Cardiac Knights strike again!

Despite losing Blake Bortles to the NFL Draft and J.J. Worton to a season ending injury, the Knights still had a little magic left to clinch their second straight American Athletic Conference title on a rainbow Hail Mary as time expired.

It was a game of two halves as the UCF defense forced three turnovers in first half and held Shane Carden's Pirates to just nine points. The UCF offense was almost as good with five of their seven drives ending in a score. The Knights went into the half with a 23-9 lead.

Things looked bleak for the Pirates as the third quarter proved to be more of the same. East Carolina was held to under 20 yards in each of their drives with Jacoby Glenn intercepting a Carden pass for his seventh pick on the year. The Knights drove into Pirate territory twice but only had one FG to show for it.

The fourth quarter is where the Pirates thrive, however. ECU came in averaging 11.8 points per game in the fourth quarter and kept their trend going. Carden connected with Cam Worthy for a 15 yard pass to bring the Pirates within 10 at 26-16. After a quick UCF three and out, Carden found Marquez Grayson in the end-zone to shave UCF's lead to just three. ECU regained the lead with three minutes to play as Carden passed to his favorite target in Justin Hardy.

All hope seemed lost for the Knights as a short and unsuccessful UCF drive certainly meant a win for ECU who only had to run the clock down from 1:47. Poor clock management and clutch use of UCF timeouts gave UCF a final sliver of hope. The Knights had 11 seconds with ball on their own 35 yard line to pull off the improbable. A quick strike to Josh Reese set Justin Holman up for one last play from the UCF 49. The offensive line bought Holman just enough time for him to launch a rocket into the end zone. A few poorly timed jumps by the East Carolina secondary and the steady hands of Brashad Perriman resulted in yet another highlight reel UCF finish.

Knights win 32-30 spoiling senior night at Dowdy-Ficklen and secured a share of the American title for a second straight year. ECU finishes their maiden voyage in the American with a solid 8-4 record but fell well short of the New Year's Eve bowl they seemed destined for in the first half of the season.

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