It really looked like it all would come to an end, but once again, the UCF Knights staged a phenomenal second-half comeback to beat the Memphis Tigers in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game.
Say it out loud: UCF has won 25 games in a row, clinching its second straight conference title and fourth in six years in The American.
Here’s your instant reaction.
Here’s UCF’s postgame press conference:
#UCF postgame live. https://t.co/EVYSv3zzrG— Black & Gold Banneret (@UCF_Banneret) December 2, 2018
The Comeback Kids
It was looking really bad there for a while. Six-and-a-half minutes, two turnovers and three Memphis TDs in, it was 21-7.
It looked really bleak after Otis Anderson muffed a punt that led to Darrell Henderson throwing a TD to make it 38-21 before halftime.
Then the game flipped. And it started with the defense:
So to all those #UCF fans calling for Randy Shannon’s head, I’d like to point out Darrell Henderson’s stats tonight.— Jeff Sharon (@Jeff_Sharon) December 2, 2018
1st half: 10 rushes, 207 yards, 3 TDs
2nd half: 6 rushes, 3 yards
UCF’s second half for the ages rode a tidal wave of the crowd’s pent-up emotion. Yet, somehow, they stayed steady and took care of what they needed to take care of.
Look at these stats:
I’d rather be a second half team. #UCF pic.twitter.com/dGUpWMyrnN— Jeff Sharon (@Jeff_Sharon) December 2, 2018
Utterly dominant - Even more than what Memphis was in the first half.
Let’s Get McCrae-zy
Greg McCrae is a bona-fide superstar.
For all the much-deserved hoop-lah around Darrell Henderson (and Lord knows he deserves it), McCrae had an amazing night when he had to have it:
24 carries, 206 yards, and a TD. Plus:
From walk-on to record book!— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) December 1, 2018
Darriel Mack, MVP
It didn’t start well for Darriel Mack Jr. Three first-half fumbles, including two he lost and one that was recovered for a touchdown, helped put his team in the hole.
But you wouldn’t have known it from how poised he was.
He finished 19/27 for 348 yards and 2 TDs, plus another 59 yards on eight rushes and...wait for it...another record:
‼️ RECORD ALERT ‼️— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) December 2, 2018
Darriel Mack Jr. ties the school record with 4 rushing TD's in one game ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/ze9vTbCXvO
He also hit on four passing plays of 44 yards or more. Just wow.
On those four plays alone, Mack threw for 16 more yards than his Memphis counterpart, Brady White, did for the whole game (courtesy Brian Murphy on that one).
We’re still going streaking!
25 wins in a row. That’s going on the Wikipedia page:
25 games with 30+ points - a new AP Poll Era record.
In 81 years of the AP Poll era, we've done what no other team has.— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) December 1, 2018
30+ points in 25 straight games! #ChargeOn pic.twitter.com/TOOMeywbzT
31 games with a turnover, thanks to the last meaningful play of the game.
GRANT. PICKS. IT. OFF. IN. THE. END ZONE.— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) December 2, 2018
LET'S GOOOOOOOO! pic.twitter.com/zqFdr9ur9t
We find out tomorrow where UCF will play. It will be in a New Year’s Six game, but where and against whom is up in the air.
After the game, Danny White made his case clear: UCF should be in the playoff:
Danny White https://t.co/ba1XSlLgko— Black & Gold Banneret (@UCF_Banneret) December 2, 2018
I am hearing @UCF_Football will play @LSUfootball at @Fiesta_Bowl Jan 1. We will find out officially Sunday at around 2pm although may leak before that. #UCF— Eric Lopez (@EricLopezELO) December 2, 2018
Just enjoy it!
It’s a conference championship, man. Instead of worrying, for just one day, let’s bask in the limelight.
#THEHEUPISREAL ‼️‼️ pic.twitter.com/8ouclKfg22— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) December 2, 2018
“It wasn’t pretty early, but it was pretty late ” -@coachjoshheupel pic.twitter.com/YeIjO0pFTb— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) December 2, 2018
“1-0...x12”#TheHeupIsReal pic.twitter.com/un6tj9rv4u— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) December 2, 2018
Play them all. Win them all.— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) December 2, 2018
Back Back PERFECT Champions‼️#ChargeOn pic.twitter.com/4gYCyOv0tO
What a time to be alive.