When we walked out the front door of the house in the morning to sunny skies and warmer weather we knew that things were going to be alright. We heard many Ultimate teams echoing our sentiments throughout the day as Tallahassee provided some of the best weather that one could ask for, whether you were playing or watching.
We began our day with a matchup against recent T-Town Throwdown champs, Auburn, and perhaps one of the only two teams that didn’t truly appreciate the weather in Tallahassee today, UCF Dogs of War (the other being Miami Vice). We expected a good game considering Auburn’s recent victory over in-state rivals Alabama and UCF’s penchant for alway producing a quality Ultimate team.
We were in for a surprise. UCF toppled Auburn by a final count of 13-7.
Things started fairly uneventfully as UCF brought out its big guns immediately and last season’s AC FOTY Michael Hickson sent the disc straight to the endzone for the 1-0 lead. Auburn answered quickly by using every part of the field, open and break sides, to tie the games at 1-1. However, that would be as close as Auburn would get for the rest of the game.
“We came into this game with a really big urge to kill in the first half,” UCF captain Andrew Roca, who was sitting out injured, told us.
It showed, UCF proceeded to rattle off six straight goals to take half and we were left wondering what happened to the team that won T-Town Throwdown. A short talk with Auburn captain Gamble Ruff (potential for making the all-name team in college Ultimate) left us with the answer that we were looking for.
“We’re actually missing about five guys that would be five of our seven on a universe line,” Gamble explained, gesturing towards his nine man sideline.
However, in spite of their lack of numbers, Auburn wasn’t going quietly. The team rode the backs of Ruff and junior Trace Pridgey to close the gap to 7-3. The teams would continue to trade points and breaks throughout the rest of the game. Including deep hucks from Ruff to streaking receivers and a sick grab or two by Hickson deep.
When it was all said and done the final tally rested at 13-7 and, while satisfied, UCF felt like it had an opportunity to put Auburn away by a slightly larger deficit.
“The second half was not as good as the first half,” Roca said. “The offense struggled a little bit with turnovers. I try to tell them to be conservative but they were gunslinging it a little bit more towards the end of the game.”
While Roca and company were looking at what had been done right and wrong and what could be improved upon. Ruff and the rest of the Auburn squad sounded like Spartans headed into Thermopylae.
“This is kind of a survival tournament, we’re not trying to prove anything,” Ruff said. “I wish we could have proved something this tournament.”