Navy Edges No. 20 UCF on Senior Knight

Box Score (PDF) | Postgame Notes | Press Conference

Despite allowing just 82 yards and three points in the second half, the 20th-ranked UCF football team came up short against Navy 17-14 Saturday afternoon at FBC Mortgage Stadium. Points were at a premium in the contest, as both teams' strong defenses were on display and offenses were held well below their season averages.

"First of all, extremely tough loss. It was real disappointing for our guys, especially our seniors in their last home game and everything that went with that," said UCF head coach Gus Malzahn. "Give them [Navy] credit. They did what it took to win the game. First half, they had the ball quite a bit. We had opportunities, but we got field goals down there going in and you have to score touchdowns."

Playing against a triple-option offense, the flow of the game and time of possession is always something to keep an eye on. Navy had possession for 39:36, while UCF had the ball for 20:24, the lowest time of the possession the Knights have had in a game this season.

The game only saw three touchdowns scored along with three field goals and both teams were held scoreless in the fourth quarter.

Navy opened the game with a strong drive, as quarterback Xavier Arline capped an 11-play, 75-yard drive that spanned 6:40. For the first time since the East Carolina game, UCF was held scoreless in the first quarter.

The Knights' second drive of the game ended with a field goal from their standout freshman kicker Colton Boomer. Big runs by running back RJ Harvey and a 10-yard completion from quarterback John Rhys Plumlee to Ryan O'Keefe helped put UCF in position to score and trim the score to 7-3.

After the UCF defense forced a quick three-and-out, the Knights cut the Midshipmen's lead to one at 7-6 following Boomer's second field goal of the day. Navy responded with a 6:47 drive to pull ahead 14-6 before halftime with an eight-yard touchdown run Vincent Terrell II.

Looking for a spark after the intermission, UCF made a change at the quarterback position and Mikey Keene started the second half. In his first action of the day, he led the Knights on a 75-yard, five-play scoring drive. Keene found Baker for six yards on his first pass and then connected with O'Keefe for 45 yards on a deep ball, which set up his 28-yard touchdown pass to Baker.

"John Rhys' shoulder's been bothering him since last week, when he fell on that pass," Malzahn added. "Then when he tried to throw the Hail Mary up and didn't get it there before halftime, I just felt it was time to make a change with Mikey.

"He gave us a really good lift coming right out after halftime there."

Navy countered with a field goal on its next possession, but after that offense was limited on both sides. One its lone possession in the fourth quarter, UCF was unable to convert on fourth down from the Navy 37-yard line as Keene's pass to Baker was broken up by Navy's Mbiti Williams Jr.

Defensively, Ricky Barber turned in the best game of his collegiate career, tallying a career-high 13 tackles and was in the backfield causing havoc throughout the day. He topped his previous career best of 10 tackles he recorded at a previous school.

Needing nine tackles to reach 100 for the season, senior linebacker Jason Johnson reached that and added more as he finished in tie with Barber for the game high in tackles with 13. Johnson is one of just two players in the American Athletic Conference to reach 100 tackles this season and he becomes the 44th player in UCF program history to accomplish the feat.

UCF is back in action next weekend at USF for the War On I-4. Kickoff is slated for Saturday, Nov. 26, at 7 p.m. from Raymond James Stadium and the contest will air on ESPN2.