Houston Cougars Get Edged By UCF Knights; Lose 17-12


The Houston Cougars went into their week off with a encouraging beat down of the UNLV Rebels 47-14 some two weeks ago.

As we fast forward to last night’s prime-time match up against the UCF Knights, the Coogs had all of the ingredients of a recipe for success.

The aforementioned rest from a week prior, the allure of facing a quality opponent, the excitement of being on national television and the spacious, high-tech surroundings of the spanking brand-new TDECU Stadium.

It seemed like that mix was perfect for the Coogs to get their third win of the season but there were missteps that occurred that prevented them from doing so.

It was a valiant effort by the team and they were in the game because both teams struggled to create any type of potent offense.

It’s Kyle Bullard and Greg Ward Jr. who were the team’s saviors this game.

I’m not quite sure where the team would’ve been without them.

Bullard scored all of the Coogs’ points…

Oct 2, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Cougars place kicker Kyle Bullard (39) celebrates after making a 51 yard field goal during the fourth quarter against the Central Florida Knights at TDECU Stadium. The Knights defeated the Cougars 17-12. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

And Ward almost won the game for the team single-handily!

It definitely wasn’t John O’Korn‘s doing, who stunk it up so bad that he had to be pulled from the game but was put back in and then back out for good.

The team’s third win of the season will have to be put on hold — at least for another week.

Let’s get to it…

The Coogs simply were not getting it done early in.  O’Korn was leading too many unproductive drives and they ended up either having to go three-and-out and punt or rely on Bullard.

And did they ever…

The Coogs struck first by getting on the board with a Bullard 39-yarder early in the 1st quarter.  Coogs 3, UCF 0

After the Coogs forced UCF to a quick, 2:30 drive, O’Korn was able to lead a productive 79-yard drive but got stalled at the goal line on the next series.  The bright spot from that drive was that Ward made a 36-yard catch that really moved the chains.

Oct 2, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Cougars running back Kenneth Farrow (35) rushes during the first quarter against the Central Florida Knights at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

However, it wasn’t enough for O’Korn to stay out there, he was replaced by Ward who also is a capable signal-caller to man the offense for a bit.

Tony Levine seemed to be in need of spark — something that could get the offense moving and that was Ward who took charge and lead the offense as quick as his legs could carry him.

However, starting in the 2nd quarter, Deontay Greenberry‘s holding penalty cost the team a down and Ward was unable to covert making that opening quarter drive a -7 yards.

Then O’Korn was summoned back in the game for duty…

O’Korn was intercepted shortly after the next time the Coogs got the ball back and the next UCF drive resulted in a six-yard touchdown pass from Justin Holman to Jackie Williams off a quick, five-play, 25-yard, 2:35 drive.  The PAT kick was good by Shawn MoffittUCF 7, Coogs 3

Just before the end of the half, after things stalled again, Bullard was called upon and he connected on a 42-yarder to close the gap before the half.  UCF 7, Coogs 6

UCF struck again with 10:27 left in the 3rd quarter with a Holman touchdown pass to Breshad Perriman for 52 yards off a first-and-10.  UCF 14, Coogs 6


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O’Korn wasn’t able to get any significant gains and he was benched for good in favor of Ward the rest of the way.

There were some drives that kept things moving but it wasn’t enough to get into the end zone which is always the ultimate goal.

The offense was left up to each team’s kickers…

Bullard had two field goals in the 4th, a 51- and 49-yarder and Moffitt had a 42-yarder in the 3rd to round it out.

This game was far from pretty to watch but Bullard did keep the team in the game with the four field goals he had.

Toward the end with about 30 seconds left, Ward made a quite a jaunt toward the end zone for 19 yards, giving everything he had to try to win the game for the Coogs.

But Brandon Alexander made a heck of a game-ending play as Ward was about to cross the plane of the end zone.  He knocked the ball out of Ward’s hands causing him to fumble, ultimately sealing the fate of the Coogs.  Final Score: UCF 17, Coogs 12

Oct 2, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Cougars wide receiver Demarcus Ayers (10) makes a reception during the fourth quarter as Central Florida Knights defensive back Jacoby Glenn (12) defends at TDECU Stadium. The Knights defeated the Cougars 17-12. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

That would’ve been such an uplifting play for the team had he gotten the touchdown but it just wasn’t meant to be.

Ward did finish going 10-for-17 for 116 yards passing and O’Korn went 12-for-26 for 98 yards and two picks.

The leading rusher was the reliable Ryan Jackson with six carries for 53 yards and Kenneth Farrow chipped in with 11 carries for 50 yards.

The top wideout was Demarcus Ayers — he had seven catches for 90 yards despite being targeted only seven times.

It’s a tough loss for the team but it’s on to the next one.

The Coogs head up to Blues City to face the Memphis Tigers next Saturday.

The game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network and broadcast on KPRC 950 AM.

Go Coogs!