USF trails No. 9 UCF 17-3 at halftime. Even though there’s not much on the line for either team beside the War on I-4 trophy, the game is surprisingly close. Here’s what we’ve seen through the first half.
Milton is out
UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton was tackled on an outside run that ended right in front of USF’s bench. He went down and didn’t come back up. Almost every player from both benches made their way over to the fallen quarterback and took a knee.
Milton was carted off the field, but gave the crowd at Raymond James Stadium a fist pump showing that he would be okay.
Initial reports from social media say Milton suffered a dislocated knee.
Obviously, no decent person would wish the injury of such a talented, young football player. Milton being out for the rest of the game is a prime opportunity for the Bulls to capitalize, but they simply haven’t gotten the job done so far.
It is not a blowout
Despite what everyone might have been thinking going into this game, limiting the Knights to just a two-score lead is good for USF. In fact, both teams look pretty evenly-matched.
UCF outgained the Bulls 277-203, but more surprising is that both teams are having so much success on the ground. UCF has rushed for 181 yards and USF has rushed for 136.
The almost 50-yard difference shows that the USF players aren’t giving up on the game and will keep fighting until the end of regulation.
Kneeling to exit the half
Even though the players look like they are ready to play a competitive game, the Bulls’ coaching staff burnt a timeout with 21 seconds left in the half only to go out and kneel the ball to run out the rest of the clock going into halftime.
The Bulls were on their own 36-yard line. There was a clear opportunity to take some chances at putting points on the board before halftime, but the USF coaching staff chose to roll over and let the Knights take a 14-point lead into the half without even trying to score.
That mentality will have to change if USF expects to make this game competitive.