UCF beat UAB

ORLANDO — UCF’s seniors made sure they sent themselves off the right way on Senior Day with a 49-24 win over the University of Alabama-Birmingham Saturday afternoon at Bright House Networks Stadium.

Senior receiver Quincy McDuffie led the effort with three rushing touchdowns.

“I’m proud of all of my classes, but when you have a senior class like this that has won the most of any senior class in the history of a school that says a lot about the class,” said UCF head coach George O’Leary.

UCF started the game, wasting no time with a five-play 62 yard drive that culminated in a 14 yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Blake Bortles to fellow sophomore receiver J.J. Warton to cap the opening drive.

On the next drive, UAB sped the ball downfield on big plays by receiver Jackie Williams and running back Bashir Coles only to fumble the ball away into the end zone where senior Knights cornerback AJ Bouye recovered to thwart the effort to tie the score.

With the ball back, the UCF offense picked up where it left off on the previous drive, moving the ball at will on a seven-play 80 yard drive that ended with senior running back Latavius Murray scampering in for a 3 yard touchdown run.

The Blazers were finally able to get on the board midway through the second quarter when sophomore kicker Ty Long booted a 25 yard chip shot through the uprights to make the score 14-3. The touchdown was set up by a 31 yard pass from quarterback Austin Brown to receiver Patrick Hearn.

UCF was able to get a touchdown late in the first half when Worton returned a punt to the UAB 9 yard line to set up a 9 yard rushing touchdown by McDuffie.

With UAB in scoring position after driving the length of the field to the Knights’ 14 yard line, Brown dropped back to pass only to throw an interception directly to senior Lyle Dankenbring, who returned it 61 yards for a touchdown.

“Austin just threw the ball to the other guy. He handed the ball to one of their guys which is a really bad football play,” said UAB head coach Garrick McGee.

The Blazers, who decided a change of quarterback was needed, responded with their first touchdown of the game 3 plays into the drive on a 76 yard pass from junior Jonathan Perry to Hearn to make the score 28-10.

The Knights were able to get a quick touchdown in before the end of the quarter on a 5 play 56 yard drive, ending in Worton’s second touchdown reception of the game to make the score 35-10 going into the halftime.

The UCF offense continued to pour it on the Blazers’ defense, scoring on their first possession of the half with McDuffie once again scoring on a 8 yard rush out of the wild Knight formation.

“I was surprised. I was expecting them to shift to that side of the field but we kept making things happen with that play,” said McDuffie on the sweep out of the wild Knight formation, on which he scored all three of his touchdowns.

Late in the third quarter UAB was finally able to capitalize on its big plays after moving the ball to UCF’s 2 yard line. Perry was able to scramble into the end-zone to give the Blazers another touchdown.

The Blazers added another touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 15 yard screen pass from Perry to sophomore Darrin Reaves.

UCF faces off with Tulsa next week in the Conference-USA championship, which is a rematch of a game the Knights lost earlier this year against their conference foe.

“Winning the division isn’t enough for us because we have put a lot of effort into this season and we expect to win a championship,” said senior safety Kemal Ishmael.