What would have been the perfect ending to homecoming week, UCF failed to pull out a win against Temple. After leading the game for more than 59 minutes, UCF lost 26 – 25 during the final drive of the game when Temple out worked defense and scored the game winning touchdown. I literally almost cried. They were so close!
The game against Houston was also heart crushing. With UCF dominating in the first half, it was looking as though the Knights would upset Houston. This was the same Houston that had been making noise until their two losses to Navy and SMU. However, momentum shifted toward Houston the in second half as the Cougars scored 28 unanswered points to win the game at 31-24.
Michigan was an inevitable loss to UCF. But the Knights had every opportunity to win against Maryland, Temple, and Houston. Many UCF fans have been expecting a dazzling offense with newly acquired head coach, Scott Frost. Yet the defense has continued to take center stage in nearly every game.
This week against Tulane, defense secured a much needed win to keep UCF within bowl game eligibility. “Our defense and defensive coaching staff deserve a lot of credit for what they’ve done this year,” said Coach Frost. I would definitely say so! UCF proved why they are ranked No. 31 in defense among Football Bowl Subdivision teams.
In the second half of the game, it was senior defensive backs Drico Johnson and Shaquill Griffin who stole the show. The touchdown parade all started in the third quarter with Johnson snatching a fumble and returning it for a 30-yard touchdown. That started the “chain reaction” as Griffin called it, when he got a pick six. Defense was not finished there. In the fourth quarter, Johnson scored the second pick six of the game for 86-yards. Johnson can add to his resume, that his pick six was the fourth longest interception return in school history.
The history making records don’t end there. The last time UCF’s defense scored several touchdowns in a game was October 6, 2010 against UAB. Josh Robinson, a defensive back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Troy Davis were the Knights to score touchdowns in that historical game. Much like Jameis Winston and his ‘Noles, I guess Robinson’s attendance at UCF against Tulane Saturday, helped the Knights.
UCF is now 5 – 4 overall and 3 – 2 in the American Athletic Conference. Drico Johnson says “I feel like we’re way closer than we were last year.” The are definitely closer! The team is so much further than 0 – 12 and only one game away from a bowl game, but Frost would like his team to “win out.”
UCF should look to win against Cincinnati, who is 4 – 5. However, the Knights will stand the test against Tulsa and USF who are both 7 – 2. UCF’s Shaquill Griffin hopes to continue to “give the fans something to look forward to.” He says, “We’re not stopping from here.”
I’m proud of my team and am ready to continue to relish in the growth. Feels great to be a winning Knight.