Red Wolves Top Knights

ORLANDO ( - The UCF football team couldn't overcome a number of miscues in Saturday night's Cure Bowl, falling to Arkansas State 31-13.

Despite the outcome, UCF head coach Scott Frost expressed the amount of pride he has in what the Knights accomplished this season. He had a message of gratitude for the seniors, who played their final game in the Black & Gold.

"What this team has accomplished, I'm proud of them, happy for them. I'm hungry to accomplish more," Frost said. "I had a simple message for our team. I thanked the seniors. Everything we say about our seniors we mean from the bottom of our heart. These guys could have gone a lot of different directions. They didn't have to sacrifice and put in the effort and be leaders for our team and totally take a new direction in a new way of doing things that our coaching staff was asking them to do. They all did, they all led us. I'm proud to be their coach."

The Red Wolves scored 14 points off turnovers and added a touchdown on a blocked punt, which opened the scoring. Those 17 points were a huge difference in a contest where the two defenses were dominant. Arkansas State rushed for just 29 yards, while the Knights only managed 12. UCF passed for 211 yards, while the Red Wolves threw it for 205. Neither squad managed more than 234 yards. Combined, the two teams were 6-for-35 on third down.

"I think when either team's defense is on the field it was the superior unit on the field and we kind knew that going in," Frost said.

A nightmare first quarter for UCF left Arkansas State with a 17-0 lead after 15 minutes of play. A blocked punt was recovered in the end zone for the Red Wolves. A long Arkansas State pass play led to a field goal to make it 10-0. On the ensuing kickoff, a fumble set the Red Wolves up with a short field that was converted into a touchdown to account for the 17 points.

The Knights found some offense in the second quarter. Tre'Quan Smith made another of his patented circus catches. The 34-yard completion set up an 11-yard scoring strike from McKenzie Milton to a wide-open Taylor Oldham. Following an Arkansas State fumble, Mathew Wright converted a 45-yard field goal to pull the Knights within seven, 17-10 at the intermission.

But a 75-yard touchdown pass less than a minute into the third quarter swung the momentum back to Arkansas State. Wright's second field goal of the game late in the third quarter got the Knights back within 11, 24-13. The Red Wolves took over deep in UCF territory late in the third quarter on a fumbled UCF punt and turned it into a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter, accounting for the final tally.