VIDEO: UCF Knights Fall To USF Bulls 41-24, Knights Wait On Bowl Invite
By Andy Seeley, UCF Knights // November 27, 2016
ABOVE VIDEO: Head coach Scott Frost and players Tre’Quan Smith, Errol Clarke and Mark Rucker talk about the Knights’ contest in the #WaronI4.
TAMPA, FLORIDA (UCF KNIGHTS) – USF outscored UCF 17-0 in points off turnovers in Saturday’s War On I-4 matchup. That ended up being the biggest difference in the contest, as the Bulls took a 17-point win over the Knights 41-24 at Raymond James Stadium.
USF grabbed a pair of interceptions and recovered a fumble, leading to those 17 points. The Bulls rushed for 351 yards, including 155 from running back Marlon Mack and 152 from quarterback Quinton Flowers. Mack and Flowers also scored two touchdowns apiece. The Knights passed for 338 yards, but rushed for just 64.
“At the end of the day, when they run for over 300 yards and we run for (64) … it’s hard to win those football games,” UCF head coach Scott Frost said. “Those are the things we need to address as a football team.”
UCF opened the scoring with a six-play, 60-yard drive to take a 7-0 lead. McKenzie Milton hit Tre’Quan Smith for a 34-yard gain to set up a 3-yard Jawon Hamilton touchdown run.
But USF scored the next 24 to grab control early. USF’s first score came midway through the first quarter on a 43-yard Marlon Mack touchdown run. A Knights’ miscue late in the first quarter gave USF the lead. Hamilton fumbled an option pitch from Milton. Juwuan Brown scooped-and-scored for the Bulls to make it, 14-7. USF added a field goal before Mack got loose again. His 56-yard scoring run made it, 24-7.
The Knights got some momentum back late in the first half. Tristan Payton took a double-reverse and passed deep for Tre’Quan Smith, who hauled it in and out-ran the USF defense for a 72-yard score to make it 24-14 at halftime.
USF quarterback Quinton Flowers put the Bulls on top 31-17 on the third play of the second half. Flowers took a designed quarterback run down the right sideline and out-raced the Knights’ defense for a 62-yard score. But the Knights got right back in it with under five minutes to go in the third. Taj McGowan capped an eight-play, 44-yard drive with a 3-yard run to make it 31-24 headed into the final period of play.
A turnover once again proved to be costly. A Milton aerial was tipped at the line of scrimmage and picked off by USF’s Auggie Sanchez. One play later, Flowers went off tackle for 24 yards and scored to push the Bulls’ advantage back to two touchdowns. A USF field goal made it, 41-24.
But UCF wasn’t finished. The Knights got a touchdown on a Justin Holman-to-Smith 41-yard pass and run to cut the deficit to 41-31. The Knights got the ball back less than a minute later, but turned it over on downs, allowing USF to punch in a final score.