Knights win 38-7
The UCF Knights football team walked away with a big 38-7 win against Akron on Aug. 29, but not without early stumbles that left the game in question before the half.
Most of quarterback Blake Bortles' passes hit his receivers square in the numbers Thursday night, but that didn't translate into consistent catches early. Most of his passes beyond 20 yards went in and out of the hands of experienced receivers who had few receptions last year, particularly with Breshad Perriman.
Many of the Knights first downs in the second quarter came on Akron penalties rather than offensive successes. But the Knights' rusty offense eventually smoothed things out and started working. Once receivers started consistently catching Bortles' passes, the Knights started to walk away with the game.
Shawn Moffitt iced the second quarter with a 32-yard field goal to send the Knights off the field well ahead. By halftime Bortles had nearly 250 yards in the air and the Knights were sitting on a 24-0 cushion.
In the second half, the Knights turned up the pressure again, with running backs Storm Johnson and Rannell Hall helping move the ball down the field while versatile receiver J.J. Worton used tricky footwork to make defenders miss.
Meanwhile an untested UCF defensive crew dominated the Zips, forcing punt after punt after stalling drives, most of which ended before the Zips crossed midfield.
By the fourth quarter the Knights were largely platooning second stringers and younger players to test them out. Though backup quarterback Tyler Gabbert, who entered to start the fourth, largely directed handoffs to run out the clock, he connected on one 5-yard pass out of three attempts, redeeming himself for nearly throwing an interception on his first pass attempt of the night.
Perriman ended up the most prolific receiver of the night with 113 yards on just three receptions, though he likely would have had more had he caught every ball that hit him between the numbers.
The Knights head to FIU for a showdown at 8 p.m. on Sept. 6. The last time the Knights played the Panthers a year ago they won 33-20. In that game Bortles threw for 261 yards, most of them coming in an explosive first half. But much of the Knights defense was far more experienced last season.