UCF Football Comes Up Short Against Louisville, 20-14

ORLANDO – Despite a pair of opportunities to tie the score or take the lead late, the UCF football team came up short against the Louisville Cardinals, 20-14, Friday night at FBC Mortgage Stadium. The Knights move to 1-1 on the year, while the Cardinals improve to 1-1.

"Obviously an extremely tough loss," said UCF head coach Gus Malzahn. "We came out of the game playing well. We were in control of the game and at halftime had some momentum. The third quarter we came out and did nothing really offensively at all.

"We had a long touchdown called back for holding I think, it was a second of the game. Our defense did a good job at the end, that gave us a chance. We just didn't get things done down there."

Trailing late in the fourth quarter, the UCF defense came up with a big fourth down stop to give the offense a chance to knot the score with 5:41 remaining. Quarterback John Rhys Plumlee found wide receiver Javon Baker for a 24-yard pass to put the Knights in the red zone. A three-yard rush from Isaiah Bowser gave UCF first and goal from the nine-yard line, but the Black and Gold was unable to convert.

The Knights defense rose to the occasion once again to force a Louisville punt with 1:41 on the clock, but UCF was unable to get in the endzone and turned the ball over after an unsuccessful fourth-down attempt.

After Louisville scored on its opening drive following a touchdown from Tiyon Evans, UCF countered with a 10 play, 80-yard drive capped off by Bowser's two-yard touchdown run to even the game at 7-7. Bowser found the endzone a few minutes later, this time from three yards out to give the Knights a 14-7 lead.

Louisville trimmed the UCF advantage to 14-10 after a 35-yard field goal from James Turner and the Cards took the lead after quarterback Malik Cunningham broke loose for a 43-yard touchdown run to make it 17-14.

UCF had a few big plays called back in the second half due to penalties and the Knights were not able to find the endzone.

Jason Johnson led a strong defensive effort with 12 tackles, including nine solo stops. Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste tallied seven and Quadric Bullard had four.

UCF returns to action next weekend when the Knights travel to Florida Atlantic. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. from FAU Stadium.