Dr. Blackwell's BLOG

Monday, October 15, 2018

#9 Knights Defeat Memphis Tigers in Nail-Biter

Filed under: UCF Sports — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 01:22

  The UCF Knights continued the nation’s longest wing streak (to 19 straight wins!) Saturday at Liberty Bowl Stadium in Memphis, TN by beating the Memphis Tigers 31-30 in an ABC nationally-televised contest. McKenzie Milton threw for 296 yards and ran for the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter as No. 10/9 UCF weathered its first significant test of the season before escaping with a 31-30 victory over Memphis on Saturday.

Milton’s 7-yard touchdown with 12:14 left completed a comeback for the Knights (6-0, 3-0 American Athletic Conference), who trailed 30-14 with 2:04 left in the first half. The victory was UCF’s 19th straight — the nation’s longest winning streak — but it was by far the toughest game of the season for the Knights, who defeated their first five opponents by double-digits. Even in the closing seconds,

Memphis (4-3, 1-3) seemed on the way to at least have a chance for a game-winning field goal as the Tigers moved to the UCF 31. But Memphis was hit with a penalty that required a clock runoff, and then Brady White completed a 9-yard pass to Tony Pollard and the seconds slipped away. Darrell Henderson, who leads the nation in rushing, had 199 yards and a touchdown on the ground on a career-best 31 carries for Memphis. It was the first meeting since last year’s American Athletic Conference championship game, which UCF won 62-55 in double overtime.

Saturday’s momentum swing for the Knights, who struggled to contain Memphis in the early stages, came in the third quarter. With UCF facing fourth-and-1 at their 29, the Tigers bunched at the line of scrimmage and quickly ran a play. Taj McGowan burst through the initial defense and went 71 yards for a touchdown to cut the Memphis lead to 30-24. That set the stage for Milton’s winning score, capping a 74-yard drive. Milton, a Heisman Trophy candidate, led the Knights in a game where they struggled at times defensively. The go-ahead touchdown came as he was hit hurtling toward the goal line, barely making it to the end zone.

The Tigers looked like the team that many thought would return to The American championship game most of the way, but now have three conferences losses. Henderson, though, showed why he should be getting some Heisman hype. The Knights take on the Pirates of East Carolina (2-4; 0-3 AAC) on Saturday at 7:00pm on ESPN2. Check out video highlights of the Knights’ win against Memphis, courtesy of the American Athletic Conference Digital Network, below:

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