UCF Football: Never Leave Early!

By Trace Trylko

    Being a fan of the UCF football program often times feels like you’re riding a roller coaster of emotions. There’s no better example of this than the season finale at East Carolina.

    By now, we know how this script played out: UCF built a lead, watched as that lead eroded and finished the game with ESPN Sports Center’s Play of the Day.

University of Clutch Football indeed!

    Fortunate to be able to attend in person (and continuing a streak of 18 straight years of attending a UCF road game!), I bundled up for a night in the 40s, settled in with other black and gold loyalists and got ready to ride that roller coaster.

    I went in thinking it was a game we could win. But, when drive after drive resulted in field goals instead of touchdowns, I’ll admit, I started to doubt we’d close it out.

    Waiting for UCF to blow a game, a hallmark of many previous teams, is one UCF tradition that’s lasted longer than just about any other. The tales of heartbreak are endless, so many of them that so many of us watched unfold in person – I won’t soon forget being in the stands that chilly day at Jordan-Hare Stadium when UCF lost a heart-breaker at Auburn in the final seconds. We all have a painful road loss or three seared into our memories.

    But, back to THE PLAY: Breshad Perriman’s worthy sequel to J.J. Worton’s “Catch” last season at Temple.

    Let’s check out Wikipedia for a moment: A Hail Mary pass is a very long forward pass in American football, made in desperation with only a small chance of success, especially at or near the end of a half.

Have you ever been at a game when a Hail Mary pass propelled your favorite team to an improbable victory?

    Just like that IT happened. From the UCF section at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, we couldn’t really see Perriman haul in that 51-yard Justin Holman pass. But, we knew when UCF players erupted in joy and we followed suit.

    I hugged people I did not know. I kept screaming until I was hoarse. My phone blew up. 59 minutes and 55 seconds of highs and lows and 5 seconds of reluctant anticipation that turned into one of the greatest moments in UCF football history.

    Thousands of UCF fans will claim they were there that December day in Greenville, North Carolina – those of us who were in the stands know far too many of our fellow Knights fans bolted before the clock hit 0:00. Plus, a slew of status updates on social media reveal quite a few Knights turned off the TV or radio when all looked lost.

    Back home the next day, clad in one of my favorite UCF t-shirts, I was congratulated a couple of times on the win, as if though I’d done something to contribute to the victory. Then I realized I had: I didn’t leave early!