No. 22 UCF survived an upset try from rival South Florida within the Struggle for I-4 with a miraculous one-handed landing with 20 seconds left to tug off a 46-39 victory. The come-from-behind victory earned UCF a visit to the AAC Championship Recreation.
Going through third-and-8 on the USF 14-yard line, UCF quarterback Mikey Keene dropped again and launched a throw to the close to nook of the tip zone. Tight finish Alec Holler rotated and tracked the ball on the final second, and someway got here down with a season-saving catch for the Knights.
South Florida had 20 seconds remaining to arrange a Hail Mary and received all the best way to the UCF 31-yard line. The Bulls launched a cross to 6-foot-4 receiver Holden Willis, who was in a position to recover from the protection. Sadly for USF, there was simply an excessive amount of visitors for Willis to come back down with the ball.
UCF was a 20-point favourite in opposition to its rival, which got here into the ultimate week of the common season sporting a 1-10 report. The Knights simply needed to win as huge favorites in opposition to South Florida to clinch a spot in its ultimate AAC Championship Recreation earlier than leaving for the Large 12 in 2023. A loss would have despatched two-time defending champion Cincinnati to the ultimate as an alternative.
Quarterback John Rhys Plumlee accomplished all 9 cross makes an attempt for 73 yards, rushed for 133 yards and added three complete touchdowns earlier than leaving with an damage. South Florida ran for 298 yards and 4 touchdowns behind 144 yards from operating again Brian Battie. Nonetheless, the Bulls will merely should surprise what may have been as their season ends at 1-11 after firing coach Jeff Scott.
UCF now travels to New Orleans and can face off in opposition to No. 19 Tulane within the AAC Championship Recreation on Saturday, Dec. 3.