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With the UCF Knights (7-4) hosting the UConn Huskies (1-10) at the Bounce House on Saturday, UCF’s head coach Gus Malzahn enjoyed a tune-up game to test younger players on the Knights’ roster in a 49-17 blowout win.
The biggest challenge going into the game might have been finding a way to manage health for his sideline, including his own recovery from a broken tibia he suffered during the win over Tulane at the previous home game, as he coached from a platform on the sideline for the second consecutive week.
The Knights came out looking explosive on offense. True freshman quarterback Mikey Keene went 23-of-29 for 208 yards and two touchdowns, while also contributing a 30-yard rushing touchdown. UCF’s Brandon Johnson was the top receiving threat on the evening, with seven catches for 125 yards and a score. Johnny Richardson led the squad rushing, delivering a career-high 149 yards on 14 carries while also turning in his first receiving touchdown of his career.
With the score 35-14 after the break, scoring slowed down with no points put up in the third quarter. However, UCF still had control of the game, allowing only three points in the closing half.
UCF recorded all three of their interceptions for night before the half. The defensive stand-out for the night was defensive tackle Cam Goode, who recorded a tackle for loss, a sack and an interception.
Goode spoke earlier in the year saying that he was hoping the turn “lessons into blessin’s“. He elaborated on how that outlook helped UCF go 4-1 so far in the back half of the year:
“This team has been through so much adversity. We made sure we stayed in the chapel. We stayed tight as a team. We pray together and good things always come. We just got to keep on sticking to our rules.”
Next week could be the final edition of the annual Black Friday tradition of the “War on I-4” rivalry with the USF Bulls to take place in the Bounce House. With UCF due to begin play in the Big 12 as early as 2023, they could find themselves looking for a new rival unless this matchup is extended.