ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Two heartbreaking losses in a row. The Knights led for all but just over three minutes of the game at Navy today, but in the end, the Midshipmen won with an improbable fourth quarter comeback.
Here are some of the key points to today’s game. It was one full of momentum changes, but a couple of key points to start off the overall game notes.
First, Navy’s outside rushing attack was the difference. It’s something that UCF’s defense must fix. That’s two consecutive games that the edges of the defense were gashed consistently. Same types of plays by the Navy triple-option attack worked over and over again. Fake the dive, quarterback runs along the line of scrimmage, then pitches to the running back or wing back.
The Midshipmen were ripping off gains of seven or more yards on many of those runs. They acted like body blows that UCF’s defense did not know how to stop. It was painful to watch in the late third quarter and all the way through the fourth quarter.
Second, Mikey Keene is an extremely calm signal caller. He’s a true freshman mind you. So keep that in mind. Here are Keene’s final statistics for the afternoon, with his lone turnover coming on a fourth and fifteen toss with less than a minute remaining and the Knights needing a touchdown to win.
16 for 26, 176 yards, two passing touchdowns and the aforementioned interception. As a runner, Keene added one carry for three yards.
As for the real issue in the game, that would be miscues. As any college football fan likely knows, a team cannot turn the football over, nor can it allow a blocked punt that result in a touchdown. The Knights ended up with two turnovers and the blocked punt that resulted in a Navy score just before halftime.
The first two turnovers directly led to the Midshipmen cashing in with touchdowns. After trailing 30-17, there were other issues, but two fourth quarter turnovers were huge.
Unfortunately, the offensive star also fumbled. Four catches for 79 yards and two touchdowns for Brandon Johnson, but he fumbled near the 50 yard line in the fourth quarter. Navy would drive down and score, marking the final score of 34-30 despite Keene and the offense having that one last chance. As for the defense, it was a tired bunch by the conclusion of the game.
Navy did not start out well, but as the game moved forward the Midshipmen continually beat on the Knights. There was the adjustment to the outside running game as well, and UCF failed to adjust to it in return. The UCF defense needs to regroup after a hard fought but inefficient effort.
The Knights allowed Navy to rush for 348 yards and three touchdowns. Coming into the contest in which the Midshipmen had played three games, Navy only averaged 191.7 yards rushing and earned just three rushing touchdowns.
Look for a detailed look at Mikey Keene in the morning, as well as offensive and defensive overview articles later on Sunday.
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