UCF Knights Lose to Penn State as Time Expires


Sep 14, 2013; University Park, PA, USA; Central Florida Knights quarterback Justin Holman (13) attempts to throw a pass prior to the game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Central Florida defeated Penn State 34-31. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O

UCF’s season opener ended in heartbreak as they were beaten 26-24 by Penn State in Dublin, Ireland as Sam Ficken kicked a 36-yard field goal as time expired.

The Knights had taken the lead with 1:13 left as Justin Holman, who had replaced the ineffective Pete DiNovo in the third quarter, ran in from six yards out.

Trailing 23-17, on fourth and 10, Holman hit Josh Reese for 37-yards and a first down. On the next play, Holman ran a quarterback draw to put UCF ahead.

However, it wouldn’t hold as Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg marched his side down the field allowing Ficken to kick the game-winner.

The game sprung to life in the second half after a pretty mundane first 30 minutes, which saw the Nittany Lions take a 10-3 lead.

After Penn State added another three points midway through the third, George O’Leary yanked DiNovo and replaced him with Holman.

The decision nearly worked.

Holman hit Breshard Perriman for a big gain that saw the receiver go down at the one but Holman ran it in on a quarterback sneak for the first touchdown of the year for UCF.

The three point deficit was short-lived however as Hackenberg connected Geno Lewis for 79-yards after the UCF secondary was all out of sync to put PSU up 20-10.

The Knights got back to within three as Holman hit Reese for a 10-yard score in the fourth before Ficken pushed Penn State’s lead to 23-17 with another field goal.

Then the crazy happened.

Holman finished the game 9-of-14 for 204 yards and a passing touchdown along with his two rushing scores. DiNovo was poor as he struggled to move the chains going 3-of-8 for 18 yards before being hooked.

Dontravious Wilson couldn’t get the run game going as he finished with just 34 yards on 21 carries. Starting running back William Stanback was inactive, as was receiver Rannell Hall.  Perriman caught three passes for 81 yards while J.J. Worten had 83 receiving yards on five catches.

PSU’s Lewis and DaeSean Hamilton combined for 338 receiving yards on 19 catches.

The Knights front seven played well as they restricted Penn State to 57 rushing yards on 28 carries. However, their secondary was carved up by Heckenberg who threw for 454 yards. He did throw two interceptions though as Jacoby Glenn and Jordan Ozerities picked off the sophomore quarterback.

UCF have next week off but their next game is on the road against Missouri on September 13.