UCF blows out Bethune-Cookman in Knights’ home opener


Bryce Brimhall / Valencia Voice

William Stanback rushed for 105 yards and two touchdowns in the Knights’ 41-7 win over Bethune-Cookman.

Justin Holman went 6-11 for 145 yards and two touchdowns in the UCF Knights 41-7 victory over the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats in their home opener on Saturday, Sept. 20 at Bright House Networks Stadium.

Winning at home after being away from BHNS for 10 months gave the Knights a much needed momentum boost for a team that started the season 0-2.

“The first win of the season is always a big win, especially at home” said UCF head coach George O’Leary after the game. “I feel like we have been away for two months.”

UCF got off to a slow start against the Wildcats in the first quarter, as Bethune took a 7-3 lead into the second quarter after an Anthony Jordan rushing touchdown gave the Wildcats their first and only lead of the game.

The opening quarter saw little offense from either team, as Bethune out gained UCF 45-34 during the first 15 minutes of play.

UCF re-took the lead early in the second quarter when Holman hit J.J. Worton on a 35-yard touchdown pass, putting the Knights back in front 10-7. Holman later extended UCF’s lead to 17-7 with a 61-yard touchdown pass to Breshad Perriman with 9:37 remaining in the second quarter.

Holman wouldn’t attempt another pass after the first half, despite playing all of the third quarter.

“Whatever I got to do to make sure we get a W,” said Holman about the third quarter gameplan. “That’s the biggest thing, I don’t care if we have to run the ball 50 times and throw it zero.”

Rodrigo Quirarte extended UCF’s lead some more midway through the second quarter, when he made his second field goal of the night, extending the Knights’ lead to 20-7. Quirarte had made his first-ever collegiate field goal earlier in the game, while playing in place of Shawn Moffitt.

UCF went into halftime with five sacks, which evened their game-high for last season. UCF last had more than five sacks in a game in 2010 against Rice. They would finish with 6 sacks for the game.

The second half saw more of the same for UCF, as they dominated the line of scrimmage and ran it down the Wildcats throat for the rest of the game.

“I wanted to run the ball until we [were] tired and that’s what we needed to do and we needed to establish the line of scrimmage and I thought we should have been doing that in the first half of the game,” said O’Leary about the second half running game.

William Stanback made the score 27-7 in favor of UCF when he scored his first rushing touchdown of the season with 13:28 remaining in the third quarter.

UCF would go on to add another 14 points after the Stanback touchdown, securing their 20th win against an FCS school, dating back to 1996 when they joined the FBS.

Stanback finished the game with 105 yards rushing on 15 carries and a touchdown, while also catching a pass for five yards.

Boise State transfer Nick Patti came in for Holman during the fourth quarter, after UCF already had a 34-7 lead. Patti went 2-2 for 37 yards in relief of Holman.

Rannell Hall was hit with a targeting penalty in the fourth quarter, by rule he will now miss the first half of UCF’s next game against Houston.

“I want to see if I can appeal that,” said O’Leary about the ejection. “Their own coach said ‘that’s not targeting.”

The win gives UCF their first victory of the season, improving their record to 1-2 for the season and some much needed momentum going into a bye week.

“It’s a good win,” said O’Leary following the game. “But now we get into the conference season. The one goal we have on the team is to win the conference championship each and every year.”

UCF will now prepare for Houston following the bye week, as the Knights will have to travel to Texas to open up conference play against a Cougars team that has been struggling to start the season. Kickoff for next Thursday’s game is set for 7 p.m. with the game being televised on ESPN.

“Thursday nights it gets us more national recognition on the big screen with T.V. and we’re going to take advantage of it,” said Worton of the Knights’ upcoming back-to-back Thursday games.