• UCF airs it out in spring game

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    ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - After 14 practice sessions which began March 13, the UCF football team concluded spring camp Saturday with the annual Spring Game at Bright House Networks Stadium. Fans witnessed just how explosive the aerial attack could be for the Knights in 2013 as the first team defeated the second and third teams, 45-6.

     

    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).

     

    Junior quarterback Blake Bortles went 18-for-24 for 276 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions, while backup Tyler Gabbert finished 13-for-21 with 174 yards. Bortles completed 10-straight passes at one point, and in the second half the Oviedo native played in just the final two minutes of the fourth quarter. The two biggest targets were J.J. Worton, who hauled in eight balls for 163 yards and two scores, and Jeff Godfrey, who dazzled with seven receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown.

     

    Comparing the first day of camp to the final practice April 11, the Knights’ first-team offense remained the same throughout the workouts. It was over on the defensive side of the ball where the biggest positions battles were occurring and they were on display Saturday as well.

     

    Up front, defensive ends Thomas Niles (six tackles, 3.0 sacks) and Deion Green (4 tackles, 3.0 sacks) combined for 10 tackles and 6.0 sacks. Mark Rucker led the linebackers with six tackles and two tackles for loss, while Domenic Spencer also added six tackles. In the secondary, D.J. Killings, Nicco Whigham and Jamar McClain had break-ups, but it was Michael Easton’s 59-yard interception return that prevented the offense from scoring inside the red zone.

     

    On the first drive of the game, Bortles started his connections with Worton and Godfrey, as UCF marched down the field only to be stopped by Rucker on third down, forcing a 22-yard field goal by Rodrigo Quirarte to make it 3-0. Gabbert then led the Knights on the next drive with a 49-yard pass to Josh Reese to get inside the 10-yard line. Unable to reach the end zone against the top defensive unit, Shawn Moffitt converted a 23-yard field goal to tie things up.

     

    That was as close as the Knights would get to the UCF first team, with Storm Johnson busting out for a 15-yard touchdown run. Keeping momentum on the UCF sideline, Niles had two sacks and a hurry to force a punt. Bortles then  hit Worton to stretch the lead to 17-3 at the end of the first quarter.

     

    In the second quarter, redshirt freshman Troy Green and true freshmen Pete DiNovo and Justin Holman finally started getting some action behind center. It would be Holman who broke out, as he would go on to post a 9-for-12 performance with 110 yards and two touchdowns. With the first-team offense, Holman went 4-for-4 for 80 yards and a touchdown to Godfrey on his first drive, bringing the advantage to 24-3 at the break.

     

    Gabbert would open the second half and would face a difficult situation when Deion Green earned his second sack of the day to force third and long. A long pass to Johnson, though, kept the 6-minute drive going. But Easton ended the threat with his interception near the goal line. That led to a 27-yard field goal by Moffitt and a 24-6 deficit for the Knights.

     

    UCF continued to roll along against the Knights in the fourth quarter, where Cedric Thompson delivered a 9-yard touchdown run and Holman enabled Worton to pick up his second touchdown reception of the day with a 6-yard score.

     

    With the first-team defense preventing any opportunity to light up the scoreboard, Bortles returned for the first time since the first half to work the 2-minute drill. Starting from the his own 31-yard line, the signal-caller had little trouble, highlighted by a third-down conversion and a 12-yard touchdown pass to Jacques Mackeroy to wrap up the scoring.

     

    UCF Spring Football Game Statistics

    Passing

    Blake Bortles – 18-24, 276 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 29 LG

    Tyler Gabbert – 13-21, 174 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 49 LG

    Justin Holman – 9-12, 110 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 44 LG

    Pete DiNovo – 3-6, 32 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 16 LG

    Troy Green – 1-4, 4 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 4 LG

     

    Rushing

    Storm Johnson – 14 carries, 67 yards, 4.8 average, 1 TD, 15 LG

    Cedric Thompson – 11 carries, 52 yards, 4.7 average, 1 TD, 10 LG

    Harrison Ballard – 3 carries, 6 yards, 2.0 average, 0 TD, 3 LG

    Blake Tiralosi – 3 carries, 3 yards, 1.0 average, 0 TD, 5 LG

     

    Receiving

    J.J. Worton – 8 receptions, 163 yards, 20.4 average, 2 TD, 44 LG

    Jeff Godfrey – 7 receptions, 107 yards, 15.3 average, 1 TD, 29 LG

    Breshad Perriman – 6 receptions, 61 yards, 10.2 average, 0 TD, 19 LG

    Storm Johnson – 5 receptions, 40 yards, 8.0 average, 0 TD, 20 LG

    Josh Reese – 4 receptions, 78 yards, 19.5 average, 0 TD, 49 LG

    Rannell Hall – 4 receptions, 48 yards, 12.0 average, 0 TD, 24 LG

    Cedric Thompson – 4 receptions, 47 yards, 11.8 average, 0 TD, 19 LG

    Jacques Mackeroy – 2 receptions, 21 yards, 10.5 average, 1 TD, 12 LG

    Taylor Oldham – 2 receptions, 9 yards, 4.5 average, 0 TD, 7 LG

    Justin Tukes – 1 reception, 11 yards, 11.0 average, 0 TD, 11 LG

    Christopher Nahat – 1 reception, 4 yards, 4.0 average, 0 TD, 4 LG

     

    Defense

    Mark Rucker – 7 tackles, 2 TFL

    Jared Henry – 6 tackles

    Brendin Straubel – 6 tackles, 0.5 sack, 1.5 TFL

    Sean Beckton – 6 tackles

    D.J. Killings – 6 tackles, 1 break-up

    Miles Pace – 6 tackles

    Domenic Spencer – 6 tackles

    Thomas Niles – 6 tackles, 3.0 sacks, 3 TFL, 1 hurry

    Michael Easton – 5 tackles, 3 break-ups, 1 INT

    Willie Mitchell – 5 tackles

    Nicco Whigham – 5 tackles, 1 break-up

    Terrance Plummer – 5 tackles, 1 TFL

    Maurice Russell – 5 tackles

    Brandon Alexander – 4 tackles, 1.0 sack, 1 TFL

    Deion Green – 4 tackles, 3.0 sacks, 3 TFL

    Clayton Geathers – 3 tackles

    Jamar McClain – 3 tackles, 1 break-up

    Tyler Linde – 3 tackles, 0.5 sack, 0.5 TFL

    Cody Ralston – 3 tackles

    Jeremy Davis – 2 tackles

    Troy Gray – 2 tackles

    Stanley Sylverain – 1 tackle, 1.0 sack, 1 TFL

    Luke Adams – 1 tackle, 1.0 sack, 1 TFL

    Demetris Anderson – 1 tackle, 1.0 sack, 1 TFL

    E.J. Dunston – 1 tackle, 1.0 sack, 1 TFL

    Andrew Rice – 1 tackle

    David Nelson – 1 hurry

    Chester Brown – 1 hurry

     

    Punting

    Caleb Houston – 8 punts, 333 yards, 41.6 average, 56 LG

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