UCF’s Ireland Visit a ‘Great Experience’
By Brian Ormiston, UCFKnights.com // September 2, 2014
tightly contested match ends in PSU's favor, 26-24
ABOVE VIDEO: Watch some of the best plays from the Knights in their season opening contest in Dublin, Ireland against Penn State.
DUBLIN, IRELAND — Despite a heart-breaking result, UCF head coach George O’Leary and the Knights enjoyed their trip to the Emerald Isle.
“I thought it was great,” O’Leary said.
“It was great to be over here. The Irish were very kind to us where we stayed, at Carton House, with the facilities. I think it was a great experience for the kids. It really was. They’re down in the mouth now about the loss. But when you have an opportunity to win, you’ve got to win.”
The Knights arrived in Dublin on Wednesday and enjoyed playing in front of more than 53,000 raucous fans at the Croke Park Classic. UCF head coach George O’Leary consistently praised the people of Ireland and their hospitality throughout the days leading up to the game.
Despite losing in gut-wrenching fashion on a field goal on the last play of the game, the UCF head coach’s opinion of the trip from that regard remained constant.
UCF-PSU Postgame Notes
• UCF dropped to 23-13 in season-openers, and lost its first season-opening contest since 2005 at South Carolina.
• The Knights’ school-record winning streak of nine games was snapped.
• UCF and PSU split the 2013-14 home-and-home series, with the Knights winning in Pennsylvania in 2013 and the Nittany Lions winning on Saturday.
• UCF wore a specially-designed helmet with the stacked logo, shamrocks and a pot of gold. It’s the 10th different helmet UCF has worn in a game since the program’s inception in 1979.
• Saturday marked the eighth regular-season game between NCAA programs in Ireland, and the first at Croke Park since 1996.
• The Knights won the turnover battle, 3-1, and had only 47 penalty yards compared to the Nittany Lions’ 90.
• UCF will have a bye next week before traveling to No. 24 Missouri.
• Head Coach George O’Leary began his 11th season at the helm of UCF, and his first year of coaching football came in 1968. As expected, he had several family and friends in the stands. It was his third trip to Ireland, with his first two coming in July 2013 to announce the Croke Park Classic and in April 2014 to help with preparations.
• A native of Cork, Ireland, Sean Galvin did not get to kick off the game, but did kick off five times for 306 yards and a 61.2 yard average.
• Sophomore quarterback Justin Holman had 75 yards and a touchdown on 9-for-14 passing all of last year, but came off the bench to go 9-for-14 for 204 yards and a touchdown Saturday. He tossed his first pass attempt in the third quarter, and completed his first six passes of the game.
• Holman also galloped his way for two rushing touchdowns.
• J.J. Worton was the QBs’ favorite target, getting five receptions for 83 yards, while Breshad Perriman had three receptions for 81 yards.
• Sophomore Jacoby Glenn intercepted his third pass of his career in the first quarter.
• Jordan Ozerities snatched an interception as well, his fourth as a Knight.
• Thomas Niles registered UCF’s first sack of the year, and it was his 10th of his career.
• Jaryl Mamea also added a sack, which was his third as a Knight.
• Shawn Moffitt converted a 36-yard field goal in the second quarter. He now has 37 field goals made in his career, good for a tie for sixth all-time at UCF.
• Clayton Geathers led the defense with 15 tackles. That moved him into the all-time top-10 at UCF and now sits in ninth with 301.
• Jordan Akins, a former pro baseball player, made his debut on the collegiate field and ran back five kickoffs for 142 yards including a 68-yard burst.
• Demetris Anderson was credited with three quarterback hurries.
The rest of the season started with an eight-hour flight back to Orlando on Sunday, and then the Knights headed back to the practice field on Monday. The Knights will be in action again Sept. 13, when they travel to Columbia, Missouri to face the Missouri Tigers. Catch the game on the new SEC Network channel (Brighthouse channels 54 and 1150)