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Knee-Jerk Reactions: #13 BYU 49, UCF 23

The Cougars dominate the Knights at the Boca Raton Bowl

RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl - BYU v UCF
UCF QB Dillon Gabriel
Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

After a tumultuous 2020 season, the UCF Knights wanted a tenth game and was able to get one at the RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl against the 13th ranked BYU Cougars. Much like UCF’s attempt to get RoofClaim’s name on their stadium, the bowl game that bears the same name didn’t go so well either as the Cougars won handily 49-17. It’s time for some knee-jerk reactions.

2020

It’s over. The year that brought college sports to its knees and nearly killed college football is finished for UCF. There were some ups and downs, but it’s over. UCF ended up 6-4 and the only team in Florida and the American Athletic Conference to not have a game postponed during the season due to covid related issues. All things considered, that’s a major win. We could have easily had no football at all, so I’m at least thankful for that.

RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl - BYU v UCF
UCF HC Josh Heupel
Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Outmatched, outgunned, out-really-everythinged

BYU was a better team all around. They were by far the best offense UCF has seen. The Knights were flat and went through the motions. There wasn’t any sense of urgency that BYU brought to the table and results speak for themselves. This isn’t to diminish the beat down the Cougars gave the Knights. The Cougars wanted to send a very loud message to the poll voters, CFP committee, and the world at large.

NCAA Football: Boca Raton Bowl - UCF vs BYU
UCF WR Jaylon Robinson dropped a likely touchdown catch in the first quarter
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

This game was ugly. There is no way to spin it. From the get go, UCF seemed off. There was no rhythm until the fourth quarter when the game was out of hand. After Jaylon Robinson’s dropped touchdown, it just seemed like no one came back.

Let’s keep a little perspective here

The Knights were missing their most talented veterans. Richie Grant, Marlon Williams, Aaron Robinson, Stephon Zayas, Derek Gainous, and Landon Woodson. This gave younger players some valuable game experience, but against a team that really should be undefeated. BYU’s only loss was at Coastal Carolina by one yard on three days notice. They’re pretty good.

So let’s look on the bright side. You have to be encouraged about 2021. Many of these younger players who had to step in, especially on the defensive side of the ball, gained a lot of experience. I seriously doubt UCF is going to leave the coaching staff as it is. Most assistants are on year to year contracts and defensive coordinator Randy Shannon’s contract is up. I do not expect him to be retained. We will be looking into who could be a viable replacement.

One thing is for certain, the nickel defense without the right personnel does not work and without Aaron Robinson, who is able to flex between a linebacker role and utility defensive back role, the scheme failed miserably.

Now what?

We will have a post-mortem for the season to review 2020 and look ahead to 2021. UCF has a pretty good basketball team too. You should check them out.

Stat Leaders

Passing
UCF: Dillon Gabriel: 21/45 for 217 yards, 2 TD, 0 Int
BYU: Zach Wilson: 26/34 for 425 yards, 3 TD, 0 Int

Rushing
UCF: Greg McCrae: 18 carries for 77 yards, 1 TD
BYU: Tyler Allgeier: 19 carries for 173 yards, 1 TD

Receiving
UCF: Tre Nixon: 5 catches for 48 yards, 0 TD
BYU: Dax Milne: 7 catches for 70 yards, 0 TD

Game Notes

  • With this loss, UCF snaps a streak of scoring at least 24 points in a game. They had scored 24 or more in 48 straight games. This was the second longest streak in the country.
  • Dillon Gabriel has passed for a touchdown in 23 straight games. He now owns sole possession of third place at UCF, passing Daunte Culpepper.
  • UCF has had at least one passing and one rushing touchdown for 49 straight games. This streak leads the nation.
  • Greg McCrae’s 77yards gives him 2,616 on his career, moving him up to 4th all-time at UCF. He passed by Marquette Smith as a result of this game.
  • This was coach Josh Heupel’s first loss by more than a single score. It only took three seasons for it to happen.
  • Punter Andrew Osteen has moved up to 7th in punt yardage with 4,164, passing Glenn McCombs. Punters need love too.
  • BYU leads the series against UCF 2-1.
  • Sorry this isn’t my best. I’ll try harder next time.