College Football

West Virginia Sends Central Florida To Fifth Straight Loss


UCF quarterback John Rhys Plumlee scores a rushing touchdown in the Knights’ 41-28 Homecoming loss to West Virginia. Photo by Debra Edgar

They rolled up more than 400 yards of offense for the sixth time this season, but the Central Florida Knights had trouble hanging onto the football and it cost them, ruining Homecoming in a 41-28 loss to West Virginia on Saturday at FBC Mortgage Stadium in Orlando.

The Knights (3-5, 0-5) dropped their fifth consecutive game after opening the season with three straight wins. They outgained the Mountaineers 463-450 but turned the ball over four times leading to 14 points for the visitors and that was the difference in the game.

Knights quarterback John Rhys Plumlee threw for 274 yards and three touchdowns. He completed 25 passes to nine different receivers and added 45 rushing yards and another score. But the Mountaineers picked off three of Plumlee’s passes, somewhat negating his productive day.

“Obviously we’re disappointed to lose at home the way we did,” said UCF head coach Gus Malzahn. “The bottom line is you’re not going to beat any team, for the most part, if you turn the ball over four times.”

Central Florida never led in the game, but a 34-yard touchdown pass from Plumlee to Kobe Hudson tied the game, 7-7, midway through the first quarter. West Virginia answered with a field goal and a 10-7 lead and the Knights played catch up the rest of the way.

Plumlee’s 8-yard touchdown run pulled the Knights to within 17-14 at halftime and his 7-yard scoring strike to Jarrad Baker drew UCF to a 24-21 score late in the third quarter.

West Virginia’s Devin Carter (No. 5) led the Mountaineers with 47 yards on three pass receptions in their 41-28 victory over UCF in Orlando. Photo by Debra Edgar

However, the Mountaineers scored on all three possessions in the fourth quarter, adding 17 points to their total, to pull away. The Knights could only answer with another touchdown pass from Plumlee to Hudson, who caught three passes in the game for a team-high 66 yards.

RJ Harvey led the ground game for UCF with 100 yards on 14 carries, his third consecutive 100-yard game. Jason Johnson led the Knights defensively with a team-best 11 tackles, including 7 solos.

While the Knights moved the football through the air, West Virginia did its damage on the ground. Five Mountaineers rushers totaled 286 yards and all five touchdowns. CJ Donaldson led the way with 121 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, and kicker Michael Hayes added a pair of field goals.

Garrett Greene, who rushed for 55 yards on 11 carries, found the end zone three times on short runs of 6, 7, and 1 yard. Jahiem White also had a big game for the Mountaineers, rushing for 85 yards and a touchdown on 9 carries.

Beanie Bishop Jr. highlighted the West Virginia defensive effort with a pair of interceptions totaling 51 return yards. Lee Kpogba handed in a team-high eight tackles, including a sack, and forced a fumble.

They combined to help send UCF to another tough loss in their first season in the Big 12. The Knights will once again look for their first conference victory next Saturday, Nov. 4, when they visit Cincinnati to face the Bearcats for a 3:30 p.m. ET kickoff.

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