Insider: UCF Loses Heartbreaker at So. Miss

You can say alot of things about the 2011 UCF Season and there a lot you can you say about Knights performance Saturday night against Southern Miss.  The one thing you cannot say is UCF did not go to win the game.  After a Blake Bortles to J.J. Worton Touchdown pass on a 25 yard touchdown pass with no time left on the clock.  UCF Head Coach George O’Leary told his team were going for two.  Unfortunately for the Knights like all season on the road, UCF came up short

“We made the decision two minutes before that if we scored that we were going for two points to win this game,” O’Leary said.  “We came to win the game and that gave us the best opportunity to win.  But we came up short.”

Bortles led a great final drive going  seven-for-seven passing on the drive before tossing his first pass out of bounds, moving the ball to the 26-yard line with 29 seconds remaining.Bortles pass to redshirt freshman J.J. Worton on third down came up short of a first down.  UCF was called for a false start, a penalty that moved UCF back to the 25-yard line took the clock down to two seconds.  Bortles hit Worton for a 25-yard touchdown pass with no time left on the clock.  O’Leary opted to go for two and Bortles’ missed his tight end Adam Nissley open in back of the end zone as Bortles  pass fell short, giving the Golden Eagles the win.

Bortles came on in relief of UCF starter Jeff Godfrey and completed 24 of 34 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception.  Godfrey never saw the field in the 2nd half after going 7 of 10 for 68 yards in first half as the Knights were down 13-6 at halftime.  Cleary the offense was more aggressive with Bortles in the game and I look for Bortles to get the start next weekend at East Carolina.  But Godfrey is not the problem, UCF only ran for 66 yards on 24 carries which Godfrey needs to open up the passing game.  UCF now sits at 4-6 on the season and must win at East Carolina next week and at home against UTEP on November 25th to be bowl eligible.

Postgame  News and Notes

-Worton had a career-high 11 receptions for 114 yards and has established himself as the go to wide receiver on the team.  Worton did have a costly fumble on a punt return but clearly did not let that effect him as he had big last drive and good chemistry with Bortles.

– Senior Kicker Nick Cattoi had his best game as a Knight as he went 3/3 on field goals including a 48 yarder.

– Latavius Murray  69-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter gave the Knights some life as  it got the Knights within 19-16.  Why Murray doesnt get more touches on offense still remains a mystery as he showed explosiveness.  UCF has now returned a kickoff for a TD in each of the last five seasons.

– I am not a fan of going for two in that situation as I rather play for overtime.  But I understand O’Leary decision in going for two and will never second guess a decision to go for the win.