Don't talk about moral victories;
Published: Sunday, September 16, 2007
Updated: Sunday, February 15, 2009 17:02
The Knights should be 2-0.
Texas came in to Orlando to open Bright House Networks Stadium on Saturday, and UCF let a win slip away.
That is never a good sign, despite what other people might say.
The Longhorns rarely looked like the No. 6 team in the nation.
They led 20-10 at the half, but allowed UCF to score a touchdown early in the third quarter and then another at the start of the fourth, and suddenly they were down to the Knights 24-23 with 13 minutes to play.
Yet, UCF couldn't hold the lead and lost 35-32.
I have heard about how this was a win because UCF was able to hang with one of the big boys or something.
That isn't the case here.
I'll admit it. The atmosphere, the stadium, the fans: all of that was amazing. The crowd was so loud and active that the ESPN broadcast was shaking as the game started.
Being on the field as the game ended and seeing UCF Director of Athletics Keith Tribble walk toward the student section with his arms raised was chilling. It was one of the more picturesque moments I can remember.
But the team still lost. There is no win for them here.
There wasn't a moral victory or some sort of lesson to be learned. Only more questions were created.
What is the team supposed to learn?
Turnovers hurt, converting on third down is important; I'm pretty sure all players know this. They don't need a close loss to Texas to jog their memory.
Does this almost-win help quarterback Kyle Israel improve on his 44 percent completion percentage on the season? It is a small sample size, but where is the 65-percent machine from last year? Either this year is an aberration or last year was. We need to find out which Kyle is for real.
Kevin Smith continues to be amazing, but the key word is continues. Smith gashing through the Texas defense for 149 yards and two touchdowns is not surprising.
A cohesive offensive line seemed as though it could open holes for Smith anytime it pleased.
A defense that relied on youth swarmed to the ball almost all night, forcing quarterback Colt McCoy from the pocket on multiple occasions.
But, these aren't lessons, these are points that the Knights already know.
UCF had a chance to grab the biggest win in its history and let it get away.
After the game, Texas head coach Mack Brown said that the Longhorns couldn't put the Knights away.
He's right. With four turnovers leading to 14 Texas points, the Knights did a good enough job of that themselves.
And although they aren't 2-0, the Knights can look forward to another event against Texas: beating the Longhorns in Austin over the next two seasons.