After winning your last nine-straight games, the bitter flavor of losing becomes a harder taste to recognize. So in light of the Knights' last-minute loss to Penn State, how tough has it been for them to digest?
"They're working," head coach George O'Leary said. "Kids are resilient. Coaches aren't."
The head coach answered quickly and confidently when asked how his team was accepting the loss after its 2013 success.
The Knights have collectively embraced an attitude of resilience moving forward into their second game of the season. There's nothing that can be done about what's in the books. However, senior defensive back Brandon Alexander said that with veterans on both sides of the ball, this team knows how to move forward.
"We're a veteran group on the defensive and the offensive side, so we know exactly how to handle those things. You're going to feel that pain until you get to the next game, but you have to have short-term memory," Alexander said. "That's out of our system. Penn State is over."
The fight it takes to bounce back isn't new to the 20 seniors on the roster. Over the last four seasons, UCF has dropped a total of 13 games. With that experience, spreading the importance of having a short-term memory was key in moving on. Despite the team's last loss just shy of a year ago, offensive coordinator Charlie Taaffe said this group has already buried the hatchet and is looking ahead.
"When you have adversity it can go one of two ways. You can let it eat you up, or you can recover from it. These kids don't live it after it happens," Taaffe said. "You can't let one setback or disappointment turn into two because you don't let one go. They're pretty resilient. They know that."
UCF will face a 2-0 Missouri team on Saturday. The Tigers beat each of their first two opponents by at least 20 points, but Taaffe is confident that the Knights will be ready to respond.
"You've got one game at a time and you've got to bounce back. That's what we'll do," he said.