Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Colleges

UCF Knights earn spot in C-USA title game with win over UAB

ORLANDO — UCF earned the rematch it craved.

Quincy McDuffie ran for three touchdowns and Blake Bortles threw for two to lead the Knights to a 49-24 win over Alabama-Birmingham on Saturday and a spot in the Conference USA title game against Tulsa.

UCF (9-3, 7-1), which clinched the East Division title with the win, travels to Oklahoma to play West winner Tulsa on Dec. 1 for the second time in three weeks. Tulsa beat UCF 23-21 on Nov. 17 to clinch homefield advantage in the title game.

Knights coach George O'Leary was happy with the result, if not the effort that earned it. UAB (3-9, 2-6) racked up 599 yards of offense.

"Any time as a defense you give up 600 yards, it's pathetic, in my opinion," he said. "There was poor tackling and poor coverage, and we better improve before we head to Oklahoma.

"Offensively, I thought we did what we had to get done and we had some opportunities we didn't take advantage of. Other than that, it's a win and another division championship."

McDuffie had scoring runs of 9, 8 and 43 yards. Bortles, who completed 17-of-23 for 225 yards, hit J.J. Worton with scoring passes of 18 and 4 yards.

Lyle Dankenbring returned an interception 78 yards for a score as the Knights took advantage of numerous Blazer mistakes to jump out to a 35-10 halftime lead.

Jonathan Perry threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for a score for UAB.

UAB outgained UCF 322-237 in the first half, but three drives inside the Knights' 20-yard line ended with no points.

"We didn't play well enough," UAB coach Garrick McGee said. "It's the only reason you lose, because you don't play well enough to beat a team that's really hungry, that has a vision, has goals and knows exactly what their target is."

This is the third time in the eight years of the CUSA title game that UCF and Tulsa play each other. Each school makes its fourth title game appearance.

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