Kickoff is finally here as the 2023 college football season is underway. UCF joined the Big 12 Conference back in July as an official member and on Thursday night they kicked off the Big 12 football season against the Kent State Golden Flashes. The atmosphere was electric, and the excitement was contagious as the Knights put a beatdown on the Golden Flashes in their home opener. Here are my three thoughts on UCF’s 56-6 win over Kent State.
1. UCF’s Offense Was on Fire
It’s still summer which means temperatures are still high in the southern part of the country. We all know that Florida can get hot and humid but there was nothing hotter in the sunshine state than the UCF offense on Thursday night. The Knights scored early and often, and it didn’t take long before the score got out of hand.
Quarterback John Rhys Plumlee threw for over 280 yards and three touchdowns on the night. He also added 90 yards on the ground and had a rushing score as well. He did throw two interceptions but overall, he looked good. The rushing attack carried the offense in this one as they had a whopping 389 yards on the ground. Johnny Richardson led the team with 100 yards and RJ Harvey had a nice game as well with 84 yards and a score. I must also give credit to the offensive line for doing a great job too. UCF racked up a total of 723 yards on the night and if not for a few turnovers and penalties they probably would have gone over 800.
2. The Defense Was Ready
I know a lot of attention will go to the offense but how about this UCF defense? The allowed just 240 yards in a blowout game and absolutely shut down the Kent State run game as they gave up just 95 yards on the ground. Outside of one big play, they never really allowed the Golden Flashes to get in a rhythm and kept them out of the end zone which is impressive. There’s no doubt that the competition will get tougher as the year goes on, but UCF fans have to be happy about the way this defense played in this game.
3. Welcome to the Big 12
It’s been over two years in the making and the time has finally come for this university. UCF became an official member of the Big 12 back and July and on Thursday they got the chance to kick off the 2023 football season for the conference. It was really awesome to see the new conference logos on the field and on the jerseys because it made the wait worthwhile. The bounce house was rocking, and I got chills when the team ran out of the tunnel before the game started.
I know there is still plenty of football left to be played but I hope UCF fans took a moment on Thursday to truly appreciate just how far this football program has come. Welcome to the Big 12 UCF. We are happy to have you here.