- Associated Press - Saturday, October 25, 2014

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - UCF coach George O’Leary didn’t hold back his disappointment after a lackluster win over Tulane last week when he called out his team’s effort on offense, which he said showed a lack of consistency, execution and emotion.

His admonishments included a promise that their lives would be changing in practice. The Knights responded with one of their most complete offensive efforts of the season.

Justin Holman passed for two touchdowns and William Stanback rushed for two more as UCF defeated Temple 34-14 on Saturday.

The Knights never trailed and scored on their first three offensive possessions to build a 17-0 lead. The Owls got within 10 points late in the first half, but were held scoreless the final 30 minutes of the game.

“I thought our offense and defense probably put together their best game this year as far as a team,” O’Leary said. “We’ve got to continue getting better. …. I thought being in pads this week, that our offense showed they understood what football was about as far as the contact end of it. I thought they took the challenge and took it to the game.”

It was the 11th straight American Athletic Conference win for the Knights. UCF (5-2, 3-0) is one of only two remaining unbeaten AAC teams, along with East Carolina.

Temple (4-3, 2-2) started P.J. Walker at quarterback, but coach Matt Rhule switched to Connor Reilly briefly in the third quarter. It proved to be ineffective, though, as the Owls managed just 182 yards of offense for the game.

The Owls also turned the ball over four times.

“P.J. wasn’t playing the way he’s capable of playing. I wanted to see if we could get something jump started, maybe Connor give us a spark,” Rhule said. “But there was no real running game to help (the quarterbacks). We were just in over our heads on the offensive line. We had a hard time blocking their fronts.”

UCF came into the game having scored just 16 first-quarter points in its first six games of 2014.

But an inspired Knights’ offense had 17 points by the end of the first 15 minutes on Saturday, and ran its lead to 27-14 at halftime against the American’s top scoring defense. The Owls defense entered the day allowing opponents only 17.2 points per game.

UCF was also more balanced offensively than it’s been in several games, using its rushing attack to open passing lanes for Holman, who spread around 25 completions to seven different receivers. The Knights’ 466 yards of total offense was their most since posting 556 yards in their Fiesta Bowl win over Baylor last season. Holman’s 336 yards passing was also a season-high.

After relying almost exclusively on the run during an 11-play, 58-yard drive to take a 17-0 lead, the Knights responded to Temple’s first score with a 54-yard touchdown pass from Holman to Breshad Perriman that stretched their lead back to 24-7.

Temple’s special teams gave the Owls a little life and got it back to a two-score game a series later when Samuel Benjamin came off the edge to block Caleb Houston’s punt. Benjamin scooped it up and ran it in for the touchdown.

On the ensuing series, Houston had a second consecutive punt blocked - this time by Temple’s Michael Felton. But the Owls couldn’t capitalize, quickly going three-and-out.

“The offense came out with a really high tempo and I don’t think their defense was ready for it,” UCF receiver J.J. Worton said. “We did a lot of good things. We spread the ball around to all the receivers; we had a good running game going. When that happens, you can do anything with the offense because they don’t know whether you’re going to hit them with the run or the pass.”

___

Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/khightower

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide