UCF downs BYU in dramatic overtime thriller


Bryce Brimhall / Valencia Voice

Justin Holman threw for a career-high 326 yards on 30 completions in UCF’s win over BYU.

For the second week in a row the UCF Knights used a last-second defensive stop to come away with a win, this time it came in a 31-24 overtime victory over the BYU Cougars on Thursday night in front of an announced attendance of 41,547 at Bright House Networks Stadium.

The Knights came up with a big fourth down stop by Jacoby Glenn in the endzone to end the game, after quarterback Justin Holman hit Will Stanback for the go-ahead score to start overtime. This marked the second game in a row where UCF won with a defensive stop.

“I think it was a good out-of-conference win,” said UCF head coach George O’Leary. “Great game, great crowd and we’re happy for the team.”

UCF started the game off well, taking a 10-3 lead into halftime after Holman rushed in a touchdown in the first quarter and then kicker Shawn Moffitt hit a 42-yard field goal for the Knights’ only points of the opening half.

Holman finished the game with a career-high in passing yard, attempts and completions, going 30-51 for 326 yards and two touchdowns through the air. He looked calm, cool and collected during the scoring drive in overtime, gaining praise from his teammates.

“If there’s one word I can describe it’s poise,” said Rannell Hall about his quarterback’s demeanor late in the game. “He kept his momentum up, he’s talking to everyone.

“I’m overly excited with Justin, he’s a young kid still learning the game, he has big shoes to fill right now and for him to just come out in such a big game and perform the way he did, I’m just proud of him.”

The 30 completions for Holman marked the first time a Knights’ quarterback completed 30 or more passes since 2004 and his 51 attempts is the most for a UCF single caller since September of 2003.

“Justin Holman I think had his moments tonight,” said coach O’Leary. “He was throwing those three-cuts and seven-cuts like you need to throw them.”

BYU came out in the second half looking like a different team, as the Cougars scored 21 unanswered points to start the second half, giving them a 24-10 lead midway through the third quarter.

Cougars quarterback Christian Stewart threw for 153 yards and three touchdowns for the game, all of which came in the third quarter.

The Knights responded with 21-straight points of their own, which included the go-ahead touchdown in overtime.

“I thought the resiliency of the team was outstanding,” said O’Leary after the game. “When you go down 17-10, 24-10 and you come back, it shows that you have some perseverance with your team.”

In a game where momentum went back-and-forth for much of the contest, UCF’s defense stood out as the unit accounted for 86 tackles, seven of which went for losses.

Leading the UCF defense with 17 tackles was linebacker Terrance Plummer, who less than 24 hours prior to the game lost his uncle to Leukemia.

“My uncle died yesterday with Leukemia and I was crying,” said Plummer after the game. “I told my mom what am I going to do, she said ‘You’ve got to play your heart out for your uncle and your friend,’ and I just went out there with all my brothers behind me.”

With the emotional win UCF improved to 3-2 for the season, putting them above .500 for the first time this year.

The Knights will now prepare for a normal week as they take on Tulane next Saturday at Bright House Networks Stadium. Kickoff for next Saturday’s game is set for noon, with the game being televised on ESPNU or ESPN News.