March 3, 2014
UCF Athletics Social Media Directory
By Brian Ormiston
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - With non-league play in the past, UCF now focused on its first American Athletic Conference contest against a very familiar foe in Memphis. Although the Knights had an eight-game winning streak over the Tigers entering Oct. 5, past visits to Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium were in the minds of the staff and players.
Since 2006, UCF posted a 5-1 record in Memphis including a 1-1 mark in bowl games. Four of those six games were decided by a touchdown or less, and the trip to Tennessee in 2012 featured a slim halftime lead for the Knights at 14-10.
The 2013 clash between the Knights and the Tigers proved to be just as close.
Memphis' defense stunned UCF in the first half, holding the visitors to five first downs and 95 yards of total offense as the Tigers took a 7-3 lead into the break. The Knights answered in the third quarter by matching that first down total, posting five in the third along with 84 total yards. William Stanback's 1-yard touchdown run helped UCF march into the final 15 minutes, tied at 10-10.
However, UCF witnessed the Tigers drive 62 yards en route to a 17-10 advantage, and Memphis got the ball back following a Knights punt. Needing a stop to keep things within reach, the UCF defense came through, highlighted by a pair of sacks to force a punt.
Taking over with 7:28 showing, Blake Bortles guided his team from the UCF-20 to the UCF-42, ultimately completing a 3rd-and-9 pass to Breshad Perriman for 15 yards. One more first down later, Bortles had three incomplete passes and the Knights were faced with a 4th-down situation at the Memphis-28.
Just like several moments during the season, UCF did not cave under the pressure of a pivotal play. With the Memphis fans screaming violently, Bortles dropped back and smoothly hit Perriman again for 16 yards. At the time, it was a key 4th-down conversion to keep the game alive. In the long run, it was one of a long-list of plays which ultimately put the Knights in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
UCF capped the drive off with some good fortune as Chris Martin recovered a fumble on the goal line for the game-tying touchdown. And only a few seconds later, Stanback delivered a massive hit on kick returner Marquis Warford, jarring the ball loose where Drico Johnson secured it and ran it back for 12 yards and a jaw-dropping 24-17 lead. At nine seconds, it was the quickest UCF had scored two touchdowns in program history.
But there was still 1:46 left on the clock.
Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch went 3-for-3 for 50 yards as the Tigers reached the UCF-6. They then turned to running back Brandon Hayes for a halfback pass. The Knights did not bite, and Clayton Geathers tipped it to Terrance Plummer for his second interception of the day.
Another heart-pounder in the books.
Final score: UCF 24, Memphis 17
UCF's record: 4-1 Overall, 1-0 American
2014 Football Season Tickets: The March to Victory starts with UCF fans. Renew or order season tickets, starting at $99, today online or call 407-UCF-1000. And to learn about the Croke Park Classic against Penn State Aug. 30 in Dublin, Ireland, check out UCF.CrokeParkClassic.com.