Houston at UCF

UCF turns away Houston's late rally to keep AAC lead

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

ORLANDO, Fla. -- So many times No. 19 UCF has had to rely on its offense to be the savior in its biggest moments this season.

This time, it was the Knights' defense that saved the day and possibly their hopes of earning the school's first trip to the BCS.

With team leader and quarterback Blake Bortles struggling, UCF's defense kept pressure on one of the nation's top scoring attacks and hung on for 19-14 win over Houston on Saturday night.

Freshman William Stanback scored two touchdowns and the Knights survived three turnovers to hold off a late Houston threat and keep first place in the American Athletic Conference.

"I thought defensively, to hold that team to 14 points, and (to have) a great play at the end of the game to save the win, that was a big-time team win," Knights coach George O'Leary said.

Storm Johnson added 127 yards rushing for UCF (7-1, 4-0), which now has the inside track to the league's automatic BCS bid, with victories against the Cougars and Louisville.

The Cougars drove to the UCF 10 in the final minute, but came up empty on back-to-back passes from John O'Korn into the end zone. The first went off star receiver Deontay Greenberry's finger tips and the second sailed high.

O'Korn had a touchdown pass and two interceptions for the Cougars (7-2, 4-1).

The Knights had three giveaways of their own and lost receiver Breshad Perriman to a targeting hit early in the fourth quarter, but rallied to preserve the win.

Bortles said the injury wound up giving the team an emotional jolt.

"That's a brother," Bortles said. "That was on me a little bit for throwing that ball and kind of setting him up. We finished the game out for him. That gave us a little fire and a little extra motivation to win the game."

Trailing 13-7 in the fourth, Houston pinned UCF on its own 2, but the Knights got some space on a 17-yard completion from Blake Bortles to Perriman.

Bortles went to Perriman again two plays later, but his pass over the middle was broken up by Cougars cornerback Zach McMillian. McMillian was flagged for targeting on the play, and was ejected after a review.

Perriman remained down on the field for several minutes receiving medical attention and was carted off.

The Knights weren't shaken, though, and Stanback scored his second touchdown of the game five plays later to stretch UCF's lead to 19-7 with 10:23 to play. The seven-play, 98-yard drive was the Knights' longest of the season.

Following a UCF missed field goal, Houston got life when O'Korn found Wayne Beadle in the end zone from 12 yards out to close the gap to 19-14.

UCF then gave the Cougars the ball right back with 3:02 to play after going three-and-out.

Houston went to the air and moved quickly, eventually using a 14-yard pass on third down by O'Korn to get into the red zone. But UCF held -- and held on to sole possession of first place.

O'Leary said he expected Perriman to be OK, but wasn't sure of his status for next week against Temple.

"He got sandwiched in there. That's what they call launching, they call targeting. He didn't target him, but he left his feet and hit him helmet to helmet," O'Leary said. "He left his feet and launched into the air. You got to keep your eye on the ball and he didn't do that."

Houston coach Tony Levine lamented his team's inability to capitalize on UCF's three turnovers.

"The thing we emphasize more than anything in our program, defensively, is creating turnovers," Levine said. "Normally, when you win the turnover margin you win the game."

After defense-dominated first half, offense began to pick up in the final 30 minutes.

Houston's first possession of the second half ended abruptly when Alexander intercepted a deflected pass by O'Korn.

But the Knights turned it right back over when Bortles fumbled after being sacked from behind.

The Cougars worked quickly and needed just four plays to set up a 24-yard touchdown run by O'Korn to put them up 7-6.

The Knights' offense recovered and capped a 10-play, 75-yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown run by Stanback to make it 13-7.

O'Leary wanted no talk about the Knights controlling their own destiny for a BCS bid with four games to go.

"You won't even hear me mention that," he said. "I'll be talking about Temple. We've got to get up each and every week and take care of one game at a time."

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Trevon Stewart makes the tackle on UCF's Jeff Godfrey, but the Knights finish strong to retain first place in the AAC. (USATSI)
Trevon Stewart makes the tackle on UCF's Jeff Godfrey, but the Knights finish strong to retain first place in the AAC. (USATSI)

 

Latest Video

March 25, 2014
NFL Draft: Jumping on the Blake Bortles bandwagon (1:35)
1 January 28, 2014
2014 NFL Mock Draft 1/28
(5:39)
2 April 3, 2014
John Breech on Clowney's pro day
(1:12)
3 March 27, 2014
Verne Lundquist joins Boomer and Carton
(6:39)
 
Scoreboard
Houston  (7-2)007714
UCF #19  (7-1) «067619
Players of the Game
Knights

W. Stanback
Rush 9
Yds 74
Avg 8.2
TD 2
Cougars

J. O'Korn
Att 46
Comp 24
Yds 231
TD 1
Scoring Summary
UCFShawn Moffitt 45 yd FG
UCFShawn Moffitt 40 yd FG
HOUJohn O'Korn 24 yd run (Kyle Bullard kick)
UCFWilliam Stanback 15 yd run (Shawn Moffitt kick)
UCFWilliam Stanback 38 yd run (failed 2pt pass)
HOUWayne Beadle 12 yd pass from John O'Korn (Kyle Bullard kick)
 
Team Stats
 HOUUCF
First Downs2324
Third Down Efficiency5-125-12
Fourth Down Efficiency0-21-1
Plays-Net Yards75-36769-398
Rushes-Yds29-13645-188
Passing Yds231210
Kick Return Yds9825
Punt Return Yds017
Passes24-46-217-24-1
Punts5-2282-83
Fumbles-Lost1-02-2
Penalties-Yds8-722-16
Time of Poss.24:4735:13
 
Individual Stats
RUSHING
HOU: Kenneth Farrow 8-57, John O'Korn 13-56, Ryan Jackson 5-12, Wayne Beadle 1-10, Daniel Spencer 1-1, Kent Brooks 1-0
UCF: Storm Johnson 28-127, William Stanback 9-74, Team 2--3, Blake Bortles 6--10
PASSING
HOU: John O'Korn 24-46-231-2
UCF: Blake Bortles 17-24-210-1
RECEIVING
HOU: Deontay Greenberry 8-94, Kenneth Farrow 3-25, Ryan Jackson 3-9, Wayne Beadle 2-32, Xavier Maxwell 2-21, Daniel Spencer 2-13, Aaron Johnson 2-10, Demarcus Ayers 1-20, Markeith Ambles 1-7
UCF: Jeff Godfrey 5-67, Breshad Perriman 5-60, Rannell Hall 3-43, Josh Reese 2-22, J.J. Worton 1-10, Storm Johnson 1-8
 
Standings
TeamStandingsConferenceOverall
Houston4th American Athletic 5-38-4
UCF1st American Athletic 8-011-1

CBSSports.com Shop

 
Top 25 Games
OKLA 12 Final
BAYLOR 41
OREG 20 Final
STNFRD 26
LVILLE 31 Final
UCONN 10
MIZZOU 48 Final
UK 17
AUBURN 55 Final
TENN 23
FSU 59 Final
WAKE 3
KSTATE 49 Final
TXTECH 26
MISSST 41 Final
TXAM 51
BYU 17 Final
WISC 27
KANSAS 6 Final
OKLAST 42
ARIZST 20 Final
UTAH 19
VATECH 42 Final
MIAMI 24
ND 21 Final
PITT 28
LSU 17 Final
BAMA 38
UCLA 31 Final
ARIZ 26
FRESNO 48 Final
WYO 10