Students deserve some credit for UCF's win
UCF students, pat yourselves on the back.
While the Knights may have defeated the BYU Cougars in overtime last Thursday, the students played a crucial role. There is no statistic to track the impact of crowd noise; the only stat that matters is 3-2 — UCF's record.
The Knights lost the coin toss, thus had the decision of what side of the field overtime would be played on. UCF head coach George O'Leary didn't hesitate — he was taking it to the students.
"I thought the crowd was outstanding tonight," O'Leary said after the game. "There is a reason we were down in the student end. You have a choice. They won the toss, so we got to pick the end. We pointed to the student end right away. There is a noise factor down there that helps. I thought it was just a great football night."
UCF's home-field advantage may not have scored the team a touchdown, nor did it gain any yards. But it helped seal the deal and secure a win.
After UCF scored on its overtime possession, the students erupted. The noise continued all through BYU's ensuing drive, and created a near-impossible atmosphere for Christian Stewart to operate the Cougars' offense.
Offensive football is hard. It takes 11 players being in sync, and a quarterback to be able to communicate with linemen, receivers and backs. Communication in a hostile, noisy environment is that much harder.
Not only did the students execute a blackout, but they also deserve credit in securing what O'Leary called a "season-defining win."
Last season, against Houston, UCF did the same thing. Defending the end zone in front of the student section, the UCF defense clamped down on Houston with the aid of the deafening noise of the students.
As I wrote last week, even though Bright House Networks Stadium may not be the size of the mammoth stadiums in the Big 10 or SEC, it can be just as intimidating.
"I could barely hear my own teammates and I know there are people that need to communicate on the other side of the ball," defensive end Thomas Niles said. "Their [communication] is a lot more crucial than ours is, so I'm grateful for that."
Keep up the good work, Knights fans. The coaches and players are noticing your support.