Knights win against UAB
Published: Thursday, October 7, 2010
Updated: Thursday, October 7, 2010 15:10
The Knights overcame key mistakes and lingering team concerns in a 42–7 win over UAB, Wednesday night.
Cornerback Josh Robinson recovered from a muffed punt and a long pass interference penalty with a third-quarter 56-yard fumble return for a touchdown. Running back Ronnie Weaver made up for a fumble on the 1-yard line with two pound-it-in touchdowns from within five yards out.
Most importantly, Jeff Godfrey and Rob Calabrese adjusted to head coach George O'Leary's new two-quarterback system, combining for 171 passing yards and a touchdown. Godfrey also ran for 80 yards with a long of 35.
"The turnovers, you can't do that," O'Leary said, "but we rebounded. The second half we came out a little bit stale, but I think we rebounded … It was a good win, a good conference win."
The UCF (3-2) offensive attack was led by wide receiver Jamar Newsome. The redshirt senior pulled in three catches for 68 yards, including a 44-yard deep shot down the sideline from Godfrey. Brian Watters collected 35 yards through the air and notched his first touchdown of the season on a 4-yard strike from Calabrese.
Weaver, who has taken control of the UCF backfield in the absence of starting RB Brynn Harvey, ran for 50 yards and two touchdowns. Latavius Murray added a fourth-quarter 9-yard touchdown run.
The Knights' defense dominated the Blazers (1-4), forcing three turnovers and allowing no red-zone scores. Free safety Kemal Ishmael had his first interception of the season, picking off an Ellis pass in the first quarter to set up the Knights' first touchdown.
"[Ishmael] doesn't get the headlines some other guys get, but if I was drafting a team, he would be one of the first guys I take," O'Leary said.
Defensive end Troy Davis had an interception at the line of scrimmage off a tipped pass that he returned for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
The score was the Knights' second defensive touchdown of the game.
"Any time we score on defense, we're all really excited because it doesn't happen very often," said defensive end Bruce Miller. "The offense also gets excited and pumped up."
Strong safety Darin Baldwin made his first start of the season at the position and racked up a team-high eight tackles.
"Coming back from an injury, the guys have been patting me on the back telling me to help the team," Baldwin said. "The past two years, it's always been a tough fight with [UAB] … we were told to just kill them, don't allow any breathing room."
The Blazers also ran the two-QB system, employing Bryan Ellis as the primary passer and David Isabelle as the primary runner. Isabelle was kept in check by a staunch Knights defensive line, who allowed the sophomore QB 62 yards rushing, half of which came in fourth quarter. The Blazers accumulated only 115 yards rushing.
The game, nationally televised on ESPN, was preceded by the unveiling of UCF's new Nike basketball jerseys and a ceremonial "Knight Walk" through IOA plaza that featured the football team.