UCF: New Starters Excel in Key Roles
The Knights had a strong opening statement against Akron on Thursday night. Offensive players had career nights and the defense was seconds away from posting a shutout against the Zips.
Team leaders like Blake Bortles and Terrance Plummer were big reasons why the Knights dominated Akron at home. But they were helped, in a big way, from players stepping into new roles and shouldering more responsibilities.
Breshad Perriman has shown the potential to be the Knights' best option in the passing game. Perriman started to emerge as a weapon in the last few games of his freshman year and capped it off with a strong performance in the bowl game against Ball State. Thursday night, he wasted no time to start his sophomore season off with a bang.
On the second play of the game, Perriman shook off the corner trying to cover him one-on-one and got open on a post route. QB, Blake Bortles threw a perfect ball, Perriman caught it in stride and took it the rest of the way for a 91-yard touchdown. It was the longest play from scrimmage in UCF's history and broke Perriman's single game receiving yard high in one fell swoop.
Perriman ended the game with three catches for 113 yards but could have posted even bigger numbers. He had two dropped passes in the first half that would have been big plays. Coach O'Leary talked about Breshad after the game saying, "He's a talented guy. I thought two of those other plays that were dropped were touchdowns or close to it."
Storm Johnson waited a long time for Thursday's game. After sitting out a year due to transfer rules and then biding his time as a backup to Latavius Murray in 2012, Johnson was chomping at the bit for the opportunity to prove he can be a feature back.
He, like Perriman, immediately showed he can succeed in his new starting role. Johnson had 99 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns in three quarters of work. While he never broke the big one, he consistently ran the ball well between the tackles, getting North and South and took what the defense gave him. A good sign, as this is what UCF coaches have said Storm needed to work on coming into 2013.
Jacoby Glenn was asked to make his first start at corner against a team that uses a lot of receivers and throws often. He responded well and showed flashes of talent, validating the belief that he can become a shutdown corner for the Knights. After the game, Coach O'Leary commented on his performance, "I was very pleased with the way our secondary played, being so young. I thought they got their hands on some balls, I thought Jacoby Glenn played well." Glenn finished his first collegiate game with three pass break-ups and four tackles.