The Cougars were seven yards away from a tremendous upset last Saturday night in Orlando. Unfortunately, they couldn't pull it off.
The Good: the Cougar defense held the #19-ranked Golden Knights to their lowest point total of the season, in part by forcing three UCF turnovers and not allowing a touchdown pass. Special teams blocked a field goal attempt, giving the offense great field position for their touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. Finally, while I'm not a big fan of moral victories, the fact that the Cougars were a deflected pass in the endzone from upsetting a ranked team on the road is rather remarkable, especially considering my expectations for this program heading into the season.
The Bad: Central Florida, likewise, held the Cougars to their lowest point total of the season, in part by playing stifling pass defense. Quarterback John O'Korn completed only about half of his pass attempts, was sacked three times, was intercepted once, and was forced to scramble on several occasions (although O'Korn did end up with 56 rushing yards and a touchdown for his efforts on the ground). Then there were the penalties: eight for 72 yards, including a targeting penalty that caused a UH defender to be ejected from the game. Most importantly, the Cougars had an excellent chance to win this one, with first and goal and only a minute or so remaining. They blew it.
What it Means: This loss essentially takes Houston out of the hunt for an American Athletic Conference title and BCS bowl appearance, and another tough road game against Louisville looms this weekend.