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UCF 31-7 run shatters Louisville’s BCS title hopes

Storm Johnson, Calvin Pryor, Terell Floyd AP

Everything was going Louisville’s way. After taking a 14-7 lead in to halftime, the Cardinals stormed out to a commanding 28-7 lead midway through the third quarter. But Central Florida put together a 31-7 run from that point on and snapped Louisville’s undefeated season with a thrilling, down-to-the-wire 38-35 victory.

Louisville took  28-7 lead when a James Quick picked up a botched snap on a Central Florida punt and returned it for a touchdown a couple of minutes after Dominique Brown‘s 20-yard touchdown run sparked a wild second half. Central Florida rallied to tie the game late in the third quarter, with Storm Johnson getting in from the one-yard line an scored on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Blake Bortles just minutes later. William Stanback added a 12-yard touchdown run with 30 seconds left in the third quarter as the Knights seized momentum in the game and started to wear down Louisville.

Central Florida took their first lead of the game midway through the fourth quarter when Shawn Moffitt kicked a 34-yard field goal to cap a time-consuming 10-play drive spanning 52 yards in a little over five minutes of play. With the fate of the game, season and perhaps a shot at a national championship on the line, Teddy Bridgewater responded by driving the Cardinals 88 yards in nine plays for a touchdown an the lead. Brown’s 15-yard line down the left sideline showed great foot work and balance and seemed to give Louisville a moment to breathe a sigh of relief. But with three minutes still on the clock and timeouts to spare, it proved to be too much time left for George O’Leary‘s Knights.

Bortles was methodic in guiding Central Florida down field and showed great poise and composure. The Knights strung together a patient 11-play drive for 75 yards capped by a two-yard touchdown, and game-winning, pass to Jeff Godfrey for his third catch of the night. There would be no more important catch in the game, because Louisville’s final second desperation Hail Mary fell incomplete in the end zone.

As the pigskin fell to the ground in the end zone, the visions of a crystal ball may have shattered with it. The loss undoubtedly removes Louisville from the BCS championship picture, barring a most-bizarre sequence of events around the country moving forward. The scenario for Louisville to make a BCS title run left little with regard to margin of error. The Cardinals had to run the table in the regular season to even be in the conversation at the end of the season largely due to the national perception of the strength of The American. Louisville may still have a shot to reach a BCS bowl game of course, and they may still be the team to beat in the conference, but now they are chasing Central Florida.

Perhaps Central Florida has already taken on the role of the top program in The American as well. The Knights have scored road wins at Penn State and Louisville this season and they gave South Carolina a very respectable fight. There may not be a team in the conference that can boats the profile Central Florida has put together. This win should bring Central Florida back in to the top 25 rankings on Sunday. The focus can now officially transition to Central Florida’s path to their first BCS bowl berth, which is now coming in to focus.

The champion of The American will receive an automatic berth in the BCS bowl line-up, although there is no direct bowl tie-in. The remaining schedule does feature some tricky spots against Rutgers (4-2) and undefeated Houston (5-0), although Central Florida will get both of those conference foes at home in Orlando. The combined record of Central Florida’s remaining opponents is 12-21. UCF gets Rutgers and Houston at home.

But what about Bridgewater’s Heisman campaign? Had Louisville held on to win the game, Bridgewater would have had his finest Heisman moment of the year while driving Louisville down field in the fourth quarter for the win. Bridgewater ended his night with 341 yards and two touchdowns, but both touchdowns came in the first half. With the loss, Bridgewater will likely take a hit in the Heisman straw polls among voters, but we’ll leave that to our own Heisman pundit to worry about.

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15 Responses to “UCF 31-7 run shatters Louisville’s BCS title hopes”
  1. elwaysagenius says: Oct 19, 2013 12:01 AM

    This is why the Big East/AAC can’t have nice things.

  2. 407magic says: Oct 19, 2013 1:33 AM

    UCF! It’s been tough recruiting inat UCF with the big Florida 3, fsu, Uf, Miami. High five UCF

  3. themagicfanguy says: Oct 19, 2013 1:48 AM

    Good job Knights!

  4. vikingapologist says: Oct 19, 2013 2:12 AM

    Good game, but lost 3 parlays due to Ucf. C’mon man

  5. v2the4 says: Oct 19, 2013 2:37 AM

    good job UCF on the comeback victory and the biggest win in school history…a bunch of bubbles were burst tonight in Louisville…the cards hopes for a BCS title are now gone…their hopes for an AAC title are possibly up in smokes as well. and Teddy Bridgewater’s Heisman hopes are history.

    one a side note, why does UCF’s coach George O’Leary always have that snarl and growl on his face like a grouchy old man?

  6. jimbo75025 says: Oct 19, 2013 3:37 AM

    Great game.

    Congrat to UCF and to Coach O’Leary-he has always been a good coach in spite of that issue at ND a while back.

  7. pdcooper08 says: Oct 19, 2013 3:44 AM

    This is the reason why you just play the game.

    Sometimes the little guy just rises up and smacks you in the face, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

    Great game tonight and big win for UCF!!

  8. speedel says: Oct 19, 2013 4:57 AM

    still better then UF.

    SEC pride

  9. cwk22 says: Oct 19, 2013 8:23 AM

    Go knights – an alumni in Arkansas!

  10. divingdancer says: Oct 19, 2013 8:27 AM

    Come on, speedel, show some class. This is s story about a great game and a great win. Contrary to the belief of so many SEC fans, the world (even the world of college football) does not revolve around the SEC. Based on what I saw last night, UCF would handily beat half of the teams in the SEC. And it’s ok to admit that there are conferences all over the country that actually play some good football. But back to the story…

    The real story last night was the story of misplaced perceptions. Louisville, for whatever reason, has benefited from inflated perceptions of their program. It was enough to get them placed in the middle of the polls to begin with. After that, it was a matter of blind/ignorant poll voters letting them simply float upward as teams above them, with harder schedules, lost and they didn’t. The poll voters do a very poor job of actually ASSESSING the teams that they vote for each week. Instead they take the easy route, and just say “Well, one team above them lost, so they move up one spot”. Not Louisville’s fault. But definitely the fault of the broadcasters and “news” organizations that are complicit in this sham.

    And that’s how we get games like last night’s, in which the broadcasters dramatically proclaimed, on more than one occasion, “What’s on the line with this possession? A chance to play for the national championship!”.

    Just stop it! Louisville was never going to play for the national championship. They are a decent team. But their strength of schedule does not put them anywhere near the national championship discussion when push comes to shove. The computers were going to sort that out in the next few weeks. Yesterday’s broadcast comments were more about inflating the importance of the game, and trying to defend the rankings that they themselves contributed to. The idiot Heisman comments fall into the very same category.

    Too much of the discussion and media frenzy is simply a false platform intended to increase viewership and advertising. They seem to believe that a game is not worth watching if 1) it doesn’t have “championship implications”, or 2) it isn’t an SEC contest (a whole different discussion).

    Just let decent teams go out an play a great game of football. Leave the championship stumping, and Heisman stumping, out of it. It actually IS possible to play a very fun and exciting game without either of those factors being part of it. Last night’s game was a prime example. Two good, and very evenly matched, teams played a really exciting game. We, as fans, should demand that that be the real story. Let the shills play their stupid games. And let the football teams play theirs.

  11. phuckosu says: Oct 19, 2013 9:18 AM

    Do u ever proofread your articles before u publish them?

  12. thegamecocker says: Oct 19, 2013 9:39 AM

    It was a great game to watch on TV! Congrats to UCF and Coach O’Leary. UCF can stay with virtually any team from any conference. They are some very tough and focused football players and if they make it to a BCS game, Coach O’Leary deserves a BIG RAISE. I can see some major programs calling his name……

  13. raysfan1 says: Oct 19, 2013 10:41 AM

    @cwk–
    You mean alumnus. Alumni is plural.

    Regardless, congratulations to your team on an amazing comeback.

  14. jimsjam33 says: Oct 19, 2013 11:13 AM

    Louisville has a really soft schedule . BCS powder puffs . UCF ?

  15. timh1955 says: Oct 19, 2013 1:51 PM

    Louisville NEVER should have been in the top 10 as they don’t play a single ranked team ALL season! Who do they think they are….Boise State?

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