UCF overcomes 17-point deficit to win 25th straight game, AAC title

Yahoo Sports
UCF quarterback <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/ncaaf/players/275599/" data-ylk="slk:Darriel Mack Jr.">Darriel Mack Jr.</a> leaps during the AAC Championship game of UCF versus Memphis at Spectrum Stadium Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018 in Orlando. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
UCF quarterback Darriel Mack Jr. leaps during the AAC Championship game of UCF versus Memphis at Spectrum Stadium Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018 in Orlando. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)

The win streak is now 25. Barely.

In a dramatic comeback effort, No. 8 Central Florida overcame a 38-21 halftime deficit to storm back and beat Memphis, 56-41, to capture its second straight American Athletic Conference title and extend its winning streak to 25 games.

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Playing without star quarterback McKenzie Milton, UCF scuffled early — but mostly on the defensive side of the ball. The Tigers gashed the Knights for touchdown runs of 62, 70 and 82 yards in the first half to jump out to a 31-14 lead early in the second quarter.

But the Knights, after going into the break down 17, allowed only three second half points. While the defense stiffened, the offense — with redshirt freshman Darriel Mack running the show at quarterback — pushed the accelerator.

When it was all said and done, UCF finished the afternoon with a whopping 698 yards of offense. Mack, after fumbling three times in the first half, finished with 348 passing yards, 59 rushing yards and six total touchdowns — four rushing, and two passing.

Mack scored five of those touchdowns in the second half, including a 54-yard connection with Otis Anderson to open the scoring in the third quarter.

From there, Mack scored on runs of four and two yards to put the Knights ahead 42-41, and then two and five yards in the final minutes to completely put the game out of reach.

What does this mean for UCF?

As we learned last year, the College Football Playoff selection committee is not going to put the Knights into the four-team field. But UCF, now 12-0, is on its way to another New Year’s Six bowl game.

The Knights upset Auburn in the Peach Bowl last fall, this year they are likely heading to the Fiesta Bowl to face another Power Five opponent. It will be a tough task with Milton, the AAC offensive player of the year, sidelined, but we should know by now that there’s no sense in overlooking UCF.


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