The second half of the game against East Carolina played out much like every other road loss this season excluding the blowout loss to Southern Methodist. UCF’s defense had little answer for the Pirate passing game in the second half which included an 83 yard touchdown pass, but the game still came down to the final minute as Blake Bortles threw an interception at the goal-line on a 4th and 10 play.
Unlike previous losses, UCF lost both the game and the stat sheet as ECU had more first downs, more yardage, more passing yards, more rushing yards, and less penalties. In previous losses, it was tough to figure out how the Knights lost a game when they controlled much of the overall stat sheet. The lack of a pass rush has been a problem all season and it was a point of focus for ECU that the Knights could do little to contain regardless of the field position.
ECU continued to control the lines of scrimmage in the second half and held Latavius Murray to just 12 yards in the second half after he ran for 75 in the first half. Head Coach George O’Leary continued his game of quarterback shuffling even though both quarterbacks were equally effective in the second half. In the end, UCF’s inability to put any running game together in the second half costs them on several 3rd and short plays that gave the ball back to the Pirates who had no issue converting those plays or scoring in the second half.
The Knight end the 2011 road season winless with five of the six losses coming down to the final minute and limp home Friday even to face UTEP to end the season and head into what will be a very unsettling off-season as the school searches for a new Athletic Director and the football coaching staff will most certainly have adjustments.