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How it Happened, Knights Strangled Tigers with Impressive Defensive Effort

With six sacks and three interceptions, the Knights’ defense made things miserable for the Tigers all night.

ORLANDO - Going into this game, Memphis had scored ten or more points in their last 94 games, the second longest active streak in the FBS. The Knights were able to hold them to just seven points and truly frustrated the Tigers all game long.

“We played extremely well on defense,” said UCF Head Coach Gus Malzahn postgame. “It’s the best defensive game we’ve played, really by a long shot.”

The Knights’ six sacks was the most they’d recorded in a game since the Peach Bowl against Auburn in 2017.

The front seven was all over Memphis quarterback Peter Parrish from the outset of the contest. Although the Knights recorded six sacks, they could have very easily had a few more, and for that, Parrish deserves credit.

Parrish is a very athletic quarterback and he was running for his life on what seemed like every other play. He ran the ball a total of 22 times, and very few of these were by design. Parrish was able to escape the Knights’ pressure and extend plays, scrambling and picking up first downs.

However, when Parrish was not able to scramble, the Knights’ front forced him to make ill-advised throws, which led to the three interceptions.

Defensive back Davonte Brown was one of the Knights on the receiving end of one of Parrish’s passes, and he praised the Knights’ front for helping him get his first career interception.

“The defensive line getting after the quarterback helped me be able to make that play,” Brown said at the postgame press conference.

Davonte Brown, Cornerback, UCF

UCF cornerback Davonte Brown played the best game of his career versus Memphis

The defensive performance was exactly what UCF needed, as quarterback Mikey Keene and the passing attack struggled mightily once again.

Keene threw for just 63 yards in the game, an average of 3.3 yards for each of his 19 passing attempts.

UCF had ample opportunities to put more points on the board. They had 14 possessions in the game and punted on half of them. Throw in a missed field goal and an interception by Keene, and the Knights settled for 24 points. With the effort of the defense, the offensive output was overcome.

Defensive end Big Kat Bryant, who had his first multi-sack game of his career, talked postgame about how this win will propel the Knights going forward.

“It’s just a good confidence booster,” Bryant said. “It just gets us started on the second half of this season. That’s the only thing we’re worried about, one game at a time.”

The Knights defense will look to repeat this performance against the Temple Owls next Saturday at noon.

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