The Knights took on the South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday afternoon in what was arguably the most anticipated regular season game in UCF history. The Gamecocks are a strong football team who play in the best conference of college football, the SEC. This year in the rankings, South Carolina is the twelfth best team in the nation. No matter where they play, they usually have a strong fanbase turn out. This was in full effect at Brighthouse Stadium in Orlando, as the game completely sold out a short time after tickets went on sale.
The Knights as well as their fans believed the team was strong enough to compete head-to-head with the Gamecocks. They proved to be correct as the game started off with a 10-0 UCF lead. South Carolina then went on a 28-0 scoring run that lasted until the fourth quarter. The Knights then began fighting back again, scoring a touchdown and adding the 2-pt conversion. The score was now 28-18 and UCF was right back in the game. The defense stopped the Gamecocks’ offense again about halfway through the fourth quarter, allowing the Knights’ offense to quickly drive down the field and score. With only a couple minutes left on the clock, UCF was only down 28-25. Unfortunately, when the South Carolina offense took the field again, they were able to effectively control the ball and run down the clock completely.
Both teams now have a record of 3-1 this season. The Knights had a few miscues on both sides of the ball that would have perhaps changed the outcome of the game. In terms of talent, the Knights can match up with any college football team. But as we saw on Saturday, UCF’s inexperience in big game situations and several missed opportunities are ultimately what keeps them from being able to defeat top ranked teams such as South Carolina.