Defensive Dominance

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ORLANDO (UCFKnights.com) – The UCF defense outscored Tulane Saturday night at Bright House Networks Stadium. Knights' defenders found the end zone three times for the first time in school history in a 37-6 victory over the Green Wave.
In fact, UCF safety Drico Johnson outscored Tulane himself. Johnson got the defensive scores started when he returned a fumble 30 yards for a touchdown to put the Knights up 13-6 midway through the third quarter. He plucked an option pitch out of the air and raced untouched to the goal line.
Just three plays later, cornerback Shaquill Griffin picked off Tulane quarterback Glen Cuilette in front of the Green Wave bench. He weaved his way through a couple Green Wave players, cut all the way across to the opposite sideline and used his speed to reach the end zone. In a span of 49 seconds, the two defensive scores broke open what was a one-point game at halftime and put the Knights up 20-6.
"I didn't think it," Johnson said when asked if he ever thought he could have a game like this. "But God works miracles. I was supposed to cover the pitch man and just jumped the ball and got the score. We're a team. It's not about us (individually). Without the D-line getting to the quarterback, without the linebackers dropping into the zone and blocking for us, we wouldn't have scored our picks."
The Knights lit the scoreboard on offense for the first time since the second quarter early in the fourth quarter. UCF drove to the Tulane 22-yard line before settling for a Matthew Wright field goal to make it 23-6.
Then, the defense got in on the scoring action once again. Two 15-yard penalties against the Knights kept a Tulane drive alive, as the Green Wave reached the UCF 21-yard line. But on fourth-and-7, Johnson stepped in front of a Cuilette aerial and raced down the Tulane sideline for an 86-yard interception return to put the Knights on top 30-6.
"Our defense and defensive coaching staff deserve a lot of credit for what they've done this year," head coach Scott Frost said. "They were dominant tonight in all phases on defense. The staff and players on defense did an unbelievable job. I tip my hat to Coach (Erik) Chinander and his guys. It was a great win for the program."
Senior quarterback Justin Holman came on in relief late in the game and led the Knights on a touchdown drive. Holman capped the possession with a 1-yard touchdown run, accounting for the final score. Freshman signal-caller McKenzie Milton scored the Knights' lone touchdown of the first half, also on a one-yard run. Milton's TD put UCF on top in the second quarter after Tulane led 6-0 early.
Defensive Data

  • Two school records were set by the defense in Saturday night's victory, according to data available to the UCF Athletics Communications staff.
    • Three defensive scores in one game had never happened in the history of UCF Football.
    • Drico Johnson's two defensive scores in one game is believed to be an individual record.
  • The last time UCF scored multiple defensive touchdowns in a game was Oct. 6, 2010 when Josh Robinson returned a fumble 56 yards for a score and Troy Davis recorded a 29-yard pick six.
  • The Knights forced five turnovers in the game.
  • Two of those turnovers were interceptions by Griffin. That matches a school record set 23 previous times.
  • It's the second game in a row that a Knight had multiple interceptions, with D.J. Killings doing it last week at Houston.

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