UCF survives scare from Tulane

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Bryce Brimhall / Valencia Voice

Justin Holman went 9-17 passing for 113 yards and one touchdown in UCF's win over Tulane.

ORLANDO, Fla. – The UCF Knights overcame early turnovers and a quarterback change to beat the Tulane Green Wave 20-13 at Bright House Networks Stadium on Saturday in front of an announced crowd of 35,015.

Knights starting quarterback Justin Holman remained ineffective during his four series on the field, completing just 3-out-of-8 passes for 39 yards and one interception. Holman’s interception occurred on the first drive of the game on a tipped pass but the Knights avoided an early deficit after Andrew DiRocco missed the 42-yard field goal attempt.

Holman overthrew a number of Knights wide receivers in the first quarter, including one pass to Rannell Hall that would have been good for a touchdown.

“I thought he overthrew four of the first five passes and those are open plays that you got to make,” Knights head coach George O’Leary said. “I thought it would be better to put him on the sideline and watch what’s going on. You can’t miss the plays he’s missing in the first half; I thought he needed to sit down and see what’s going on out there.”

The Knights’ early first quarter woes continued when punter Caleb Houston mishandled the long snap and fumbled the ball on their own eight yard line. The muffed snap would allow Tulane to score the first points of the game on a 21-yard field goal by DiRocco.

O’Leary elected to bench Holman in the second quarter in favor of backup Nick Patti. The Knights suffered a holding penalty on Patti’s first drive that the offense couldn’t overcome and set up a 47-yard field goal from Shawn Moffitt to tie the game at 3 with 13:33 left in the second quarter.

UCF took the lead on a one-yard touchdown run by William Stanback to put the Knights up 10-3. Shortly after, the Knights added three more points after Jacoby Glenn’s interception set up the Knights on the 25 yard line.

After halftime, O’Leary would bring Holman back into the game in place of Patti. On the Knights’ first drive of the second half, Stanback fumbled the ball on the 27 yard line. Stanback’s fumble allowed Tulane to convert a 42-yard field goal to cut the lead to 13-6.

On the second series of the third quarter, Holman led UCF to a touchdown on a 45-yard pass to Breshad Perriman to put the Knights up 20-6. Holman finished the game by completing 9-of-17 passes for 113 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Tulane answered UCF’s touchdown by putting together a 12-play, 85-yard drive that lasted 5:15. Tulane quarterback Nick Montana hit Teddy Veal on a 41-yard throw to put Tulane into the red zone. Running back Lazedrick Thompson scored on a nine-yard run to bring the Green Wave within seven points.

After Tulane tied the game, UCF’s defense held strong the rest of game keeping the score at 20-13.

“I think they made good stops,” O’Leary said. “I expect the defense to be consistent and I thought they were consistent for the most part. I thought they played consistent for most of the game but when they have to make a play, you have to make one.”