Thursday, October 02, 2014

Houston falls to UCF 17-12; UH's Bullard connects on four field goals

Greg Ward Jr. fights for another yard against UCF at
TDECU Stadium.
Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved.
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2014 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (October 2, 2014) Kicking four field goals by Kyle Bullard was not enough for the University of Houston to overcome the UCF Knights, as the Cougars fall in their first conference game of 2014 by the score of 17-12 at TDECU Stadium in Houston on Thursday, October 2, 2014.

All four field goals came at the end of sustained drives by the Cougars, but their inability to get the ball in the end zone for six points virtually locked the game up in favor of the Knights.

Multi-position player Greg Ward, Jr., who saw action as quarterback, punt returner and wide receiver, came into the game in the second half and directed a comeback that nearly saw the Cougars pull out the win.

Driving down the field with under two minutes left in the game, Ward made a last ditch attempt for a score. Rushing the last 19 yards towards the end zone, Ward was denied the touchdown as a result of a viscous hit by free safety Brandon Alexander, forcing a fumble into the end zone at the one-yard line.

The Knights took possession of the ball with 24 seconds left in the game and killed the ball by taking a knee.

The Cougars got on the scoreboard after recovering a UCF fumble, with an eight play, 27 yard drive with a 39-yard field goal by KyleBullard to take the score to 3-0 at the 9:50 mark in the first quarter.

With the fumble recovery, Houston has taken the ball away from an opponent in 28 straight games. That is second nationally in the FBS.

The Knights, capitalizing on a five-play, 25 yard drive, took the lead on a six-yard pass by quarterback Justin Holman to wide receiver Jackie Williams to put six point on the board. Shawn Moffitt split the uprights for the extra point to give UCF a 7-3 lead with 9:27 remaining in the half.

A young Houston Cougars fan enjoys the game at TDECU Stadium.
Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved
Houston cut the Knights’ lead to one, when Bullard connected from 42-yard out for his second field goal of the game. The Cougars’ scoring drive was 12 plays covering 56 yards and lasted 3:54.

At the halftime break, the score remained 7-6 in favor of the Knights.

UCF extended their lead by eight points when Holman found wide receiver Breshad Perriman open on the left side flat, sending the ball sailing for a 52 yard touchdown. Moffitt again secured the extra point to give the Knights a 14-6 lead.

Houston began their possession and on a second and ten play, quarterback John O’Korn had a pass picked off by free safety Brandon Alexander, resulting in a four play drive that added three points to Knights’ total. Moffitt added the three points with a 42-yard field goal to increase UCF’s lead to 17-6.

After the kickoff and resulting touchback, Greg Ward, Jr. was given the quarterback duties; quickly mounting a drive 40 yard drive that was hampered by penalties. Houston was forced to punt on a fourth-and-32 yard play, giving the ball back to UCF on their 30-yard line.

Their drive stalled; forcing a punt which was caught by Ward, Jr. He stayed in the game as quarterback and promptly began another drive. Houston capped the 49 yard dive with a 51 yard field goal by Bullard to take the score to 17-9 in favor of UCF.

Bullard’s third field goal of the game was the longest of his career. His previous best was 46-yards in 2013 against Louisville. He added a fourth field goal of 49-yards, with 4:46 remaining in the game to make the score 17-12.

Both teams were plagued with penalties with Houston being flagged 11 times for 99 yards and UCF feeling the heat on 10 plays for 90 yards.

Ward, who completed 10-of-17 passes for 116 yards, also rushed nine times for 40 yards.

Running back Ryan Jackson carried the ball six times for 53 yards while Demarcus Ayers caught seven passes for 90 yards.

Defensively, linebacker Efrem Oliphant accounted for 10 tackles, followed by Joey Mbu with eight and Gavin Stansbury and Adrian McDonald with seven each.

With the loss, the Cougars have dropped their last four games against UCF.

Houston will hit the road for an October 11 meeting against Memphis. Houston leads the series against the Tigers with a 13-9 record, downing them by the score of 25-15 last year in Houston.

The Cougars are now 2-3 for the season and 0-1 in The American Conference.

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