The streak is over!
After two years of being unbeaten, UCF lost out to LSU 40-32 in an ill-tempered affair at the Fiesta Bowl.
There will be no repeat debate of a self-declared National Championship in Orlando. Outside of Orlando, the game will likely crush any debate of whether UCF had deserved a place in the College Football Playoffs.
UCF’s usually potent up tempo offence was held to 250 yards by an LSU defence that wasn’t at full strength. The most notable absentee, Greedy Williams, joined a growing number of players skipping bowl games to prepare for the NFL Draft.
The Knight’s backup quarterback Darriel Mack Jr struggled against the LSU front. The UCF offensive line struggled to protect him and now loses four seniors. It remains to be seen who they will be protecting as McKenzie Milton continues his rehab from a serious knee injury.
UCF Find Feet First…
There was a positive start for UCF when they held LSU to a field goal. They then took the lead through Greg McCrae’s 25 yard rushing touchdown.
However the flow of the game changed on the next UCF touchdown.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow was picked off by Brandon Moore deep in UCF territory. As Burrow made his way across the field he was hit with a ferocious blindside block by Joey Connors.
Burrow Battered But Battling…
Burrow was left battered and bloodied but the hit seemed to jolt something within him. The LSU offence usually runs through Nick Brossette but found a spark in the passing game.
He ended the night with 394 yards and four touchdowns. This included a beautiful 22 yard diving touchdown grab by Justin Jefferson, his first of two on the night.
To the fury of LSU coach Ed Oregon, UCF scored right at the death of the half. The score dragged the Knights within three points at the break.
In reality it wasn’t ever close and when Cole Tracy hit his 97th career field goal to make it 40-24 in the fourth the game was effectively over.
UCF threatened to make the end entertaining by hitting a late touchdown and two point conversion.
However, Mack Jr was intercepted on their next drive and the Fiesta Bowl trophy belonged to the Tigers.
Photo Credit: Jacob Stanek (Independent Newsmedia)