Jacksonville Sports Day

UCF: Tigers Rally Against Knights For Largest Comeback in School History

(Photo by Matthew A. Smith)

MEMPHIS — The Memphis Tigers pulled off the largest comeback in program history Saturday, rallying from a 21-point deficit to defeat the UCF Knights 50-49 in front of 10,554 in attendance at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

Memphis (2-1, 1-1 The American) trailed 35-14 in the third quarter before outscoring UCF (2-2, 1-2) 36-14 the rest of the way. The 21-point comeback surpasses a 17-point comeback against Houston in 2017 as the largest in school history.

A nine-play, 85-yard touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter gave the Tigers their first lead of the game with 1:08 remaining. A 52-yard shovel pass from quarterback Brady White to Tahj Washington on fourth down moved the Tigers to the Knights’ 5-yard line with 1:24 to play. Facing third down from the 4-yard line, Memphis quarterback Brady White found wide receiver Calvin Austin for the decisive touchdown.

UCF kicker Daniel Obarski missed a 40-yard field goal with 19 seconds left to clinch the win for Memphis.

White finished with 34 completions on 50 attempts, 486 yards and a career-high 6 passing touchdowns. White is now third on the Tigers’ career passing yards list with 8,372. He surpassed Riley Ferguson (7,955) in the second quarter of Saturday’s game and moved closer to Paxton Lynch (8,863). White also now has 72 career passing touchdowns, moving him past Ferguson (70) for second in program history.

Austin set career highs in receptions (nine), receiving yards (151) and tied a caree-high in receiving touchdowns (2).

Kicker Riley Patterson made four extra points to reach 371 career points kicking and move into second in program history. Patterson tied Stephen Gostkowski (369) with an extra point in the second quarter and surpassed the former Tiger standout with an extra point late in the third.

The Memphis defense allowed 798 total yards, but was able to come up with key plays in the second half to keep the Tigers in the game.

With UCF up 35-22 in the third quarter, Rodney Owens forced his first career fumble and Tyrez Lindsey made his second career fumble recovery at the Tigers’ 4-yard line to keep the Knights off the board. UCF’s next offensive possession ended in its first punt of the game thanks to a third-down sack by O’Bryan Goodson.

The defense also came up with another big stop, forcing a UCF punt after a failed onside kick with 2:45 to play. The stop set up the Tigers’ game-winning touchdown drive.

UCF opened the scoring with an 11-play, 80-yard drive following a Memphis fumble that resulted in a touchback. The Tigers immediately responded with a 75-yard touchdown drive that took just 57 seconds. The combination of White to Austin accounted for 52 yards on the scoring drive, including a 12-yard touchdown.

Tied after the first quarter, the Knights regained the lead at the 12:14 mark of the second quarter and scored 13 unanswered to take a 20-7 lead. A 68-yard drive capped by a White 1-yard quarterback sneak made it 20-14 with just 2:08 remaining the first half. Memphis’ defense was unable to keep it a one-score game going into halftime, as UCF drove 75 yards in 1:54 to make it 27-14 heading into the final two quarters.

UCF opened the second half with its second 11-play touchdown drive of the game and fifth drive of at least nine plays. With UCF holding its largest lead of the game at 35-14, the first touchdown reception of the season for Memphis tight end Kameron Wilson and a two-point conversion pass from White to Washington brought the Tigers within 13 at the 8:16 mark in the third quarter.

Lindsey’s fumble recovery on the next drive led to a 96-yard touchdown drive. White accounted for 56 of those yards passing and capped the scoring drive with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Javon Ivory, the redshirt freshman’s first career touchdown reception.

The two teams traded punts on the ensuing two drives before the Knights pushed their lead back to two scores at 43-29 with a 93-yard touchdown pass.

Memphis responded with White’s fourth touchdown pass of the game to Sean Dykes. A two-point conversion pass from White to Dykes brought the Tigers to within 43-37 with just over nine minutes to play.

A UCF touchdown pass four minutes later gave the Knights a 12-point lead, but Memphis answered it with a touchdown pass of its own at the 3:41 mark to make the score 49-44.

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