For the second straight week, No. 5 Michigan was hardly forced to put their foot on the gas at home. The Wolverines easily improved to 2-0 this season with a 51-14 victory over visiting UCF (1-1). This one was over just as soon as Jim Harbaugh was hired and UCF went 0-12 last season.
Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight turned in a highly productive afternoon, completing 25 of 37 pass attempts for 312 yards and four touchdowns. Amara Darboh led all players with 111 receiving yards and a pair of touchdown grabs, and Jehu Chesson added 84 receiving yards. Tight end Jake Butt hauled in two touchdowns as well, and picked up 86 receiving yards.
The Wolverines did not get a whole bunch of yards on the ground, which should be a credit to UCF’s defensive effort. De'Veon Smith led the ground game with 38 rushing yards on 10 attempts. Of course, Michigan didn’t need a whole lot out of the running game on this day.
Michigan will remain home next week when they play their first power conference opponent. Colorado of the Pac-12 makes their way to Ann Arbor after picking up a win in the season opener against Colorado State. The Buffs had Idaho State at home today, so they should bring a 2-0 record with them next week to Michigan Stadium. It will be Michigan’s final non-conference game before hosting Penn State in the Big Ten opener the following week.
UCF clearly needs to find a quarterback because neither Nick Patti or Justin Holman were very effective. Each completed three passes out of 11 attempts for a combined total of 56 yards.
UCF will look to bounce back and learn from some experiences in this game next week when they take on another Big Ten team, this time at home. UCF hosts Maryland, who will be making a second straight trip down to the Sunshine State after beating FIU in Miami Friday night.
Things have not started well for the UCF Knights, a program that just two years ago had players like Blake Bortles and Storm Johnson leading the program to a Fiesta Bowl victory over Baylor. This season has started slowly out of the gates with a mildly surprising 0-2 start with losses to FIU (shocker) and Stanford (not at all unexpected). Now the Knights have lost their starting quarterback for the next two weeks. Or three. Or four.
On Monday UCF head coach George O’Learey announced quarterback Justin Holman will be out of action for the next two to four weeks after injuring his throwing hand early in Saturday’s game at Stanford. If that timeline holds true, that would make the best case scenario for Holman’s return to have him back on the field in time for American Athletic Conference play on October 3 at Tulane. The worst-case scenario would seem to have him back for the October 17 game at Temple, if not the previous week at home against super mega historical rival UConn. UCF’s next two games are at home against Furman this week and on the road at South Carolina next week.
“It [wasn’t as] … serious as they thought when they first told me about it in San Francisco, but it’s still enough where he has to let some sutures heal and all that type thing,” O’Leary said, per The Orlando Sentinel. “But he’ll be back as soon as he can be back… He’ll work the rehab as much as he can work it to get back as soon as he can.”
With Holman out of action, UCF will put the offense in the hands of freshman Bo Schneider. Schneider stepped in and completed seven of 19 pass attempts for 46 yards and an interception against Stanford. He and freshman Tyler Harris could end up splitting reps until Holman returns. Whoever the quarterback is though will be taking snaps from a brand new center. Starting center Joey Grant has left the team after suffering his third shoulder surgery. Junior Jason Rae will be the new center on the offensive line, leaving UCF a bit more shallow at the position early on in the season.
North Carolina State quarterback Jacoby Brissett was nearly perfect through two quarters of play in the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl. As a result, the Wolfpack established a 17-10 lead over the UCF Knights with the two teams preparing for the second half of play.
Brissett was 10-of-12 passing for 197 yards and a touchdown. He was elusive in the pocket, extended plays and placed plenty of stress on UCF’s defense due to his ability to run the football if needed. The quarterback led the Wolfpack with 29 rushing yards.
The only mistake Brissett made came at the end of the half when he took a sack while the Wolfpack was in scoring position. North Carolina State had an opportunity to extend the lead by two scores and receive the kickoff in the second half, but the sack forced the clock to run out for halftime.
UCF’s Justin Holman hasn’t been quite as good, but he’s been solid and created a few big plays in the first half. The sophomore was 11-of-19 passing for 118 yards and a touchdown. The UCF signal-caller didn’t make any key mistakes, and his team remains within striking distance.
Holman needs help, though. George O’Leary‘s offense is predicated on establishing the run, which allows the quarterback to strike down field. North Carolina State’s defense held the Knights’ rushing attack to 3.7 yards per carry. UCF needs to stay ahead of the chains to keep pressure of its quarterback and put him in the best position to succeed.
Brissett, on the other hand, needs to get his offense into the end zone. North Carolina State drove the ball inside the 30-yard line on its final two drives. Those drives resulted in only three points.
Despite an impressive first half performance, Brissett will need to continue his current level of play for the Wolfpack to secure its first bowl victory under head coach Dave Doeren.
UCF head coach George O’Leary will likely be humming an old Mike & The Mechanics tune on his trip back to Orlando.
All UCF needed was a miracle to claim a share of the American Athletic Conference title. Wide receiver Breshad Perriman answered the Knights’ prayers with a 51-yard touchdown catch as time expired to give the UCF a 32-30 victory over the East Carolina Pirates.
Horrible late-game play-calling cost the Pirates their ninth win of the season. With 1:47 remaining at UCF’s 15-yard line, the Pirates called four straight plays that resulted in negative yardage.
The Knights took over at their 35-yard line with 10 seconds remaining. Quarterback Justin Holman immediately connected with receiver Josh Reese for a 15-yard completion, which resulted in a first down and a momentary stoppage in play. Then Holman hurled a prayer into the air with Perriman getting behind a pair of East Carolina defensive backs to score the improbable game-winning touchdown.
The talented junior was outstanding and finished the contest with four receptions for 139 yards.
Perriman was topped by college football’s all-time leading receiver, though. East Carolina’s Justin Hardy made 12 catches for 140 yards and a touchdown.
East Carolina moved the ball, particularly in the second half, and posted another 400-yard game on offense. The Pirates gained over 400 yards in every game this season.
Senior quarterback Shane Carden was 36-of-48 passing for 397 yards, three touchdowns and a pair of interceptions in his last game Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
Holman was steller, too. UCF’s signal caller completed 67 percent of his passes for 274 yards and one unforgettable touchdown toss.
With the win, UCF will share this year’s American Atheltic Conference championship with the Memphis Tigers. It doesn’t matter how it happened; the Knights can celebrate after their second-straight conference title:
The UCF Knights remained in the race to win an American Athletic Conference crown with a 31-7 victory over Tulsa Friday.
UCF is now 4-1 in conference play and tied with the Memphis Tigers and Cincinnati Bearcats. This is especially important since all three teams are jockeying to become the representative from the “Group of Five” conferences not included in the College Football Playoff discussion to earn a berth in a New Year’s bowl game.
Tie-breakers will likely decide which team will win the conference since UCF doesn’t play either Memphis or Cincinnati this season.
Friday’s contest became a statement game for quarterback Justin Holman. The sophomore signal-caller has been maddeningly inconsistent this season as evidenced by a four-interception performance in a loss to the Connecticut Huskies last week. UCF head coach George O’Leary challenged him this week to step up his play, and the quarterback did so in impressive fashion.
Even with dealing with a shoulder injury that sent him to the locker room for a short time, Holman set a career-high with three passing touchdowns. The quarterback finished the contest 16-of-27 passing for 291 yards.
Senior Josh Reese was Holman’s top target. The experienced wide receiver caught four passes for 104 yards. Meanwhile, sophomore running back Dontravious Wilson averaged 5.1 yards per carry for 87 yards as the team’s top rusher.
It was also an important victory for O’Leary.
Among rumors of retirement this season, O’Leary continues to put a successful program on the field. One that has a chance to win a second consecutive American Athletic Conference title.