a better time.

6. Otis Anderson’s 49-yard TD run was ridiculous

This might be the best run of his career. Amazing.

7. Josh Celiscar is going to be a star

Three tackles, one TFL and a viscious sack on Zach Smith. At 6-4, 230, he is now a major problem for opposing offenses.

8. Cole Schneider SCORED!

I mentioned before how much I love UCF’s short yardage philosophy. Never was that more apparent than when they handed the ball off to Cole Schneider of all people for a TD:

9. UCF’s main goals are still in play.

What can UCF control?

Winning the conference title is still well within their grasp. All you have to do is make the conference championship game, and it’s entirely probably they can do so with one loss, especially considering UCF has a 26.5% chance to win the rest of their games, and is a better than 70% favorite to win each of those games, according to ESPN’s FPI.

Hate saying it but I’m pretty sure the CFP went out the window the second the Big Ten announced it was coming back. So control what you can control and work toward getting that New Year’s Six payout.

10. No, really, everybody calm down.

“We’re gonna be OK.” - Aaron Rodgers