UCF Knights remain winless with 44-7 loss to East Carolina


Bryce Brimhall / Valencia Voice

East Carolina gained a total of 605 yards of offense against UCF on Thursday night.

ORLANDO — Tre’Quan Smith broke two UCF freshman receiving records but his performance wasn’t enough as the Knights remained winless with a 44-7 loss to the East Carolina Pirates on Thursday.

Smith opened the game by catching an 11-yard touchdown pass from Justin Holman to put the Knights up 7-0 early. By the end of the game Smith had passed J.J. Worton for the most receptions by a freshman and Kamar Aiken for the most receiving yards by a freshman in program history.

“He made some plays for us early…” said UCF interim head coach Danny Barrett about his freshman wide out. “Today he’s done a good job and hopefully he can finish on a strong note.”

The freshman out of Delray Beach, Florida finished the game with 50 yards on four receptions and the touchdown.

UCF’s defense would be the problem on Thursday night as they gave up 44 straight points after the opening touchdown.

East Carolina responded to UCF’s opening score with back-to-back touchdown drives including one following a Tristan Payton fumble on a kickoff return.

The Knights opened up the second half by recovering an onside kick but couldn’t take advantage of the field position.

“Only thing we did good tonight was the onside kick,” said Barrett after the game.

ECU wide receiver Isaiah Jones had 164 yards on 13 receptions and two touchdowns for the game while running back Chris Hairston added another 123 yards on 14 attempts and scored a touchdown.

Justin Holman went 9-17 for 110 yards, a touchdown and an interceptions before he left the game in the second quarter with a high ankle sprain, according to coach Barrett. Tyler Harris and Bo Schneider combined to go 2-15 for 21 yards in relief of Holman.

The Knights gave up 605 yards of total offense to the Pirates and quarterback Blake Kemp went 34-50 for four touchdowns and a career-high 448 yards. ECU had 31 first downs for the game in comparison to UCF’s 12. The Knights went 4-15 on third down conversions and struggled to move the chains for most of the game.

“They made plays,” said UCF senior Thomas Niles about the ECU offense. “They did what they have done all year, they ran the ball, threw the ball and they made plays plain and simple

UCF had three turnovers for the game and totaled 200 total yards with only 50 coming on the ground.

The Knights are now 0-11 for the first time since 2004 and will have their final opportunity for a win this season on Thanksgiving Day when they take on rival USF at Bright House Networks Stadium for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff on ESPN.

UCF, along with Kansas, are the only two FBS football programs yet to record a win this season.

“It’s a nightmare that everyday I wish I would wake up from,” said senior Cedric Thompson following the game. “It’s not fun, it’s not enjoyable but we can’t give up.”