ORLANDO - The Knights held a 35-7 lead over Bethune-Cookman at halftime, and the second half was more about getting young players a chance to play.
**Will UCF come out hot like they did in the first half, or simply go through the motions?
**First play was a short pass to Ryan O’Keefe, and it appears the Knights are still going to push to score.
**Love the energy from the UCF front seven to start the second half. All the players are chasing down the ball carrier.
**Bethune-Cookman uarterback Shannon Patrick’s great pass to Daveno Ellington for a 34 yard touchdown is an example of how one player being out of position can change a drive in a moment. Not sure if there was supposed to be help over the top of the defense or not, but Bryson Armstrong was trailing the play and simply could not reach Ellington before he dove into the end zone. 42-14 is the score as the Knights lead with 9:17 to go in the third quarter.
**How long does UCF starting quarterback Dillon Gabriel stay in the game?
**Curious if UCF Head Coach Gus Malzahn will be placing any other signal callers in the game.
**Speaking of new players, the first carry for Auburn transfer running back Mark Antony-Richards just took place. Antony-Richards runs hard and with a good forward lean. He’s a really good fit for UCF’s offensive structure.
**Also in for the Knights, running back Trillion Coles. He’s a former walk-on so it’s a feel-good story. His second play resulted in a swing pass going for a touchdown from 15 yards out.
**Even with the 56-14 lead for the Knights, there’s no quit in the Bethune-Cookman team. They are still competing.
**UCF may not be sacking Patrick, but he’s running around and buying time. There’s been an emphasis by the Bethune-Cookman offensive staff to throw quick-timing passes as well. UCF needs to do better to get to the quarterback, but tonight has been difficult with the way the Wildcats are calling plays.
**The Knights get the football into the end zone yet again. The score is now 63-14 with 10:26 to go in the fourth quarter. This time it's a rushing touchdown for Trillion Coles. It was a four yard touchdown run.
**The Knights get the football into the end zone yet again. The score is now 63-14 with 10:26 to go in the fourth quarter. This time it's a rushing touchdown for Trillion Coles.
**Final Score - UCF 63 Bethune-Cookman 14
Overall Thoughts - Offense
Despite rotating quarterbacks for much of the second half, the Knights absolutely moved the football and looked comfortable doing it. It’s great to see Keene and Gatewood play good football. The quarterback position is in good shape moving forward.
The quickness of Coles is also impressive. He’s a guy that could help the Knights in the running game, but also the passing game. Meanwhile, Antony-Richards is a downhill runner that will play a similar style to Isaiah Bowser. He’s a bruiser between the tackles.
UCF’s depth at wide receiver is legitimately impressive. So much speed and quickness, and few people -- even the members of the media -- knew how deep the Knights were until this evening.
Overall Thoughts - Defense
Holding the Wildcats to 279 total yards, and just 24 rushing yards for the game is impressive. The second half was a big part of that. UCF kept attacking the line of scrimmage. There are issues to clean up, but a good defensive effort.
The Knights still need to clean up man coverage in the back end of the defense; it’s improved however. The pass rush was not overly dominant due to Bethune-Cookman’s style of passing, but they did hit Patrick several times.
The biggest positive might be just how hard the defense played. Even when the game was well in hand, the defense absolutely played hard. That’s a good sign for the future.