It was an ugly effort offensively and not what one would call a satisfying win, but it was refreshing in a lot of ways. We've so rarely won--uh, stolen--games like this in the last 5-6 years because we've so rarely had this sort of edge in turnovers.
The defense was outstanding up until Jeff Godfrey's entrance: Rob Calabrese managed only about six yards per attempt and threw a pair of costly interceptions, while Jonathan Davis ran for just 32 yards on 16 carries.
I'm not surprised at the trouble Godfrey caused--the 4th quarter accounted for more than half of UCF's total yards--I'm just glad I can sit here today and write about how ultimately it didn't matter. Far be it from the Pack to play 60 whole minutes of successful yet unfamiliar football. Always gotta make it interesting. We appeared doomed to overtime and an agonizing road loss before Brandon Bishop saved the game with a helmet-on-ball fumble-causing hit at our 11 yard line.
Fitting because the defense made big plays like that all afternoon. The play that sticks out a day later: Audie Cole's recovery and interception on a UCF trick play. We didn't see phenomenal individual efforts like that last season. As it was unfolding I just assumed we were getting burned. They aren't going to continue forcing five turnovers a game (though if they want to, that's totally cool with me), but I'm encouraged by how active and aggressive they looked yesterday. I'm not sure if that's the Tenuta factor or merely a sign that some of the younger guys are starting to get it. Either way, I feel better about the defense than I have in a while.
-- The offensive line really went to hell after Overgaard's injury, and if there's one concern harshing the vibe, it's this one. The coaches tried at least three different guys at right tackle after Overgaard left the game; I noticed at one point that they'd moved Jake Vermiglio to RT and insterted Rob Crisp at LT. That situation got ugly, to say the least.
-- State's offense hadn't been held under 250 total yards since last year's opener. It's only the fourth time they've been held under 4 yards/play in the TOB era.
-- Baseball ruined Russell Wilson! (Not really.) That rust TOB's been talking about certainly was a lot more evident against a I-A defense. The offensive line deserves some blame here, but there were plenty of occasions where Wilson had the time he needed to do his thing and failed to execute. I don't know that he's ever missed a wide open receiver the way he missed Owen Spencer in the first quarter. (Man, we've been spoiled.)