With the UCF Knights down 17-7 at the half, the team looked like it was headed for its second straight loss after a poor performance in the first half. A Brynn Harvey four-yard TD run and a Nick Cattoi 44-yard field goal in the third quarter rallied the Knights (2-1) to a 23-17 victory over the Buffalo Bulls (1-2) Saturday night at Bright House Networks stadium.
UCF began the game strong on a Harvey two-yard TD run to give the Knights a 7-0 lead at the end of the opening quarter. The Bulls then scored 17 unanswered points in the second quarter to give them a nice lead going into halftime
. Bulls tight end Jesse Rack made up two of those Buffalo scores—one on a six-yard TD reception from Zach Maynard and the other on a 34-yard TD catch from Naaman Roosevelt.
Rack finished the game with 76 yards and two TD's on five receptions for Buffalo.
While the Knights were down at the end of the first half, they certainly weren't out. UCF capitalized on a rejuvenated home crowd and a flowing offense to climb their way back into the football game.
Wake Forest transfer Brett Hodges, who has replaced Rob Calabrese as the team's starting quarterback, combined with Harvey to lead the UCF assault.
In a four minute span, Hodges and Harvey took control of the drive, combining for 73 yards that ended with a Harvey four-yard TD run. Hodges got the drive going, connecting with Kamar Aiken for a 40-yard pass that got UCF into Bulls territory, eventually leading to the Harvey TD to get the Knights within three points.
With under four minutes left in the third, Cattoi knotted the game at 17 with his 44-yard field goal.
The kicker carried his momentum in the fourth, first breaking the tie with a 22-yard field goal and then sealing the game with a 42-yarder with 1:33 left in regulation. Cattoi had three field goals in the second half and was a big contributor in the UCF victory.
While Cattoi, Hodges, and Harvey received most of the credit for the UCF comeback, the Knight defense in the second half cannot go unnoticed. The defense held Buffalo to 97 yards in the final half and only let the Bulls get into their territory twice.
Hodges once again proved his worth, completing 15 of 20 passes for 141 yards, as well as rushing for 71 yards on 13 carries for a very well-rounded game. The QB threw for over 100-yards for the third straight game, which is as many games he's been in a UCF uniform.
The Knights got another strong performance from Harvey, who rushed for 98 yards on 25 carries with two touchdowns. The sophomore back already has more rushing touchdowns than he had all of last year, and is on track to slaughter the 519 yards he posted last season.
The Knights will look to build off their victory against Buffalo when they travel to East Carolina next weekend to face off against a tough Pirate team, who are the reigning Conference-USA East Division champs. The game is set for 3:30 pm.