UCF Knights vs South Dakota Coyotes Football Recap
Central Florida 38, South Dakota 7
George O’Leary and Central Florida may have found their quarterback.
Junior quarterback Rob Calabrese ensured that the Central Florida Knights (1-0) wouldn’t be among those FBS teams losing to FCS sides on the opening weekend of the new college football season. Calabrese, who fended off a challenge from freshman Jeff Godfrey to earn the starting QB role, completed his first 9 passes, driving UCF to touchdowns on its first two possessions and staking the Knights to a 14-0 lead.
South Dakota (0-1) responded with a touchdown in the second quarter, as junior running back Chris Ganious capped a 60-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run, making the score 14-7.
However, the Coyotes were unable to build on that score, as Central Florida went on to score the game’s final 24 points, winning going away without shedding much of any sweat.
Just how important is it to have a big-time field general in Conference USA? Look around the league and notice both the proliferation of great quarterbacks (Case Keenum and Kyle Padron at Houston and SMU) and the numerous examples of tissue-thin secondaries. (Tulsa and East Carolina were playing an Xbox game, and not a real football game, in their comically entertaining super-shootout on Sunday afternoon.) If you have a quarterback who can victimize an opponent’s back line of defense and manipulate the game in the right ways at the right moments, you have a more than fighting chance of rising to the top of C-USA.
Maybe now the Golden Knights, who have been outclassed the past two years in C-USA East, can use Calabrese to reclaim the league title they claimed in 2007.
Calabrese connected with junior wideout A.J. Guyton on an 11-yard touchdown pass to finish off a 7-play, 80-yard drive, giving the Knights a 24-7 halftime lead. Sophomore running back Brendan Kelly scored on a 1-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to put the Knights up 31-7. Godfrey hooked up with sophomore wideout Quincy McDuffie on a 6-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter to close the game out.
While Calabrese finished with only one TD pass, he was precise, completing 12-of-15 passes for 176 yards. Sophomore running back Jonathan Davis rushed for 107 yards and one TD on 20 carries. Hard-hitting defensive backs Josh Robinson, Kemal Ishmael, and defensive end Bruce Miller led a UCF defense that limited South Dakota to only 220 yards of total offense.
UCF hosts North Carolina State (1-0) next Saturday. South Dakota visits Minnesota (0-1).