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)

UCF Knights rally to beat Memphis

MEMPHIS — Two unusual scoring plays late let UCF escape with a win in its inaugural American Athletic Conference game on Saturday.

And the plays involved unexpected heroes on two fumble recoveries over a nine-second span — an offensive lineman who fell on the ball in the end zone and a special teams player who scooped a fumble on the ensuing kickoff for a score — to give the Knights a 24-17 victory over Memphis.

"We got a win here, but we need to be very quiet about it," UCF coach George O'Leary said. "I thought Memphis outplayed us in a lot of areas."

Offensive tackle Chris Martin was credited with the recovery in the end zone with 2:05 left to tie it at 17. Then a hit from William Stanback knocked the ball loose from Tigers kick returner Marquis Warford. Drico Johnson grabbed the ball at the 12 and ran to the end zone with 1:56 remaining as Tigers fans stared in stunned silence.

Memphis still had a couple of chances to tie it late. A 100-yard kickoff return by Joe Craig for an apparent score was nullified by a holding penalty, and a march in the closing seconds ended with an interception by Knights linebacker Terrance Plummer in the end zone — his second pick in the end zone in the game, leaving the Tigers with a heartbreaking setback.

"When I got here, it wasn't crushing losses, it was getting crushed," Memphis coach Justin Fuente said of the change in his second season.

The other touchdown for UCF came on a 1-yard run by Stanback in the third quarter. Shawn Moffitt added a first-half field goal from 26 yards.

Memphis gained 397 yards as quarterback Paxton Lynch was 20-of-38 for 279 yards.

"We played good," Lynch said. "I thought our (offensive) line definitely stepped up on all the blitzes that they showed us. We ran good routes, and our receivers had a chance to be open."

UCF, coming off of a 28-25 loss to South Carolina the previous week, was held to 270 yards. The Knights came in averaging 450. Quarterback Blake Bortles was 17-of-36 for 160 yards and did not throw a touchdown pass, ending his streak of 12 straight games.

"I thought we were just out of synch the whole game," O'Leary said. "We finally started throwing downfield where it should have been going most of the time."

Memphis led 17-10 after a 13-yard run from Sam Craft with 12:59 left.

Trailing 17-10, UCF faced fourth and 10 at the Memphis 28. Bortles hit Breshad Perriman for 16 yards, moving the Knights to the Memphis 12. He then hit Rannell Hall for 11 on the next play, giving UCF first and goal at the Memphis 1 and setting up its unusual touchdown as running back Storm Johnson tried to go over from the 1 but fumbled.

UCF is off next week before a showdown Oct. 18 at Louisville.

UCF Knights rally to beat Memphis 10/05/13 [Last modified: Saturday, October 5, 2013 10:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Hard to believe NFL overtime change is about player safety


    If someone's house was engulfed in flames, would you hand him a fire extinguisher?

    Of course not.

    Fans await the beginning of overtime between the Patriots and Falcons in Super Bowl LI in February. [Associated Press]
  2. Muslim faith greater than fear for Wharton's Rania Samhouri (w/video)


    TAMPA — Rania Samhouri graduated Monday night from Wharton High School, and many times throughout the ceremony she flashed back to a moment that changed her life.

     Rania Samhouri stretches after track practice on Monday April 24, 2017 at Wharton High School in Tampa, Florida. Rania, who is Muslim, recently started wearing her hijab during track competitions. She graduates from Wharton this year and will attend University of South Florida on scholarship next year.
  3. Bucs' Doug Martin relying on strength from drug rehab to power his return


    TAMPA — He would not talk about the drug he abused. He would not identify the rehab facility he entered in January or how long he was there.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin participates in an "open OTA practice" at One Buc Place, the team's training facility, in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
  4. NCAA: Former USF basketball assistant gave improper benefits


    TAMPA — Former USF men's basketball assistant coach Oliver Antigua provided impermissible benefits, including lodging at his home, for two prospective student-athletes while they received on-campus tutoring, according to findings reported to the school by the NCAA.

  5. Back to .500, Rays feel ready to roll (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Who wants to be mediocre? Middling? Average? Run-of-the-mill?

    Rays catcher Jesus Sucre tags out the Angels’ Mike Trout trying to score from second base after a perfect peg from rightfielder Steven Souza Jr. in the first inning.