Fool's Gold

(Victor Calzada/AP)

UCF’s quest to repeat as the C-USA champions got off to a rough start Saturday, as the Knights were annihilated by the UTEP Miners, falling 58-13.

It was a case of Murphy’s Law for the Knights, as anything that seemingly could have gone wrong did. UCF had six turnovers, went 3-of-13 on third-down attempts and saw the ball bounce UTEP’s way time after time.

After the Miners took an early 3-0 lead, freshman running back Brynn Harvey ran to the right tackle and lost an unforced fumble, which was picked up by UTEP’s Robert Soleyjacks, who then lateraled the ball to Josh Ferguson. Ferguson waltzed into the end zone, as the play epitomized the night for both teams.

UCF fought back, as true freshman quarterback Rob Calabrese found Kamar Aiken for a seven-yard touchdown pass, bringing the game to 17-7. Calabrese started the game for the Knights, but finished 13-of-31 for 167 yards a touchdown and two interceptions.

After Calabrese’s lone touchdown toss, UTEP scored twice more to end the half, including a school record 64-yard field goal by Jose Martinez.

Things only got worse for the Knights as the game progressed, as botched snaps, blown coverages and other unseemly plays buried the team. The game was capped off when reserve quarterback Joe Weatherford was hit in UCF’s end zone and fumbled the ball, which was recovered by UTEP for a touchdown.

To add injury to insult, senior left tackle Patrick Brown went down with what appears to be a serious knee injury, and senior wide receiver Rocky Ross appeared to injure his upper body.

The Knights will host conference foe SMU next week, but there will likely be some serious changeups between now then. UCF had high expectations entering the season, and while a bowl game and a C-USA title are still viable goals, this embarrassing loss to a UTEP team who had previously lost nine consecutive games serves as a strong setback.

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