Skip to main content

UCF Defense, Led by Bethune, Steps Up During 20-16 Victory Over East Carolina

After missing last week’s game, Tatum Bethune stepped up big-time for the UCF defense against East Carolina.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

ORLANDO - Last week’s 34-30 loss to Navy was tough, including UCF giving up 384 rushing yards. The Knights just could not get off the field, allowing the Midshipmen to possess the football for over 39 minutes.

A big reason for Navy’s success would be its rushing attack, aided by the absence of UCF starting linebacker Tatum Bethune due to a concussion. Bethune’s return was crucial for the Knights as he made his presence felt, accumulating a career-high 17 tackles.

“He’s one of our best players,” said UCF Head Football Coach Gus Malzahn. “We didn’t have him last week because of a concussion. It looked like a real run defense and I’m real proud of our linebackers.”

Coach Malzahn talked up his defense, and his offense, in the locker room after the game:

The Knights held the Pirates to their season low in points, and allowed just 141 rushing yards on the ground. East Carolina running back Keaton Mitchell came into Saturday’s game averaging 114 yards per game, but could only muster 65 yards from 17 carries.

At a crucial point in the game, Coach Malzahn showed immense trust in his defense.

The Knights trailed by six points with just over five minutes remaining in the game. Malzahn elected to kick the field goal instead of attempting to go for it on fourth down and take the lead.

That decision paid off in a big way, as the Knights defense forced a quick three-and-out which set up the game-winning touchdown drive.

Bethune’s performance was even bigger for the Knights after starting linebacker Eriq Gilyard announced he was entering the transfer portal this past Wednesday.

The Knights will need another impressive performance from Bethune and the rest of the defense if they want a chance to upset No. 5 Cincinnati next week on the road.

“We decided to go out there and play as a brotherhood,” said Bethune. “That’s what we did and that’s what we’re going to continue to do for the rest of the season.”

Recent Articles From Inside The Knights

Knights’ Final Drive Leads to 20-16 Victory Over Pirates

Halftime Thoughts and Statistics, East Carolina at UCF

Gameday Central: East Carolina at UCF

Midseason Recruiting Overview

The Daily Knight: UCF Football Recruiting Game Day Visits

Around the SEC: Picking SEC Games for Week Six

Scouting Quan Lee, Buchholz Versus Gainesville

The Daily Knight: UCF Recruiting, 2021 Compared to Future Classes

Recruiting Comparison Between East Carolina and UCF, How They Built Their Programs

A Special Teams "Disaster" for UCF Football

Knights Lead Throughout, but Fall to Navy 34-30

Gameday Central: UCF at Navy

Game Prediction: UCF at Navy

Scouting Prospects from Tampa Catholic and Tampa Berkeley Prep

Player Picks to Click: UCF at Navy

The Daily Knight: The Best Option Quarterbacks and Why the Triple-Option Attack Still Works

UCF Special Teams, Going Unnoticed Can be Good

Predicting the Cincinnati at Notre Dame Outcome, with Trends and Matchups to Watch

The Daily Knight: UCF Offensive Play Calling and Key Matchups

SEC Game Predictions: Arkansas at Georgia and Ole Miss at Alabama

The State of Florida Recruiting Report

Public Perception of UCF Football: Winning Matters Before the Knights Join the Big XII

The Daily Knight: UCF's Defense Must Improve by Finalizing Plays

A Closer Statistical Examination of Navy's Defense

The Navy Offense, A Statistical Perspective and History Lesson

The Daily Knight: Why UCF Should Dismantle Navy

Videos and Press Conference Notes From Coach Malzahn, O'Keefe, and Armstrong