A week after the UCF football team lost their second straight Conference USA matchup, the Knights responded with a crucial victory over conference rival Memphis (1-4, 0-2).
The Knights used a second-half comeback and strong offensive assault to overpower the Tigers, 32-14, at Bright House Networks Stadium in Orlando Saturday afternoon.
With the victory, UCF picked up their first league win of the season, improving their overall record to 3-2 and C-USA record to 1-2. The Knights also won their third straight home game, proving they are a tough team to beat in Orlando.
UCF was led in the game by a dynamic duo effort from running back Brynn Harvey and transfer quarterback Brett Hodges.
The two combined for 452 yards and three touchdowns. They kept the offense flowing in the second half with a balanced attack of running and passing that included long drives and ball control.
Harvey ran over the Memphis defense for a career-high 219 yards, including one touchdown and Hodges led the air attack with 214 yards on 16-for-28 passing.
However, the Knights didn't hit their flow until the second half. At halftime, the Tigers were leading the game 7-3, despite UCF controlling the ball for more than 19 minutes and gaining twice as many first downs.
The Knights then exploded in the second half for 29 points, starting with two consecutive Nick Cattoi field goals.
Cattoi finished the game with four field goals, tying a UCF record for field goals in a game.
But, the most crucial play came at the end of the third quarter on a seven-yard touchdown pass, when Hodges connected with Ricky Kay to give the Knights a 15-14 lead.
The offense continued to thrive into the fourth quarter with Hodges and Harvey leading the way. The redshirt senior quarterback threw his second straight touchdown, a 22-yard pass to Jamar Newsome to give UCF a 22-14 lead.
Then, Harvey put the game out of reach in the final minute of the game with a 26-yard touchdown run.
The offense really shined for the Knights, which is a good sign for a team that ranks in the bottom of the NCAA in most offensive categories.
Hodges and Harvey reeled off some impressive play to guide their team to a huge victory that kept them in the hunt for the conference.
UCF had 475 total yards, which is the most yards they've posted this season. The Knights also held the edge in possession of ball, 38:57 to 21:03. They simply dominated offensively in the second half, putting on their finest display of the season.
UCF will have a bye next week, before they host the No. 11 Miami Hurricanes in what promises to be one of the most intense atmospheres that Bright House Networks has ever experienced.
The Knights will look to build off their outstanding offensive showing and hopefully utilize it against the Hurricanes to pull off an improbable upset.
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