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“Running better plays” leads UCF to victory over Memphis

Knights shut out the Tigers en route to their 19th consecutive win.

NCAA Football: Central Florida at Memphis Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Now that I’m done being frustrated with the end of the game, it’s time to dissect what happened Saturday afternoon. UCF and Memphis gave us another thriller, and it came down to the wire before the Knights came away with the win.

Arguably the biggest takeaway from this was that UCF is beatable. Memphis had the Knights on the ropes going into halftime with a 30-17 lead, and apparently needed just one score to put the game away. It seemed like UCF wasn’t going to pull through for a while, as evidenced by some comments made on the sideline.

During the game, it was reported that Adrian Killins was yelling at the UCF coaching staff, saying they needed to call “better plays.” Whether the coaching staff heard him or not, his team scored 14 unanswered points after his comments. His remarks could have derailed this team that was up against the ropes, but it didn’t seem to affect them that much. Even with a little bit of luck, the story of the second half was the Knights defense.

Memphis was cruising behind the legs of Darrell Henderson. The Tigers running back had 171 yards at halftime, and Memphis was in control. UCF found a way to limit Henderson to just 28 yards in the second half, and didn’t give up a single point. Memphis literally needed one score. ONE! That didn’t happen, and it seems that we have to be worried about weather every time this team plays. Just like in the loss against Navy, rain limited the Tigers effectiveness. This time, it was against a defense that was slightly better. Even with the weather, Memphis had a chance to win the game.

Forcing a UCF punt with just over a minute left, Memphis imploded. After a few completions by Brady White, Memphis was just outside field goal range. A false start penalty and a 10 second runoff ran the time down to 18 seconds, and the next play took the rest of the game. White completed a pass to Tony Pollard in bounds, and the time expired. It was a frustrating way to end a great game, and ended the upset bid by the Tigers.

Memphis was essentially eliminated from the AAC West race with the loss, and its a third frustrating loss of the season. UCF should move up in the rankings after a crazy week in college football, but also looked vulnerable. This was a great game, but not without flaws. This might have been a team’s best chance to beat the Knights, and two plays ruined everything.