Central Florida fell just short of defeating Memphis Saturday night when UCF kicker Daniel Obarski’s attempt from 40 yards out with 19 seconds left in regulation sailed wide left.
The missed field goal secured a 50-49 win for Memphis, the Tigers’ first victory over the Knights in their last 14 tries, and prompted a heated exchange on the sidelines between Obarski and backup quarterback Quadry Jones.
Cameras caught a frustrated Obarski punch what appeared to be the medical tent before Jones approached him, prompting Obarski to attempt to shove Jones. As things began to escalate, cameras quickly cut away before turning back to see their UCF teammates trying to separate the two.
Obarski punched the tent again on his way to the locker room.
“He is (really upset) and it matters to him,” head coach Josh Heupel told reporters following the loss. “My message to Daniel — and I said this to the team, too, just later in the locker room — that you prepare with urgency and you prepare the same every week. I said, ‘You put yourself in the best position to go lay it on the line.’
“And athletics and sports, you want to try to ensure that it’s going to the right way when you get that opportunity. Reality in sports is it doesn’t always go your way. But you can look your brothers in the face and know that you did everything to put yourself in the best position when you get that opportunity. So that was my message to him in that moment.”
In the third quarter, UCF was leading Memphis 35-14 but the Tigers completed a wild comeback to a 50-49 lead with 1:08 left in the game. UCF managed to get down field and into a position to win before Obarski’s miss dropped the Knights to 2-2 on the season.
The sophomore kicker also had an extra point blocked earlier in the game.
“End of the day, we’re on the wrong side of it and the one play that makes the difference,” Heupel said. “And everybody that’s on this travel squad, and coaches included, got to be on the right side of that one play that makes a difference and we have to be better. Leading up to this week, we talked about just challenging our players and having a fighter’s mentality and answering the bell every round. And the ball didn’t always go our way. And there’s a lot of things that we’ve got to do better.
“But our kids did answer and they fought and they competed, and I think that is important — that they understand that they did that coming out of this. This moment can either define who we are going forward or we can define this moment, moving forward. And for us, everybody in it together. One-hundred twenty guys on the roster — offense, defense, special teams, black, white, brown — doesn’t matter. We’ve got be in it together.”
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