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Tracking UCF's Offense Through the First Half

A look back at the first half performance of the UCF offense, which provided some fireworks.

ORLANDO - UCF needed to get its offense going in the first half, and that’s exactly what happened. The first quarter started very well for the Knights, marching down the field and scoring on the game’s opening drive.

That drive was much needed for UCF to gain momentum, as well as show the Knights’ ability to move the football early in a game after last week’s poor first quarter performance against Cincinnti.

Knights March 68 Yards for Game’s First Touchdown

The first drive of the game saw the UCF offense play excellent football. The Knights ran the football six times and passed three times during the drive.

The 68-yard drive ended with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Mikey Keene to Brandon Johnson. The completion was a beautiful over-the-shoulder fade pattern that Johnson was able to get a foot down in the endzone for the score.

During the first drive, Keene completed all three of his passes for 22 yards. The rushing attack contributed 46 yards, led by Isaiah Bowser’s four carries for 26 yards. The best run for Bowser was a 16-yard jaunt around right end that placed the Knights in the red zone.

First Quarter UCF Offensive Statistics

Rushing Yards - 64

Passing Yards - 36

Statistical Leaders - Bowser with seven carries for 44 yards rushing, and Johnson with two receptions for 19 yards and the one touchdown catch.

Passing Note - The Knights did not attempt a pass of 15 yards or more, and still scored two touchdowns from three drives.

Important Special Teams' Statistic - UCF recovered a muffed punt from Memphis wide receiver and punt returner Calvin Austin III. That led to the momentum-building second touchdown drive for the Knights.

Ironically, Austin is one of the nation’s best players through the first seven games for Memphis, but his critical error led to quarterback Joey Gatewood leading a three-play drive that covered just 27 yards.

Special Mention - Center Matthew Lee played tremendous within the running game. He consistently moved his assigned defensive player off the line of scrimmage, opening big running lanes for Bowser.

Second Quarter Saw the UCF Offense Stall

First possession of the second quarter, four plays for 13 yards and then a punt. The second series started off poorly with Keene throwing a great corner route pass to Ryan O’Keefe, but he simply dropped it. The drive went three-and-out and two yards.

The third drive was a repeat of the second drive, three plays for two yards. The third down play by Keene was very poor. He missed a wide-open Brandon Johnson going across the middle. Keene heard about it from UCF Head Coach Gus Malzahn coming off the field.

For the first three drives of the second quarter, UCF only managed 10 plays for 17 yards. From those 17 yards, there was negative-one yards passing and 18-yards rushing.

The fourth drive saw the Knights start on the Memphis 39 after a turnover on downs. UCF moved into field goal range, but a miss by Daniel Obarski was no good from 42 yards.

For UCF insights, college football news, and recruiting information go to: The Daily Knight podcast. It will be found on iTunes and Spotify. For more UCF and recruiting information, go to Twitter: @fbscout_florida and @UCF_FanNation, as well as my YouTube Channel and Instagram page. Like and Subscribe!

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