Quarterbacks the focus of UCF spring game

by: UCF Athletics Department Updated:

ORLANDO, Fla. - UCF football fans were treated to more than just a relaxing, sunny day at Saturday’s annual spring game at Bright House Networks Stadium.

Prior to kickoff, pregame festivities were in full effect and featured several area food trucks, a kids’ fun zone and giveaways. The UCF Football Lettermen’s Club also had their spring barbeque on the practice fields. 

When it was all said and done, UCF defeated Knights, 25-10, and all three young quarterbacks saw a lot of action. Sophomore Justin Holman finished 18-for-31 for 165 yards, redshirt freshman Pete DiNovo went 10-for-20 with 117 yards, a touchdown and an interception and true freshman Tyler Harris was 5-for-11 with 38 yards and a pick.

Leading the receivers, J.J. Worton had six catches for 70 yards and a touchdown and Josh Reese also sported six receptions for 45 yards. On the ground, Dontravious Wilson posted 15 carries for 44 yards and a touchdown while William Stanback had five attempts for 108 yards, sparked by a 70-yard touchdown.

Defensively, Thomas Niles opened eyes with six sacks against the backup offense. Sean Beckton and Maurice Russell both had seven tackles, along with Niles.

The format Saturday featured the first-team offense (UCF) facing off with the second- and third-team defense (Knights), while the second- and third-team offense (Knights) battled the first-team defense (UCF).

UCF elected to play defense first and did not allow the Knights to move, forcing a 3-and-out on the first drive. Holman then led the first-team offense and connected with Rannell Hall immediately to get past the 50-yard line, but the momentum stalled as Beckton broke up a fourth-down pass to halt the drive.

DiNovo returned for the next drive and used his feet to scramble for the Knights’ first first down, only Niles picked up a sack on third down to force another punt. Working with the first team, running back Wilson helped UCF pick up a first down of its own, while receptions by Reese and Worton eased the drive into the redzone. But the Knights stepped up again, as Tyler Linde broke through to hold UCF on a 4th-and-1 rushing attempt from the 10-yard line.

When the Knights took over on downs at the 10, UCF snagged a 2-0 lead when a snap went over DiNovo’s head and was knocked out of the back of the end zone. The advantage stretched to 9-0 after a Worton catch and run put UCF on the Knights-12, and Wilson capped it off with a 5-yard burst.

DiNovo looked to cut into UCF’s lead, finding Michael Colubiale with a 22-yard reception before the first quarter ended. At the 50-yard line and up against fourth down, DiNovo found Taylor Oldham, who broke a tackle for a 15-yard pickup and ultimately set up a 43-yard field goal by Rodrigo Quirarte to make it 9-3 UCF. DiNovo went 5-for-5 on the drive.

For UCF, Holman hoped for an answer and collected his 10th completion of the day before reaching the Knights-39. Going for it on fourth down, the drive stalled on an incomplete pass.

With 7:59 to go in the first half, Harris stepped onto the Bright House Networks Stadium field for the first time, yet UCF delivered a 3-and-out. DiNovo to re-entered with the first team and witnessed Stanback get to the corner and outrun the defense for a 70-yard rushing touchdown. Moments later, another bad snap into the back of the end zone padded UCF’s cushion to 18-3.

When the Knights’ offense returned, Niles also returned for UCF, delivering his second sack of the day to bring up a punting situation.

Using its “fastball” offense with under two minutes to play, UCF started its drive with four-straight completions from Holman to Reese, Worton, Perriman and then Reese again to get to the UCF-49 yard line. Holman went with a QB draw to pick up a first down, though it was dropped by Miles Pace with 39 seconds left for a sack. Following a timeout, DiNovo took a shot out of bounds, causing a 15-yard penalty. On the next play, DiNovo threw into double coverage but had little doubt about the result, as Worton outstretched the defensive backs, brought it down and spun out of a tackle for a 33-yard touchdown catch and a 25-3 UCF lead entering the break.

The Spring Game went with a running clock for the majority of the second half. Punters Caleb Houston and Sean Galvin were in action when the second half began thanks to consecutive 3-and-outs. It stayed 25-3 when Niles came through with his fourth sack of the afternoon on another third down in the fourth quarter. The Knights finally breached the endzone with nine minutes remaining when defensive back Jared Henry came up with a pick six, cruising 45 yards to make it 25-10.

With the clock ticking down, neither offense could muster any more points as Holman and DiNovo had chances with under a minute to go, and UCF walked off with the 25-10 win.

With spring camp now in the books, UCF will now look ahead to the preseason in August. It will open the 2014 campaign in Dublin, Ireland, for the Croke Park Classic against Penn State Aug. 30. For more information, visit UCF.CrokeParkClassic.com.

2014 UCF Spring Game Final Statistics


Justin Holman – 18-31, 165 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT

Pete DiNovo – 10-20, 117 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

Tyler Harris – 5-11, 38 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT



Dontravious Wilson – 15 attempts, 44 yards, 1 TD

Justin Holman – 9 attempts, 7 yards

Pete DiNovo – 6 attempts, 11 yards

William Stanback – 5 attempts, 108 yards, 1 TD

Cedric Thompson – 3 attempts, 0 yards

Tyler Harris – 3 attempts, -17 yards

Rannell Hall – 2 attempts, 13 yards

Micah Reed – 2 attempts, 1 yard

Hayden Jones – 1 attempt, 2 yards

Josh Reese – 1 attempt, -1 yard

Michael Willett – 1 attempt, -1 yard



J.J. Worton – 6 catches, 70 yards, 1 TD

Josh Reese – 6 catches, 45 yards

Breshad Perriman – 4 catches, 39 yards

Rannell Hall – 3 catches, 43 yards

Taylor Oldham – 3 catches, 38 yards

Jackie Williams – 2 catch, 20 yards

Michael Colubiale – 1 catch, 22 yards

Jamari Fye – 1 catch, 17 yards

Hayden Jones – 1 catch, 11 yards

Dontravious Wilson – 1 catch, 6 yards

Chris Johnson – 1 catch, 6 yards

Blake Tiralosi – 1 catch, 6 yards

Cal Bloom – 1 catch, 4 yards

Mario Mathis – 1 catch, 0 yards

Micah Reed – 1 catch, -6 yards



Caleb Houston – 7 punts, 40.4 average, 46 Long

Sean Galvin – 2 punts, 47.5 average, 48 Long



Sean Beckton – 7 tackles, 1 break-up

Maurice Russell – 7 tackles

Thomas Niles – 7 tackles, 6 sacks, 2 hurries

Jordan Ozerities – 5 tackles, 1 break-up, 1 forced fumble

Tony Guerad – 5 tackles, 1 break-up, 1 sack

Jacoby Glenn – 4 tackles, 1 break-up, 1 INT

Mark Rucker – 4 tackles, 1 break-up, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery

Terrance Plummer – 4 tackles

Tyler Linde – 4 tackles

Troy Gray – 4 tackles

Shaquill Griffin – 3 tackles, 1 break-up

Clayton Geathers – 3 tackles

Miles Pace – 3 tackles, 1 sack

Jamonte Jones – 3 tackles, 2 break-ups

Domenic Spencer – 3 tackles

Shaquem Griffin – 2 tackles

Jared Henry – 2 tackles, 1 INT (TD)

Willie Mitchell – 2 tackles

Stanley Sylverain – 2 tackles, 1 hurry

Deondre Barnett – 2 tackles, 1 sack

Demetris Anderson – 2 tackles

Drico Johnson – 1 tackle

D.J. Killings – 1 tackle

Brendin Straubel – 1 tackle

Damonte Jones – 1 tackle

Rob Sauvao – 1 tackle