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Photo by: Isaac Babcock - Tulsa ran away with the lead in the second half of the game Nov. 3.
Winter Park / Maitland Observer Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011 10 years ago

Knights still have bowl chance

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Knights have a chance
by: Isaac Babcock Managing Editor

After a blowout and a tough loss, the Knights are looking for a strong finish to the season to have a shot at postseason play.

But Head Coach George O’Leary remained positive about his team’s fight to the finish.

“You always keep fighting regardless of what happens,” O’Leary said.

On Nov. 3, the Knights narrowly lost to a Tulsa team (6-3, 5-0) that hasn’t lost to a conference opponent. The Knights were coming off a 41-0 shutdown of Memphis that erased some bad memories from tough losses.

In that game the Knights out-passed Tulsa 226 yards to 203, but had crucial penalties and some stalled drives haunt them.

“We’ve gotta keep going for the end zone and not settle for field goals,” quarterback Jeff Godfrey said after the game.

Coming up Nov. 12, the Knights will face a Southern Miss team (7-1, 3-1) that as of Week 10 was ranked No. 25 in the BCS standings.

The Golden Eagles have dominated the Conference USA East standings since early in the season. After an early hiccup against Marshall that saw them lose their only matchup of the season, the Eagles went on a tear, ripping through six straight teams.

On Oct. 29, the Eagles smashed UTEP on the road, 31-13, wielding a balanced offense with 260 yards on the ground and 190 in the air. But their defense allowed UTEP to out-pass them, airing the ball out for 194 yards in the game. The air is where the Eagles allowed most of the Miners’ first downs, with the secondary failing to stop some big plays.

Big passing plays could be where the Knights’ Blake Bortles comes into the picture, having already shown himself capable of accurate shots downfield.

That’s not to say fleet-footed Godfrey won’t be able to give Southern Miss trouble. When the Eagles played Navy on Oct. 8, they had a hard time against sneaky quarterback Kriss Proctor, who threw for only 102 yards but ripped through the Southern Miss defense for 123 rushing yards. That option play gave Navy most of its 20 rushing first downs.

Godfrey remained optimistic about the Knights’ chances.

“You just keep pushing,” Godfrey said. “The season’s not over with yet.”

The Knights will have to take their show on the road to keep their season alive, and that means long odds already, with the Knights winless outside the Bright House. They’ll kick off against Southern Miss at 8 p.m. Nov. 12, with the game hitting the airwaves on CBS Sports Network.

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