Orlando, FL (Sports Network) - Quincy McDuffie scored three rushing touchdowns
as the UCF Knights clinched the Conference USA East Division with a 49-24 win
over the UAB Blazers in the regular-season finale for both teams at Bright
House Networks Stadium.
Blake Bortles completed 17-of-23 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns for
the Knights (9-3, 7-1 C-USA). UCF has a chance to avenge last week's loss to
West Division champion Tulsa in the C-USA Championship game on Dec. 1.
Jonathan Perry replaced Austin Brown at quarterback for the Blazers (3-9, 2-6)
and completed 21-of-28 passes for 307 yards and two touchdowns in a losing
UCF marched 65 yards in five plays on its opening possession, which resulted
in an 18-yard touchdown pass from Bortles to J.J. Worton for a quick 7-0 lead.
UAB drove all the way down to the UCF 1 on its opening series, but Darrin
Reaves lost a fumble and it was recovered in the end zone by the Black Knights
for a touchback.
Latavius Murray's three-yard touchdown plunge midway through the first quarter
made it a 14-0 game and capped a seven-play, 80-yard drive.
UAB got on the board with a 25-yard field goal from Ty Long with 6:40 to play
in the second quarter.
However, on the Blazers' next possession they were forced to punt out of their
own end zone and Worton returned it down to the UAB 9, setting up great field
position for the Knights. Two plays later, McDuffie scored on a nine-yard run
to push the margin to 21-3.
The teams would continue to trade jabs late in the half. The ensuing
possession saw Knights defensive back Lyle Dankenbring step in front of an
Austin Brown pass and return it 78 yards for a touchdown.
Perry replaced Brown under center on UAB's next drive, and it took him only
three plays to find Patrick Hearn for a 76-yard touchdown pass to make it a
28-10 game with 1:28 remaining in the half.
But that proved ample time for the Knights offense, as Bortles engineered a
quick five-play, 56-yard drive and tossed a four-yard TD pass to Worton with
26 seconds on the clock.
UCF stretched its lead to 42-10 midway through the third quarter on McDuffie's
eight-yard touchdown run.
UAB cut the deficit to 42-24 following a two-yard touchdown run by Perry late
in the third quarter and a 15-yard TD pass from Perry to Reaves early in the
fourth. However, McDuffie scored again on a 43-yard run with four minutes
remaining to seal the outcome.
The Blazers racked up 322 yards from scrimmage in the first half, but three
drives inside the red zone netted zero points and sapped their momentum. On
the other side of the ball, UAB did little to slow UCF's ground game, which
piled up 229 yards (5.9 ypc) and four touchdowns on the day.
The Sports Network