By Zach Walker
How’d it go for the Mustangs?
I hear Whitesnake’s “Here I go again” rattle around my head as I watched the SMU Mustangs play the UCF Knights. UCF broke tackles all over their first drive and took yards by the bundle, and the Mustangs looked to have forced Josh Reese to fumble into the endzone and hold a solid Knights drive to zero points, but the review overturned the fumble and placed the ball on the half yard line. After the ruling, the running back Dontravious Wilson, filling in superbly for William Stanback, fought the entire SMU defense to get the 1-yard touchdown. The extra point would be a high snap to the holder JJ Worton, who couldn’t score on the try. But here’s the foreshadowing play for the game for the Mustangs, on the first play for the offense, Matt Davis threw a pass downfield intended for Der’rick Thompson was intercepted by Jacoby Glenn.
Dontravious Wilson continued to roll the rock down the field for UCF, and Justin Holman found Breshad Perriman for 25 yards in the middle of the drive, but the drive would be capped off with a Wilson rushing touchdown from 11 yards out. After a horrible return by Deion Sanders Jr with a penalty compounded the ball in an unwinnable spot for the Mustangs, who were lucky not to get a safety, or the punt blocked after they went three and out. The UCF momentum led their confidence to go for it on a fourth and 1, but Mason Gentry and Stephon Sanders combined for the loss and the ball over on downs. The Mustangs couldn’t do anything after gaining the ball back, but the Knights wouldn’t be so pessimistic with their next opportunity. Justin Holman had a beautiful throw along the left sideline, where Shakiel Randolph lost proximity with JJ Worton when he looked for the ball in the air, and Worton was able to walk into the endzone for the 20 lead.
When things are going bad, they’re going bad, and on an exchange between Matt Davis and KC Nlemchi, the ball was fumbled and recovered by UCF. And again, the Knights would score, this time a pass to Perriman for a beauty of a top shelf pass for a catch in the endzone to extend the lead to 27 points. But Deion Sanders Jr had a supreme 65 yard return to the 30 yard line, and Matt Davis would rush four straight plays for the touchdown to cut it to a twenty point lead and prevent a shutout. But that good return for SMU would encourage UCF’s Michael Easton to see if he can do anything for his team, and on his first career return, he returned the ball 96 yards for the stomping out of the Mustangs fire and the touchdown. After another punt, the Mustangs’ defense would steal a possession, after a dead ball foul by UCF, Justin Holman would be intercepted by Horace Richardson. Nothing would get done, and the ball gets back to the Knights, and John Bordano forced a fumble of Holman on third down, but the Knights would recover. And on the punt, Daijuan Stewart muffed the kick and the Knights would also that ball too. But Bordano wouldn’t be denied a turnover, he absolutely rib-caged Holman and Darrian Richardson made a one-handed intercepted. The half would end with Jonathan Yenga forcing the final two plays to be negative plays, and on third down, he would fire off of a delay blitz to sack Holman and force a field goal and make the game 37 to 7.
The second half can be bullet pointed, with Deion Sanders Jr showing some flashes in the receiving game, Jonathan Yenga continued to be a major thorn in the side and had an interception slide right through his hands, a fumble by Matt Davis would be his last play of his game, but Garrett Krstich’s time in the gun wouldn’t be very good, a three and out and an intercepted pass that did get scored, but a low block on the return to prevent to score. UCF would add 16 more points to end the game 53 to SMU’s 7.
Best and Worst plays of the Game:
BEST: The John Bordano hit on Justin Holman, which led to the Darrian Richardson one handed interception. The pick was so epic it made Sportscenter’s number 7 “top plays of Saturday”
WORST: The tone setting interception thrown by Matt Davis on the Mustangs first drive, it just appeared to defeat the team with one throw.