Replay: Knights Find Different Recipe to Win

There are all sorts of ways to win a football game.
The UCF football team proved that in spades Saturday at FBC Mortgage Stadium in its victory over Georgia Tech.
The 27-10 Knight triumph, their second in a row, came in somewhat unlikely fashion.
For example, who might have guessed UCF would end up winning somewhat comfortably despite being outgained by 119 yards and throwing for only 49 yards? That hasn't exactly been the normal Knight combination in recent times.
Who might have thought a freshman and local product placekicker, in only his second week on the job, would drill all four of his field-goal attempts—all of them critical to the UCF cause—to tie the all-time single-game record? That production came from Colton Boomer, as the Knights kicked four in a game for the 13th time.
Who might have imagined that a month into the season the Knights would be leading the country in red-zone defense and rank 12th nationally in scoring defense (13.5 points per game)?
UCF expanded that aspect of its game Saturday by allowing only a field goal after halftime--after shutting out FAU in the second half the previous week. Tech scored a single touchdown in the game, but its other forays reaching the Knights' 15-yard line (missed field goal), 20 (another missed field goal off an upright), six (lost on downs), 10 (lost fumble) and 12 (another lost fumble) all went for naught.
And if it wasn't for a crazy 90-yard fumble return that went amiss at the end, the home team might have finished with a pair of special-team TDs. Quadric Bullard notched the first on a run into the end zone after Jarvis Ware smothered a Yellow Jacket punt.
The end result became yet another learning experience for a UCF team that now heads into conference play next weekend at 3-1 for its best non-league mark since 2019.
"Play your butts off today," UCF coach Gus Malzahn told his team before kickoff.
"We're gonna have fun today. We're gonna dictate how this game is gonna go. Turn it loose and play together. We're gonna get after them."

Added defensive coordinator Travis Williams to his unit, "We want to be a great defense. So we've got to put action behind it. We can't just believe it."
No one in the sellout crowd could have misunderstood UCF's intention once the game commenced.
The Knights notched an early Boomer field goal on a 20-play drive that lasted 9:47 (longest by time for UCF in 10 years and longest in terms of plays since 2018).
UCF ran the ball 20 times before completing its first pass – twice on the opening drive converting on fourth down via running back Isaiah Bowser from the Wildcat formation.
After a period of play, Malzahn's team held an overwhelming 11:49-3:11 lead in time of possession (30 offensive plays run compared to seven).
But Georgia Tech took the lead almost 10 minutes into the second period on a 59-yard TD pass that marked the Yellow Jackets' longest play of 2022 and the longest allowed this year by the Knights.
The Knights responded with a 62-yard march to the Tech 13, resulting in a second Boomer field goal to make it 7-6.
Then came maybe the biggest momentum-changing play of the afternoon.
Attempting to punt from their own 39 with less than a minute until intermission, the visitors instead saw Ware block the kick and Bullard run it in from 29 yards out for his second punt-return TD of the year (both after blocks).
The Knights now led—and for good, thanks to the UCF defense.
 "Here's what we got to do," said Malzahn at halftime.
"We're gonna win this game. We just gotta make plays. We gotta have one explosive play and we'll run these guys out of town.
"It's similar to a couple of weeks ago (against Louisville) when we were up at the half. So let's finish this thing off."
The third of Boomer's three-pointers came on UCF's first possession of the third period and made it 16-7—with John Rhys Plumlee and RJ Harvey both contributing 15-yard ground gains.
The Knights looked like they might seize all the momentum when Tre'mon Morris-Brash picked up a Tech fumble (forced by a Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste sack) and returned it 90 yards, only to have a Tech defender knock it out of his hands at the one and into the end zone for a touchback.
From there, the visitors came back with a 56-yard drive that ended in a field goal and made it a one-score game (16-10 for UCF).
Eleven plays into the last period, Plumlee scooted down the right sideline on first down and scored UCF's lone offensive TD from 28 yards.
After a second Morris-Brash fumble recovery (this one forced by Josh Celiscar at the UCF 12), the Knights began with rushing gains of 15 yards by Johnny Richardson and 17 by Plumlee on the way to Boomer's final field goal.
Then UCF clinched it with a fourth-down stop on a run attempt by Tech quarterback Jeff Sims.
The Yellow Jackets ended up zero for five in the red zone, zero for three on fourth down and only four for 13 on third down.
Meanwhile UCF outgained the visitors by 146 yards on the ground. UCF now ranks fifth in the country in rushing (275.8 per game)—and, after another personal 100-yard run effort, Plumlee stands 19th individual in rushing yards (and 17th in total offense at 307.8).
"That's the best kind of game to win," said Malzahn. "I'm fired up.
"Two hundred eighty-five yards rushing and the defense only gives up 10 points. How about that?
"Four field goals and we blocked a punt for a touchdown. That's the sign of a really good football team.
"We battled through some adversity—it was close at halftime. A lot of times they had the momentum and we got it back. You did the things to win the game.
"We're building this thing, man—and now we open up conference play right here next week."
Knight players have been unabashed talking about their goal of regaining the top spot in the American Athletic Conference. There are enough veterans wearing black and gold who were around in 2018 and even back to 2017 to know what that requires.
Malzahn and his team will begin learning in a week just how realistic that goal will prove to be.