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UCF gives up 21 fourth-quarter points during loss to Memphis

Orlando Sentinel — By Matt Murschel Orlando Sentinel

Oct. 17-- The University of Central Florida and Memphis have played some classic college football games and Saturday's showdown was no exception.

Memphis quarterback Brady White outdueled UCF quarterback Dillon Gabriel, finding receiver Calvin Austin for a game-winning four-yard touchdown pass as the Tigers (2-1, 1-1 AAC) scored 21 fourth-quarter points to earn a 50-49 home win over the Knights Saturday.

UCF (2-2, 1-2 AAC) hadn't lost two consecutive games since the end of the 2016 season.

The loss snapped a 13-game UCF win streak against Memphis and was the first Tigers' win over the Knights since Sept. 22, 1990.

"You prepare with urgency and you prepare the same way every week so you put yourself in the best position to go lay it on the line," UCF coach Josh Heupel said of his message to the team in the locker room following the loss. "In athletics and sports, you want to try and ensure it goes the right way when you get that opportunity. The reality in sports is that it doesn't always go your way. But you can look your brothers in the face and know you did everything to put yourself in the best position when you get that opportunity."

Gabriel set a school record with 601 passing yards and five touchdowns, including scores of 85 and 93 yards as the Knights matched the Tigers' offensive fireworks much of the game.

UCF kicker Daniel Obarski, however, missed a 40-yard field goal with 19 seconds left to seal the Tigers' win.

The two teams combined for 1,503 yards of total offense-756 of those amassed in the first half.

White finished the game 34-of-50 for 486 yards and six touchdowns including the game-winner to Austin, who finished with nine catches for 151 yards and two scores.

It was the first time this season that UCF featured a 100-yard receiving trio, with Marlon Williams, Jaylon Robinson and Ryan O'Keefe all passing the century mark.

Williams finished with a career-high 169 yards, including an 85-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Robinson added a career-high 151 yards and two touchdowns. O'Keefe had a career-high 175 yards highlighted by a 93-yard touchdown, the longest play from scrimmage this season.

"It's hard," said Williams after the loss. "We just want to finish every game on top of the scoreboard and we didn't do that today. Any loss is tough."

UCF offensive lineman Sam Jackson said the team has to come together after the painful loss.

"You talk about it, you let it hurt and you move on," Jackson said when asked about the mood in the locker room following the loss. "You build each other up; you don't break each other down."

The Knights used a strong push from their defensive front to force two sacks and five tackles for a loss in the first half but in the second half the Tigers were able to neutralize that pressure.

Safety Richie Grant forced an early fumble on a 29-yard run by Memphis running back Rodrigues Clark and Antwan Collier recovered in the end zone.

It was the 10th fumble forced and the ninth fumble recovery by the Knights' defense this season.

However, the UCF defense couldn't keep up in the second half and consistently failed to stop the Tigers' offense.

"Our goal is always going to be to win the next game," Jackson said.

Two weeks after committing 18 penalties, including 11 false starts, during a disappointing 35-26 loss to Tulsa on Oct. 10, the Knights didn't commit an offensive penalty until the 12:53 mark in the fourth quarter.

Williams said he caught up with Obarski following the loss.

"I talked to him in the locker room and told him that one play doesn't win or lose us the game," Williams said. "Yes, it was the last play of the game, but there were way more mistakes and way more other things that went wrong in the game. That one play doesn't define the game and if anybody says something, they can say something to me."

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