"A lot of times, we have a free-shot player and we have every gap accounted for. But sometimes that free-shot player doesn't take the shot or miss a tackle, it turns into a big play for them."
UCF running back Latavius Murray was the catalyst on many of the Knights' big gains. He rushed for 156 yards and three touchdowns on just 16 carries.
Two of those scores came on runs of 75 and 42 yards.
The Herd has been bad against the run all year. It allowed an average of more than 227 yards entering the UCF game. The Knights ran for 278 yards.
Bortles recovered from his rough start to complete 15 of 21 passes for 277 yards and two touchdowns - a 16-yarder to Jeff Godfrey and a 20-yarder to Murray.
Perhaps the biggest breakdowns came on special teams. The Herd allowed two momentum-destroying kickoff returns for touchdowns, both by Quincy McDuffie. The first came right after Haig's first-quarter field goal, a 97-yard return that put the Herd on its heels in 13 seconds.
The second, a 98-yarder, came on the opening kickoff of the second half, gave UCF a 34-10 lead 15 seconds into the third quarter and essentially iced the game.
No player in UCF or Conference USA history had ever returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in the same game.
It was a concoction of botched plays, bad performances and missed opportunities that was tough for the Herd to swallow and ate at Mitchell's stomach.
"It hurts," Mitchell said. "This was a big game for us, a huge game. UCF is at the top of our conference. Not winning, they're more in control right now. We're in the back seat, waiting for something to happen."
Marshall can't wait long, for the sake of its postseason hopes. The Herd remains three wins away from the magical six-win plateau that guarantees bowl eligibility.
Now it has just four games to get there.
Cato said it's now even more important to buckle down and fix the errors that plagued the Herd against UCF and for most of the season.
"I don't know what it is," Cato said. "Sometimes, me and (receiver Tommy) Shuler just talk and we ask ourselves, does somebody have a curse on us? I don't know what it is. We're just not getting the job done."
But if the Herd wants to turn its season around, that can't remain a mystery much longer.
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.r...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall.