UCF Knights Make A Statement With 56-6 Win Over Kent State In Big 12 Debut
UCF Knights marked their entry into the Big 12 Conference with a spectacular nonconference game against Kent State Golden Flashes in Orlando. The Knights put on an impressive display, securing a resounding 56-6 victory.
Big 12 Conference Debut
After months of anticipation, UCF officially commenced its inaugural season in the Big 12 Conference. The game, held at the Bounce House in Orlando, saw the Knights taking on Kent State.
Expansion of Big 12
UCF’s entry into the Big 12 was part of a larger expansion plan. Following the departure of Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC, UCF, along with Cincinnati, BYU, and Houston, accepted invitations to join the Big 12. This year, the Big 12 featured 14 teams, with Utah, Arizona, Arizona State, and Colorado set to join next year.
UCF and Kent State had history as they were once rivals in the Mid-American Conference from 2002 to 2004. Their encounter marked the fifth meeting between the schools, with both having two wins each. Kent State, predicted to finish last in the East Division, faced a daunting task against UCF, who entered the game as a five-touchdown favorite.
The game showcased the dominance of UCF, with quarterback John Rhys Plumlee leading the charge. Despite facing two interceptions and a fumble, Plumlee delivered a stellar performance, completing 22 of 30 passes for 281 yards and three touchdowns, while also contributing 90 rushing yards and another score.
UCF outgained Kent State significantly, amassing 723 total yards compared to Kent State’s 240, including a commanding 389-98 advantage in rushing yards.
UCF continued to dominate in the second half, with RJ Harvey making an impact, including a 48-yard touchdown run that extended their lead to 42-3.
John Rhys Plumlee demonstrated his versatility, not only excelling in passing but also scoring a rushing touchdown and accumulating a total of 310 combined yards.
At halftime, UCF held a commanding 28-3 lead over Kent State, with Plumlee accounting for 154 passing yards, 90 rushing yards, and three total touchdowns.
UCF made a strong start to the game, scoring early with a 9-yard touchdown pass from Plumlee to Xavier Townsend, taking a 7-0 lead.
UCF won the coin toss and chose to receive, commencing the game with their opening possession on their own 25-yard line.
Impending National Anthem
As the national anthem approached, the UCF band took the field, adding to the anticipation of the game.
UCF entered the game as five-touchdown favorites, aiming for their eighth consecutive season-opening win, while coach Gus Malzahn boasted an impressive 11-0 record in home openers throughout his coaching career.
Despite a severe thunderstorm earlier in the day, the game’s start time remained unaffected. The Knights hosted Kent State in a historic clash, marking UCF’s first game as a member of the Big 12 Conference.
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