The offensive line never got its act together after Mikel Overgaard left the game. Russell Wilson was rusty and heavily pressured throughout the game, a combination that made for a horribly inefficient performance. Aside from his 4-4 effort on a first-half touchdown drive, he couldn't find any consistency. State was limited to 65 yards in the second half and no points.
The positives begin and end with the ground game. The offensive line opened up some nice holes for Mustafa Greene and Dean Haynes, who combined to carry the ball 24 times for 104 yards and two scores. As a team, the Pack rushed for 146 yards on 37 carries, almost four yards per rush.
Grade: F. It's a minor miracle we were able to pull this game out despite that ugly 3.4 yards/play number.
UCF offensive production, first 40 minutes: 35 plays, 112 yards, 3.2 yds/play, 0 points.
UC offensive production, last 20 minutes: 29 plays, 172 yards, 5.9 yds/play 14 points.
Audie Cole was totally double rainbow. Full on. (What does this mean?!?!) Bong Clubbers Markus Kuhn and J.R. Sweezy had their moments as well. (If I recall correctly, a pass Sweezy tipped resulted in one of our INTs.) The defense's more blitz-heavy bent gave Rob Calabrese quite a bit of trouble, and they did a fine job containing UCF's running backs as well. The five turnovers they forced, one for a score, one to seal the game, were enormous.
But they couldn't figure out how to handle Jeff Godfrey. A couple of Nate-still-not-Nate plays in the fourth quarter proved costly. On the first occasion he came free from the blind side, ran full speed at Godfrey, whiffed, and lost contain. The next time (very next play, I think), he came free again and proved he learned his lesson by coming in more cautiously. But he left his feet on a pump fake and once again lost contain. Godfrey scrambled for positive yards both times.
Godfrey was excellent through the air, too: 7-10, 106 yards.
Grade: A-. I'm not going to ding them too much for that 4th quarter performance. They did manage to save their own bacon, after all, not to mention score our only second-half points. Allowing just 14 points on the road? That counts as a big win for this group.
Josh Czajkowski managed two touchbacks, which is two more than he managed last season. The second one was a minor miracle, one of those occasions where the ball is making a beeline for the sideline and suddenly makes a sharp turn into the end zone. Hey, we'll take whatever we can get. Those were the first two kickoffs of the game. From there, to varying degrees, it was a disaster.
We were offside on the next kickoff. Quincy McDuffie took the fourth kickoff 93 yards for a score, a criminal failure by any standard but especially so considering how well State's defense had played up to that point. We make that play and we go into the half up 21-0.
On the fifth kickoff, we were offside again; UCF started at their own 45.
Jeff Ruiz averaged 33.7 yards per punt and put on his shankin' shoes at the worst possible time:
N 4-3 N35 Ruiz, J. punt 14 yards to the NCS49, out-of-bounds.
That came with less than three minutes to go and forced a reeling defense to defend a short field. SWEET MERCIFUL CRAP HOW ABOUT A LITTLE HELP NEXT TIME, DUDE.
Grade: You think Kathy Ireland has any eligibility left? I can't imagine she's busy.