ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – UCF fans were introduced to a brand new style of football on Saturday at the #UCFastival Spring Game inside Bright House Networks Stadium, presented by CFE Federal Credit Union. First-year head coach Scott Frost and the Knights put the no-huddle, spread offense on full display as Gold defeated Black, 21-10, in front of a UCF Spring Game record 23,147 fans.
The Knights were drafted into two teams by the coaching staff earlier in the week, and the game featured standard rules in the first half and a running clock in the second half. There were no kickoffs and no returns on punts.
As expected, the word of the day was “fast.”
“I want to tell all of the fans thank you for showing up today and supporting us,” Frost said. “I can’t tell you how much enthusiasm I felt, and excitement around the program. I’m really proud of our guys. I just got done telling them in the locker room, where they’ve come from December to where I see them now is a huge step. But I want them to understand that’s a first step.”
-Official 2016 #UCFastival Spring Game attendance: 23,147
-Although official numbers have not been kept, UCF previously averaged about 4-5,000 fans for spring games. Entering the day, approximately 15,000 free tickets had been scooped up online.
-On the very first drive, it was proven that the defense is usually ahead of the offense before a season starts. For Black, a Joey Connors break-up on the first play as well as an Errol Clarke sack forced a punt.
-Gold got the ball back as Justin Holman hit Tre’Quan Smith for a 42-yard reception on a 3rd-and-17 play. Smith’s longest catch in 12 games last year was 44 yards.
-The first points of the night came with Garrett Kruczek at quarterback. Although he was sacked by Mark Rucker, Kruczek connected with tight end Cal Bloom for 37 yards to get in the red zone. That set up an 8-yard touchdown run by C.J. Jones to make it 7-0 Gold.
-Both team’s defenses racked up plenty of sacks during the evening, while newly-turned defensive back Blake Tiralosi had an interception for Gold.
-Black did get on the board when Tyler Harris operated on a short field, giving way to a 33-yard field goal by Donald Delahaye.
-In the second half, Gold immediately stretched the lead to 14-3 as Holman found Trey Anderson for 31 yards and Taj McGowan ran it in for 18 yards.
-Black kept it close when Tyler Harris located Michael Colubiale in triple coverage as the tight end absorbed the hits for a 37-yard touchdown, bringing the score to 14-10.
-Black tried to keep momentum on its side with a Jeremy Boykins interception, however Gold pounced at the end of the game.
-With Kruczek back leading the Gold offense as it tried to run out the clock, it did one better as the sophomore located Mac Loudermilk, UCF’s second-string punter who is trying out tight end this spring, with a 46-yard touchdown pass. Loudermilk caught the deep ball around the 10-yard line and dragged a defender all of the way into the end zone.
-Over 100 former UCF football players returned during #UCFastival weekend, including current and former NFL players Kamar Aiken, Atari Bigby, A.J. Bouye, Leger Douzable, Rannell Hall, Kemal Ishmael, Brandon Marshall, Bruce Miller, Latavius Murray, Breshad Perriman, Terrance Plummer, Josh Robinson and Torell Troup.
-Several other Knights came back during Spring Camp.
Fans were treated to an all-day extravaganza of activities on campus. Parking lots opened around the stadium at 9 a.m. while Memory Mall was packed with tailgaters when it opened at noon.
Also at noon, the UCF baseball team began its second game of a three-game set with USF and shut out the Bulls, 4-0. Beyond the right field fence by IOA Plaza, approximately 20 food trucks served up food and refreshments throughout the afternoon.
The #UCFastival also featured the Athletic Director’s VIP Tailgate, and thousands of fans invaded IOA Plaza for the headlining band Vertical Horizon as well as music from The Landsharks and Black Canvas. Although wind gusts limited how much they could do, there also were Monster Energy Freestyle MX shows and autograph sessions for fans.
With 2016 Spring Camp completed, UCF will now turn its attention to the offseason. However, there will be plenty of memorable events to look forward to as the Knights will be announcing dates for their upcoming #ChargeOn Coaches Tour around the state of Florida.
UCF will return to the field in early August in preparation for the 2016 season, which kicks off Saturday, Sept. 3, against South Carolina State.