University of Cardiac Finishes

Nov. 17, 2013

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By Chip Fontanazza

ORLANDO, Fla. ( - Not once. Not twice. Not even three times.

But four times the UCF Knights (8-1, 5-0) have overcome deficits in the second half to come away with a victory.

Saturday afternoon's matchup against the Temple Owls (1-9, 0-6) at Lincoln Financial Field was the latest installment of UCF's dramatic comebacks this season. The Knights were down by one touchdown with less than two minutes two go in the game. UCF drove down the field and scored on a miraculous one-handed catch by junior receiver J.J. Worton to tie the game at 36.

The Knights would regain possession with 19 seconds remaining after a solid defensive series. Quarterback Blake Bortles hit receiver Rannell Hall with a 64-yard pass down to the six-yard line. That would setup Shawn Moffitt's game-winning field goal.

UCF head coach George O'Leary said when the offense got the ball he wanted to try and get into field goal range instead of going straight to overtime.

"We were in two-minute drill right now and they left center field open and he (Bortles) hit him (Hall) and obviously a great play by Rannell down to the six [yard line]," said Coach O'Leary during his weekly television show `UCF Sports Today with George O'Leary'. "With two seconds left they called a timeout. We're going to clock it anyway and basically get a chance to kick the field goal and win the game."

It was the first game-winning field goal of Moffitt's career, but it was far from the first close finish this season for the Knights.

That contest was against the Memphis Tigers at the Liberty Bowl. UCF was down one touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Knights would score on their own fumble recovery in the end zone. Nine seconds later, the team forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, recovered it and ran it into the end zone with less than two minutes remaining in the contest.

Just two weeks later, the Knights traveled to the Bluegrass State to take on the No. 8 Louisville Cardinals. Down by four with less than three minutes in the game, Bortles drove the offense down the field and capped it off with a two-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Jeff Godfrey to come away with a 38-35 win.

To continue this trend of close contests, one week ago UCF was ahead by only five points against the Houston Cougars with less than four minutes in the game. Houston was able to drive inside the Knights' ten-yard line, but the UCF defense stood its ground and kept Cougars from scoring in the redzone.

While many of these close finishes have left fans short of breath, this win against Temple keeps the Knights in sole possession of first place in the American Athletic Conference and in the driver's seat for a BCS Bowl game.

For more about UCF's exciting finish in Philadelphia, watch the video above.



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