East Carolina watched a late lead slip through its fingers on Saturday night in a 20-16 loss to UCF.
The Pirates led for much of the second half after being deadlocked 3-3 with the Knights at halftime. The hosts, however, drove in the final minutes and scored with 20 seconds left to derail the Pirates’ three-game win streak at the midway point of the regular season.
The Pirates (3-3, 1-1 American Athletic Conference) are off this week.
Here are the answers to three pregame questions in the buildup to the game:
1. How many UCF QBs?
Although reserve passer Joey Gatewood did see the field on Saturday, it was Mikey Keene who largely manned the UCF offense in the place of injured Dillon Gabriel, who is likely out for the season.
Keene, a freshman pocket passer from Arizona, was not outstanding, but he kept the Knights in the game all night and left them poised for the game-winning drive in the fourth quarter.
Keene’s stats were not gaudy — he finished with no touchdowns on 194 yards passing with an interception. ECU’s Holton Ahlers managed 219 yards with a TD and a pick.
2. Mitchell rushing yards?
After an eye-popping start to the season, Keaton Mitchell and backfield mate Rahjai Harris were both held out of the end zone by the Knights, and Mitchell had a costly early fumble in the red zone.
Harris actually topped ECU’s rushing leaders with 73 yards compared with 65 for Mitchell on a combined 30 carries for the duo. Mitchell was coming off a masterful 222-yard performance in a home win over Tulane to open AAC play.
Mitchell’s total included a team-best run of 17 yards, while Harris broke loose for a 16-yard gain.
3. Snead’s impact?
Tyler Snead has continued to be a menace to opponents as a receiver, a return specialist and even a passer.
While he led the charge again with a team-high six receptions for 82 yards at UCF, Snead was mostly held in check in terms of explosion plays.
His long reception of the night went for 33 yards. In the return game, Snead had just one attempt on kickoffs for 15 yards and finished at minus-two yards on his lone punt return.
He did not attempt a pass.