Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Missouri Tigers beat UCF Knights 21-16

ORLANDO — Before the season, Central Florida chose "Finish" as its team motto after a year in which it left far too many close victories on the field because of its own mistakes.

Saturday's 21-16 loss to Missouri was a reminder that the Knights aren't quite free of those self-destructive habits.

UCF (2-2) controlled most of the game, but a special teams mishap and late turnover erased its momentum in its bid to defeat its first SEC opponent at home.

Marcus Murphy returned a punt 66 yards for a touchdown and James Franklin added an 80-yard touchdown pass to help the Tigers grind out the win.

UCF trailed 21-10 before a late score, but after a Tigers punt, receiver Jeff Godfrey's fumble with 2:26 left allowed Missouri (3-2) to hang on.

"I feel like we lost poise," UCF running back Storm Johnson said. "The coaches preach to us that we've got to finish and that's what we didn't do."

Johnson, starting his second game while Latavius Murray continues to work his way back from a shoulder injury, said there was a bit of lost focus in the huddle down the stretch.

"It's very frustrating, just as a player," Johnson said. "It was a winnable game (Saturday). I felt like we could have won even with all the mistakes we had. It was still a winnable game."

Coming off a dismal passing performance last week at South Carolina, Franklin was efficient, going 19-for-30 for 257 yards. Kendial Lawrence added 104 yards rushing and a touchdown for the Tigers.

Knights quarterback Blake Bortles kept his team in the game, going 29-of-43 for 267 yards and two touchdowns.

But coach George O'Leary said UCF's final series of the first half, which ended inside Missouri's 3 with no points, sapped a lot of his team's momentum going into the locker room.

After a stuffed run and incomplete pass, Bortles was sacked, and time expired before the Knights could run out their field goal team.

O'Leary said afterward that Bortles convinced him he could make a play.

"Blake was like, 'No, coach, we can get a play,' " O'Leary said of the sequence. "Well, we didn't do it and you can't give up points like that. … We have to make better decisions at the quarterback position."

Before Murphy's punt return, the Knights looked to be taking control, leading 10-7 and coming off an interception and fourth sack of Franklin early in the third quarter.

But Missouri capitalized on a short punt and needed just three plays to take its 21-10 lead with 9:31 left in the game.

"I don't care how it looked," Tigers coach Gary Pinkel said of a game in which his team was on the short end of almost every major statistical category. "I'm not interested in looking pretty. In my business, I want to win and it was a great win."

Lawrence had one carry in the first half before rushing 18 times for 101 yards after the break.

Missouri Tigers beat UCF Knights 21-16 09/29/12 [Last modified: Saturday, September 29, 2012 6:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Miscue sends Rays to another stinging loss to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays gave away DJ Kitty onesies on Saturday night. Then they gave away the game.

    Centerfielder Mallex Smith misses a drive hit by Adrian Beltre with two outs in the sixth, allowing the tying runs to score. Beltre put Texas ahead 4-3 when he scored after two wild pitches.
  2. Rowdies shut out Charleston


    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rowdies know a thing or two about stalemates, with five of their past 10 games ending in a draw.

    Rowdies in the first half during the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Charleston Battery at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Saturday, Jul 22, 2017.
  3. Rays journal: Jake Odorizzi to continue pitching from stretch

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Less proved to be more for RHP Jake Odorizzi during his last start when he pitched exclusively out of the stretch. The result was seven one-hit innings in the Rays' 3-2 win Monday at Oakland.

    Rays starter Jake Odorizzi says that pitching from the stretch “limited the movements prior to throwing the pitch, and that changed a lot of things” in a superb outing last week.
  4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. backs wife's "not worth risk'' opinion on Daytona

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Saturday defended his wife's Twitter post — and blamed himself for putting her in a position where she believed she had to speak out and upset some of his fans.

    Amy Earnhardt worries about Dale Jr.’s concussions.
  5. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Rangers game

    The Heater

    Judging by those who were asking for them before Saturday's giveaways, those who tried to get an extra one or two once inside the Trop and those who quickly slipped theirs on before finding their seats, the DJ Kitty Onesie might be the Rays' most popular giveaway. Ever.