UCF shatters Charleston Southern 62-0
Jeff Godfrey rushes for 3 touchdowns in victory
Published: Saturday, September 3, 2011
Updated: Monday, September 5, 2011 19:09
The 2011 Knights introduced themselves to the world Saturday.
What might appear hard, though, is to decipher what was really learned about this year's team.
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The opponent was a Football Championship Subdivision school, and a bad one, at that. Charleston Southern (0-1) was a lackluster 3-8 last season. Therefore, as impressive as the Knights (1-0) looked Saturday night, breaking school records, seemingly scoring at will, recording a shut-out to start the season; it all has to be taken with a grain of salt.
But if nothing else can be taken away from the 62-0 destruction of the Charleston Southern Buccaneers to open the season, this can be: this UCF football team is fast.
The Knights recorded a school-record eight rushing touchdowns Saturday night, three of which came from quarterback Jeff Godfrey, tying a school record for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback.
Suffice to say, UCF showcased a very speedy and dominant ground attack.
The offense combined for 316 rushing yards, led by running back Ronnie Weaver's 107 yards. Weaver set the tone for the night on the first play from scrimmage with a 44-yard rush.
Weaver, though, only represents one-third of the Knights' triple-threat running back rotation. Head coach George O'Leary utilized the opportunity Saturday night to rotate his backs every series, allowing Brynn Harvey and Latavius Murray to get plenty of snaps as well.
The constant supply of fresh legs provided by the depth at running back is something that should translate well into future contests.
"That just shows that three of us back there and Jeff...we can do some great things," Murray said.
The speed and explosiveness wasn't just limited to UCF's ball carriers, though. The offensive line used its superior size, speed and athleticism to dominate the line of scrimmage, creating some sizable holes for the backs to run through.
"The offensive line did a great job opening up the holes on the left side," Weaver said. "I just tried to hit [the holes] as quickly as possible."
Despite what appeared to be a very smooth and efficient night for the Knights' backfield, O'Leary said afterward there is still plenty of room for improvement.
"I expected more from them; I wasn't real pleased with the running backs," O'Leary said. "I thought they ran high...you got to run with your pads down every time."
There just wasn't much Charleston Southern could do with the ball.
The Buccaneers amassed only 119 total yards of offense and six first downs Saturday night. Their running game, particularly, was glaringly futile, netting only 49 yards for the game on 33 attempts.
The speed of the Knights' defense was showcased as no matter what Charleston Southern tried, UCF was able to swarm to the ball and keep the gains to an extreme minimum.
Former Knights running back-turned-linebacker Jonathan Davis was representative of that speed. In his debut at his new position, Davis got the start and immediately made some plays.
"I think he showed his speed at that position," O'Leary said. "He made a couple plays in the backfield, tackles for losses, which you're looking to get done from that position."
For the night, Davis had four tackles, one of which was a sack, and a hurry-up.
Josh Robinson returned an interception for a touchdown for the second time in his career in the third quarter. The interception, Robinson's ninth in his career, moves him into a tie for fifth on UCF's all-time list.
The impressive defensive play may have taken some of the attention away from Robinson's struggles on punt returns. The speedy junior had trouble reeling in the kicks; he fumbled twice and created some concerns going forward in that area.
Despite some sloppy play at times, the Knights executed extremely well Saturday night, and, perhaps more importantly, seemed to stay extremely focused.
UCF never really took its foot off the gas against Charleston Southern. The Knights took advantage of the lopsided score and got plenty of personnel in the contest, something O'Leary sees great value in when possible.
"I think it's great for the locker room morale," O'Leary said. "You don't know how many more games you're going to be able to get them in."
The Knights won't be beating many more teams by quite that big of a margin, if any at all. However, with the speed demonstrated on both sides of the ball and the depth of threats on offense, UCF clearly is ready, going forward, for some tougher opponents.