UCF football: Defense shines in first half against Houston

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The defense for UCF football is down at the bottom of the league, nearly dead last in FBS, allowing 33 points and 482 yards per game. The Knights’ defense played well in the first half, allowing 185 yards. Houston scored on a 34-yard scoop and score fumble return by linebacker Grant Stuard off a Dillon Gabriel fumble.

Offensively, the Cougars scored their first offensive points midway through the third quarter with a Kyle Porter touchdown to cut the lead to 23-13. The Cougars came up short on a two-point conversion following that play.

UCF had 358 yards in the first half, and Gabriel became the eighth quarterback in school history to throw for 6,000 career passing yards, yet he is only in his sophomore season.

Gabriel torched Houston in the first half with 255 yards. The concerns were the struggles he had in the third quarter. Midway through the second half, he threw seven consecutive incomplete passes. The offensive line was not getting the leverage and push it needed, which is why Gabriel spent much of the game under pressure and was sacked six times.

UCF is still ranked No. 1 in the nation on offense yet allowed six sacks to a Houston football team that has been struggling on the defensive front.

UCF was outstanding on the ground attack as it rushed for a season-high 353 yards led by Otis Anderson, who finished with a season-high 170 yards and a touchdown. Bentavious Thompson and Greg McCrae both added rushing touchdowns.

UCF tallied 681 yards of offense, the fifth time the Knights have crossed the 600-yard threshold this season. UCF improved to 4-2 overall and 3-2 in AAC play. UCF football will use this bye week and get ready to play Temple on Nov. 14.

Meanwhile, Houston’s struggles with the pandemic may have played a factor in the Cougars not finding their groove yet. They now drop to 2-2 on the year and will have their chance to knock off the No. 7 ranked Cincinnati next Saturday.

Photo courtesy of UCFKnights.com

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