Sunday, May 20, 2018
Colleges

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.

Comments
Taggart delivers a bolt to area

Taggart delivers a bolt to area

TAMPA — After spending four years as USF’s football coach, Willie Taggart knows what to expect this time of year in the area, so it’s no surprise how he began a chat with reporters Sunday before a booster stop at Armature Works."Go Lightning," he sai...
Updated: 5 minutes ago
Willie Taggart: ‘Pretty cool’ to be back in Tampa as FSU coach

Willie Taggart: ‘Pretty cool’ to be back in Tampa as FSU coach

TAMPA – After spending four years as USF's football coach, Willie Taggart knows what to expect this time of year in the area, so it's no surprise how he began a chat with reporters Sunday before a booster stop at Armature Works."Go Lightning," ...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
ACC football announces early kickoff times, TV info for FSU, Miami games

ACC football announces early kickoff times, TV info for FSU, Miami games

The ACC has released some kickoff and TV information for the first three weeks of the season:Week 1 (previously announced)Miami vs. LSU (in Arlington, Texas): Sunday, Sept. 2, 7:30 p.m., ABCVirginia Tech at Florida State: Monday, Sept. 3, 8 p.m., ESP...
Published: 05/18/18
Why FSU playing Boise State in Jacksonville is a smart risk

Why FSU playing Boise State in Jacksonville is a smart risk

Old, unofficial news is expected to become old, official news today with a formal announcement that Florida State and Boise State are kicking off the 2019 season in Jacksonville.  A lot has changed since the schools announced the series (FSU pla...
Published: 05/16/18
FSU-Boise State to open 2019 season in Jacksonville

FSU-Boise State to open 2019 season in Jacksonville

What had been an open secret for months is now open and shut: Group of Five power Boise State will face FSU at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville in the teams' 2019 opener.A formal announcement is expected Wednesday, but the '19 schedule on Boise's offi...
Published: 05/15/18
RHP Mark Moclair’s versatility proves valuable to University of Tampa

RHP Mark Moclair’s versatility proves valuable to University of Tampa

TAMPA — He’s the accidental pitcher who can’t be pigeonholed into a defined role. He’s a well-spoken economics major who morphs into fire-breathing intensity on the mound. And he’s one of the biggest reasons why the University of Tampa Spartans are p...
Published: 05/15/18
Police: Florida Gators recruit Justin Watkins kicked female’s car, broke her phone

Police: Florida Gators recruit Justin Watkins kicked female’s car, broke her phone

One of the Florida Gators' top incoming recruits was released from jail early Wednesday after police allege he kicked a female's car and broke her phone after an argument.Justin Watkins — a four-star athlete from Clermont — and ...
Published: 05/10/18
Why Gators’ Dan Mullen still name-drops his second grade teacher

Why Gators’ Dan Mullen still name-drops his second grade teacher

When first-year Gators coach Dan Mullen spoke to a packed crowd at the Tampa Yacht and Country Club this winter, he told stories about the stars Florida fans recognize instantly.Tim Tebow. Steve Spurrier. Percy Harvin.Then he name-dropped someone els...
Published: 05/10/18
Florida Gators coordinator Todd Grantham to earn $1.39 million. Here are the other salaries

Florida Gators coordinator Todd Grantham to earn $1.39 million. Here are the other salaries

New Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham will be one of the highest paid assistants in the country, earning $1.39 million in base pay this year.The Gators released the contracts for Grantham and the rest of Dan Mullen's staff on Tuesday aftern...
Published: 05/08/18
Why Dan Mullen wants his Gators to hit every school in Florida

Why Dan Mullen wants his Gators to hit every school in Florida

As the Florida Gators hit the road for the spring evaluation period, coach Dan Mullen has a goal."It's really important for me that we try to get into every school in the state of Florida," Mullen said Monday before a speech to the Polk County Gator ...
Published: 05/08/18