UCF Downs South Dakota on Opening Night

Chad Alexander, c/o Russell Griner

By Alex Barrett
[email protected]

The University of Central Florida Knights kicked their football season with a 38-7 victory over the University of South Dakota Coyotes at Bright House Networks Stadium on the UCF campus Sept. 4.

UCF got on the board early, grinding out a second-possession, 75-yard touchdown drive capped off by a Johnathan Davis dive from the one yard line.

After the teams battled at midfield for much of the remaining quarter, UCF again punched into pay-dirt on a seven-yard run around the corner from Jamar Newsome, set up by a 31-yard reception by A.J. Guyton, one of eight passes caught for 127 yards in the game.

South Dakota opened up the second quarter with a Marcus Sims kick return that placed the Coyotes within striking distance. Three plays later USD running back Chris Gainous exploded through the line to put South Dakota on the board.

After a Nick Cattoi field goal, UCF forced another Coyote three-and-out to line up great field position, with Guyton catching his first touchdown pass of the game with a little over a minute remaining on the clock before the half.

The Coyotes came out stale again in the third period, another three-and-out allowed the Knights to attempt to grind out another solid drive, however resulting in a UCF punt. QB Calabrese completed his first nine passes of the game before throwing two incompletions on the drive.

A huge, 24-yard sack by Laurence Young on the ensuing Coyote drive forced a punt out of their own end-zone, giving UCF great field position even after a muffed punt return. The Knights used the opportunity to free Brendan Kelly near the end zone to drive the score to 31-7, UCF.

South Dakota started the final quarter much like the previous ones, falling short on assembling a drive and punting from their own territory again. Starting from the Coyote 41, it was only 2 minutes before UCF entered the red-zone and scored on a six yard touchdown pass from backup-quarterback Jeff Godfrey, giving the Knights a 38-7 lead with just over nine minutes remaining in the game.

Following another poor drive that stumbled after just four plays, South Dakota punted away only to watch Guyton continue to get open down the field, catching 2 more throws on the drive including a 27-yard completion on third down. UCF’s drive faltered as they decided to go for the first down on fourth-and-three from the Coyote 27 to drain the clock, rather than kick a field goal; the attempt was un-successful, and the Knights turned the ball over on downs, their first turnover of the game.The Knights also continued fundamental football by only committing 3 penalties the entire game.

As the clock wound down, few fans were left in the stands with the rout in progress to see the Coyotes finally make a few good plays to reach the UCF red-zone for only the second time in the game, but were unable to score any more points as time ran out. UCF begins the season 1-0, the Coyotes falling to 0-1.