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's choice to stay aggressive pays off in Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl

UCF quarterback Blake Bortles runs for a short gain in the first quarter. He threw for three scores, tying at record for Tropicana Field’s bowl.


UCF quarterback Blake Bortles runs for a short gain in the first quarter. He threw for three scores, tying at record for Tropicana Field’s bowl.

ST. PETERSBURG — Three years ago, UCF saw a bowl game start to slip away at Tropicana Field when Rutgers got a 19-yard interception return for a touchdown in the final two minutes of the first half, sparking the Scarlet Knights to a 45-24 runaway win.

But in Friday night's Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl, UCF didn't hesitate to mount a drive from its 20-yard line with 55 seconds left and a 21-7 lead. The aggressive decision paid off, as Blake Bortles hit freshman WR Breshard Perriman for a 45-yard pass down the Ball State sideline.

Bortles, clutch on third down all night against the Cardinals, came through again on third and goal with 11 seconds left, hitting RB Latavius Murray for a 5-yard touchdown and a 28-7 lead on the Cardinals.

RECORD DAY: Bortles threw his third touchdown in the third quarter, matching a career high and tying the most in the bowl's five-year history. USF's Matt Grothe threw for three in the inaugural bowl in St. Petersburg, in 2008 against Memphis.

ANOTHER BIG CATCH: The result wasn't anything impressive, but the most interesting catch of the opening half came at the UCF 10-yard line, when Ball State's Keith Wenning threw a pass that was tipped and caught by 325-pound offensive lineman Kitt O'Brien for a 2-yard loss. It wound up being one of the better plays of the sequence — Wenning was sacked on third down for an 11-yard loss, then Ball State's 35-yard field goal was missed badly left.

CONFUSED? UCF has twins Jordan and Justin McCray, juniors from Miami Southridge, as its starting offensive guards, and they wear jersey numbers 63 and 64, respectively. Justin's jersey was torn in the second quarter, so for the second half, he wore No. 66.

THIS AND THAT: Ball State had one bit of history on its side coming in — Cardinal mascots had a 5-2 record at Tropicana Field, with MLB's St. Louis holding a 4-2 record here against the Rays in two interleague series; Louisville won the 2010 bowl game against Southern Miss. … UCF dominated the opening quarter, outgaining Ball State 160-15 and owning the time of possession with nearly 13 minutes out of the opening 15.

UCF's choice to stay aggressive pays off in Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl 12/21/12 [Last modified: Friday, December 21, 2012 11:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Storm routs Cleveland


    TAMPA — Alvin Ray Jackson intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown, and recovered two fumbles as the Storm routed Cleveland 57-27 Saturday night in its home regular-season finale at Amalie Arena.

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

    The Heater

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

    Rays centerfielder Mallex Smith misses a drive hit by Adrian Beltre with two outs in the sixth, allowing the tying runs to score. Beltre puts Texas ahead 4-3 when he scores after two wild pitches.
  3. 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.
  4. Rays journal: Former closer Sergio Romo acquired from Dodgers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays made a move to help the bullpen Saturday night when they acquired RHP Sergio Romo, who had been designated for assignment last week by the Dodgers.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi (23) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, July 7, 2017.
  5. 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.