Central Florida’s Defense Comes Up Big in 19-14 Win Over Houston
Things like that happen when you have a freshman quarterback make an immediate impact like John O’Korn of Houston. A year ago, O’Korn was playing his second season of high school football in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. for St. Thomas Aquinas, one as a starter. This year, he has become one of the top quarterbacks in the AAC. Three years ago, he was splitting time as a high school sophomore starter in Huntingdon, Pa. before his family moved to Florida.
O’Korn will have his time, but Saturday night was UCF’s time.
Houston and Central Florida provided a lesson in how valuable preseason predictions are by shocking the experts and playing the marquee game of the league’s first season. It wasn’t the only stereotype the teams ripped up on Saturday night as the two explosive offenses were throttled by their less heralded defenses as Central Florida assumed the driver’s seat to the title with a 19-14 win in Orlando.
According to Sports Illustrated, Central Florida was picked to finish fourth, behind prohibitive favorite Louisville and three others, and Houston was picked fifth. That’s pretty much how it shook down in all of the other previews, too, with the teams behind Louisville taking turns in different spots.
The Cougars came into the game with one of the nation’s best offenses and they were the only team in the nation to score in every quarter. That ended quickly as the Black Knights became the first team to shut them out in the first quarter, a feat they followed up in the second quarter. Then they stopped O’Korn twice on third and fourth down in the final minute to secure the win.
Those stops probably opened the way to UCF’s first-ever BCS bowl bid.
Mike Gibson, an Associated Press Sports Editors’ Association and Keystone Press Association award-winner for Best Sports Story and Best Sports Feature, is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @papreps , “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.