No support and missed opportunities seemed to be the norm for the Panthers as they opened up at home against the Knights of Central Florida. Friday night came and went and by the looks of it, the Panthers may have been happy it didn’t last any longer.
In a stadium filled with Knights fans and their rambunctious band, home field advantage didn’t seem to make a factor at all. Blown coverages, pressure on quarterback Jake Medlock and dropped passes all seemed to become habit in the home opener.
After losing 38-0, the team has been outscored by a combined 81-10 in just two games, as well as being outgained 966-354 in total yards.
On Friday, the Panthers seemed to finally get some motivation going as a series of quick slants from Medlock to receiver Fred Porter brought the Panthers to a 34-yard field goal, though a wide right by kicker Sergio Sroka failed to put points on the board at the half.
To the naked eye, one would say this team is on a downhill spiral to the point of no return, but to Medlock, there isn’t a drop of concern.
“I feel we improved 100 percent,” Medlock said. “Even though we’re a young team, we’re very athletic, very talented. We moved the ball.”
I’m going to assume he meant moving the ball after the first quarter. The Panthers failed to get one first down throughout the quarter, and finished the game with 10, to the Knights 16.
The highlight of the game went to UCF’s six-foot monster of a running back Storm Johnson. Johnson ran for 89 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries.
“He’s one of the best backs we’ll play,” senior defensive tackle Greg Hickman said. “I think we did pretty well for the most part.”
Quarterback Blake Bortles had his was with the Panther defense. Going 12 for 19, 214 yards and a touchdown, with two big plays to receiver Rannell Hall for 60 yards, and then 34.
It looks like a week of training and watching tape of last week’s game didn’t seem to help the defense work on over commitment by their secondary. All of them coming from corners Sam Miller and Randy Harvey, along with another for Justin Halley.
“We still make too many mistake,” Head Coach Ron Turner said. “We made mistakes we can’t have. We played a very good football team; let’s give them credit. We had opportunities to make plays in the first quarter on offense, defense and special teams.”
Halley, a redshirt junior, continued where he left off from last week. Must be missing his former teammate Johnathan Cyprien. Halley also dropped an easy interception.
The offense also hurt themselves with penalties. Four of them for 31 yards. Not a lot on the box score, but costly when they turned third-and-short plays to third-and-long plays. Plays that would later fall short of converting to a first down.
The Panthers will now look to try and fix those mental mistakes once again as they face the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats. The Wildcats will enter FIU Stadium undefeated, recently beating Virginia Union 66-7.