Notebook: Holler Hop, AR's Progression, 'Nole Domination And Pumpkin Space

Cincinnati v UCF

Photo: Getty Images

By Marc Daniels

UCF led Memphis 35-28 late in the fourth quarter and the Tigers had momentum. They marched 61 yards in six plays in 93-seconds to pull within one score and the pressure was on UCF. The Knights faced a critical third-down and nine from their own 26 yard line with 3:00 left. 

Memphis was looking for a stop to force a UCF punt and get the ball back thinking another score and maybe even go for two and the win. UCF coach Gus Malzahn said he had not called this particular screen play all day but felt it was the right moment. Quarterback Mikey Keene had to wait for the play to develop but it was a different defensive coverage than what Malzahn had anticipated. But Keene waited and waited and then rolled out to his right found tight end Alec Holler, who also waited patiently, to come off the line and block as two Memphis defenders went past him after Keene but did push him back to the 19 yard line. Holler then turned and looked for the pass. Keene did his part and hit Holler at the 19 but he was in a traffic jam, He needed to race 16 yards to get the first down. As he turned to go up field, a Memphis defender missed an attempted tackle. Another took a bad angle and Holler was free to the 32 yard line as he saw another Tiger close. As the defender went low for the tackle, Holler went high and hopped over him and rolled. When Holler landed he did so at the 36-yard line and while the stat sheet shows a gain of nine, Holler picked up 17 yards after he caught the ball. 

That catch, run and hop secured the win for UCF as the Knights did not have to punt the ball to Memphis and they ended up running out the clock for a 35-28 road win. The victory moves UCF to 7-2, 4-1 and sets them up for the next big game as they travel to New Orleans to face Tulane(8-1, 5-0). 

Keene again made several big plays as threw three touchdown passes with each catch being impressive with his throw and catches by Kobe Hudson- who had two scores- and Javon Baker, who made an incredible catch in the back corner of the end zone to give UCF a 35-21. 

The game changed for UCF after a rare targeting call on an offensive player. With the game tied at 21, Memphis had momentum and was driving in UCF territory. After a second down run for six yards by Memphis' back Asa Martin appeared to give the Tigers a first down at the UCF 27, Tiger tight end John Hassell was flagged for targeting for a hit on UCF linebacker Jeremiah Jean Baptiste. Replay confirmed the call and the player was ejected. But the game was delayed almost ten minutes when Gus Malzahn argued about the placement of the ball from the penalty. He was right and suddenly Memphis faced second-down and 19 yards to go from the UCF 42. After an incomplete pass and short run for three yards, Memphis coach Ryan Silverfield made the odd choice to go on fourth and 16 from the 39. Instead of trying to pin UCF inside their 10-yard line with a punt, he went for it and and incomplete pass gave the football back to UCF. Nine plays later, UCF saw Keene hit Kobe Hudson on a beautiful pass to give UCF a 28-21 lead.

But Holler's catch did put the game away and the reliable tight end gave his play its own name. Holler posted on twitter the play would be known as the "Holler Hop" and who can argue. The guy made the catch, run and hop and therefore he gets to give it whatever name he wants...

The Florida Gators are now 5-4 after their 41-24 win at Texas A&M. The Aggies were down more than two dozen players after a flu outbreak within the program and campus. But Florida need not apologize for winning the game and perhaps Gator fans saw another step forward for quarterback Anthony Richardson. Richardson was 17-for-28 for 201 yards, two touchdown passes and no picks. He also ran for 78 yards and two scores, including a 60-yard run late in the first half to give Florida the lead. 

Richardson has has four touchdown passes and no interceptions in his last three games against Texas A&M, Georgia and LSU. There have been moments in these weeks were you can see how special he can be and now the Gators have a chance to win more games and build more confidence and watch their signal caller get better. Florida faces South Carolina and Vanderbilt in the next two weeks before facing FSU in three weeks in Tallahassee. Richardson is averaging just over 200 yards a game and has nine touchdown passes and seven picks. He has eight rushing scores and done a better job avoiding sacks the last few weeks. Draft projections still have him as a first round pick and that might be enough for Richardson to leave after this season. But another season and more SEC experience could see him live up to the many mock drafts that had him as a top-10 pick. For now, he has a chance to put up some numbers in next two weeks and give Florida fans hope for a positive end to the 2022 year and maybe bigger things in 2023...

There is no other way to describe FSU's 45-3 win over Miami has complete domination. The Noles are now 6-3 and back in one poll and feeling good about the rest of their season. Heck, FSU is now a road favorite going to Syracuse. FSU's defense looked some of the great teams of the past against the Canes. Miami passed for 62 yards, using three quarterbacks, and totaled 188 yards for the game. FSU's offense put up 454 yards and simply did what they wanted in this game.

FSU quarterback, Jordan Travis, was 10-for-12 for 202 yards and three scores. Trey Benson ran for 128n yards and two touchdowns and Mike Norvell had a reason to smile. His team was the better squad from the start and despite all the hype of the Hurricanes in the off-season and the $80M contract for Mario Cristobal, it's Norvell's team that appears way ahead of the Miami rebuild...

Nuggets: South Florida fired Jeff Scott Sunday night. He went 4-26 in two-plus seasons after replacing Charlie Strong. Scott was 1-26 against FBS opponents. After the thrilling game against UCF in 2017, the Bulls went 16-40...Georgia's defense is still really good...Clemson's loss at Notre Dame, and the way the Irish dominated, could keep the Tigers out of the playoff even if they win out...No matter what Paul Finebaum says to spin a scenario for Alabama it's hard to see the Tide making the final four. Heck, they might lose at Ole Miss this week...TCU just keeps on winning and it will interesting to see if the playoff committee puts them at four this week...Two weeks ago, Oklahoma State was 6-1 and inside the top 10 and very much in the discussion for playoff consideration. The last two weeks, the Cowboys have lost at Kansas State 48-0 and then 37-16 at Kansas. That's life in the competitive Big XII...When Tulane hosts UCF this week it marks the first time a ranked Tulane team hosts another ranked team since November 26, 1949 when 10th ranked Tulane hosted number 13 LSU in an SEC game...

Final note: Is there any pumpkin in Starbucks' famous Pumpkin Spice Latte? Back in 2015, Starbucks added pureed pumpkin to the ingredients.

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