Just another Saturday at the University of Complete Futility, folks. More injuries, more bad mistakes, more baffling choices. A week after an utter collapse against Tulane -- which I thought was the rock bottom for UCF -- the Knights grabbed a shovel and started digging.
The Knights finally got Junior quarterback Justin Holman back, but the QB play remained poor. The Knights also got Dontravious Wilson back, finally. Or sort of, at least. The nominal first string running back played a bit on special teams a bit and had a couple receptions very late in the game.
Holman started with a dink-and-dunk (but fairly promising) drive, which saw nine straight passes from the Knights to reach the UConn four yard line. Redshirt Freshman RB C.J. Jones got the Knights to the one on the next play, but the Knights failed to punch in the touchdown, settling for a field goal.
And that was the best non-garbage time drive for the Knights. Holman played badly (but without much help from his young wide receivers, who dropped a bunch of passes). Holman finished 27/50 for 255 yards, a touchdown pass to Nick Patti, and three interceptions. The first two picks were very bad: each of UConn's drives following the picks resulted in a touchdown. And they came near the end of the half, as though just to ensure Knights fans harbored no hope of a rally -- this Knights team is not capable of overcoming what was then a 23-3 deficit at the half. Holman's third pick came on one of the Knights' better drives, albeit in garbage time down 40-3.
There were many moments of utter futility for the Knights throughout the game. Surrendering third down conversions to the Huskies on 20+ yard passes on UConn's first drive. Any of Holman's picks. All of the UCF defenders bouncing off of UConn running back Arkeel Newsome on his third quarter touchdown runs. Also the punt fumbled by Chris Johnson in the third quarter (you may remember him from last week, when he fumbled directly into the arms of one of the two Tulane defensive backs who caught him after a 62 yard pass). In fact, let's count the entire third quarter, in which UConn outscored UCF 17-0, as futile.
It turns out that it's easy to identify the sad moment that best encapsulates UCF's nightmare today. And it happened early. With the score 7-3 in the first quarter, UConn kicked off . . . and Hayden Jones caught it, stepped out of the end zone, stepped back in, and knelt to give UConn the safety.
Of course that's what happened.
The Knights also continued to suffer injuries. C.J. Jones had some promising runs, but found himself dinged up and limping off the field. Far worse, CB Jeremy Boykins left the game wearing a neck brace and in an ambulance. Always a scary situation, and our thoughts are with him.
This was an unmitigated disaster for the Knights, who have no reason to believe things will get better this season. Congratulations to the Huskies, and especially to Bob Diaco. Dang, that guy knows when to declare a rivalry. UConn now owns a 2-1 record over the Knights. And who knows - we may even have a competitive game in the "Civil Conflict," or "The ConFLiCT," or whatever it is. But it sure wasn't this year.
I can't write a recap for a game this bad without saying a big thank you to the UCF fans who stayed through the end of the game. You are earning your place in football Heaven for this.