Tech Football headed to Orlando, Florida this weekend to face the University of Central Florida (UCF). The team faced the UCF Knights on Saturday, September 24 at FBC Mortgage Stadium. Despite a hard-fought game, the Jackets lost 27-10 to the Knights.
The Jackets started the first quarter cautiously. The offense had just 36 total yards and the defense gave up 102 yards and a field goal. Tech recorded an interception during the first Quarter. The Jackets were down 3-0 after the quarter.
Statistically, the team did better in the second quarter with 175 total yards on offense and gave up just 58 yards to UCF, but it gave up another field goal and touchdown to UCF. Tech scored his only touchdown of the day in the second quarter. At half time it was 13:7 in favor of the knights.
The Jackets had more than double the Knights’ offensive power in the third quarter. Tech had 63 yards on the ground and 101 yards in the air for a total of 164 yards while UCF had just 59 total yards. Each team kicked a field goal and the score was 16-10 heading into the fourth quarter.
UCF gained momentum and didn’t miss out on their home field, scoring 11 points in the fourth quarter. The Knights had 108 yards on offense to the Jackets’ 22. Tech defense stopped the passing game — they gave up just eight yards — but they folded under play and gave up 108 yards on the floor.
Overall, the jackets weren’t up to their standard, but they did have a few highlights that should be recognized. The team rushed for 138 yards in the run game and 314 yards in the passing game. Running play was the second-best seen by the Jackets all year, just totaling fewer yards than the game against Western Carolina.
The 314 passing yards were the result of a productive day for sophomore quarterback Jeff Sims. This was a season high for Sims, who went 21-32 with one touchdown and no interceptions. This production of Sims is all the more impressive considering the four sacks by the UCF defense.
The leading leader of the game was senior running back Hassan Hall, who rushed for 54 yards. Sims and redshirt junior Dontae Smith followed with 38 yards and 37 yards, respectively. Senior receiver Malachi Carter scored a touchdown and led the team in receiving yards for 89 yards. Sophomore wideout Nate McCollum also had a productive night producing 51 yards on six receptions.
On the defensive front, a few familiar names led the team in tackles. Senior linebackers Charlie Thomas and Ayinde Eley each had 10s tackles at night.
The Jackets went 1-3 on field goals. Jude Kelley scored a 42-yard field goal, however missed from 32 and 37 yards.
When the Jackets could hold the ball and control the clock, they were solid overall, but when UCF controlled the clock with their dominant running game, Tech collapsed under the pressure. That loss moves the Jackets up to 1-3 in their season, which isn’t the start the institute expected from the 2022-2023 team, raising questions about the future of the team.
Tech believers are concerned about the direction their soccer team is taking. What was once considered one The Division I powerhouse has blossomed into a questionable team on a weekly basis.
The Jackets, despite their lackluster record so far, have had plenty of support from their home crowd. When the Jackets return home to Bobby Dodd Stadium for Homecoming on October 8th, they will hopefully have a better production for the Atlanta crowd. The jackets could definitely use a big game to clear up some of the issues surrounding them their current performance.