Published January 13, 2015
Louisville, KY (SportsNetwork.com) - Jeff Godfrey's touchdown catch with 23 seconds to play gave UCF a 38-35 victory over previously undefeated eighth- ranked Louisville on Friday.
Blake Bortles had two touchdown passes, including the 2-yard winning score to Godfrey, and went 21-for-32 for 250 yards with an interception for the Knights (5-1, 2-0 AAC), who were coming off a bye week after beating Memphis.
"That was the first time we played bad on defense," admitted Louisville coach Charlie Strong. "You have a team that has a veteran quarterback that can move the ball and not put them in a bad place. We allowed that to happen this evening. He made some really good throws and we never got any pressure on him at all."
Storm Johnson carried the ball 18 times for 109 yards and a score, and added four catches for 79 yards and a touchdown in the win. UCF rallied from a 28-7, third quarter deficit.
"A lot of resilience was showed. We're not a roll over team," stated UCF coach George O'Leary.
Teddy Bridgewater went 29-for-38 for 341 yards and two scores for the Cardinals (6-1, 2-1), who had never trailed in a contest this season coming into Friday's action. Eli Rogers and DeVante Parker caught a score in the loss.
UCF had taken a 31-28 lead on Shawn Moffitt's 34-yard field goal with 7:36 to play. The 10-play, 52-yard march was highlighted by a 16-yard run from Johnson.
Bridgewater and Louisville, though, came right back to take the lead as Dominique Brown ran the ball in from 15 yards out for a 35-31 advantage with three minutes showing on the clock. Louisville had faced a 4th-and-5 earlier in the drive and Bridgewater's pass had fallen incomplete, but a pass interference call extended the march.
That was plenty of time, however, for UCF. Facing a 3rd-and-4, an offside call to the Cardinals gave the Knights a fresh set of downs and a 28-yard catch from Josh Resse got the ball across midfield.
Facing a 2nd-and-goal at the 5 after a spike, Johnson ran the ball for three yards and UCF called its final timeout. Bortles then rolled out to his right and found Godfrey in the back of the end zone for the go-ahead score.
Bridgewater got the Cardinals to midfield, but it wasn't close enough for an acceptable field goal attempt and his heave on the final play fell incomplete.
UCF started the game with the ball and got into scoring position thanks to a 15-yard run and 28-yard catch from Johnson. Facing a 3rd-and-8 at the 11, though, Bortles tossed a pass into the right corner of the end zone and Calvin Pryor made a leaping grab for the interception.
On 2nd-and-6 from midfield, Bridgewater and Parker got together on a 29-yard catch. Four plays later, Bridgewater floated a pass to the right side and Rogers came down with the 18-yard score for a 7-0 lead with 5:29 to play in the first.
Following a three-and-out from the Knights, the Cardinals again drove the field and got into the red zone. Ryan Hubbell then caught a pass and was hit into the air, fumbling the ball. It hit off the right pylon and Brandon Alexander recovered the ball before it went out of bounds. UCF was originally ruled to have the ball at the 2-yard line, but a review reversed the call and made it a touchback, giving UCF the ball at its own 20.
After exchanging punts, the Knights were finally able to put together a scoring drive with William Stanback's 4-yard run up the middle capping the nine-play, 71-yard march to tie the game with 4:13 to play in the half.
Bridgewater, though, came right back down the field and got the ball into UCF territory with a 28-yard toss down the left sideline for Rogers. After a 19- yard catch from Damian Copeland got the ball to the 10, Bridgewater and Parker got together on a score in the middle of the end zone as the Cardinals took a 14-7 lead into the break.
Coming out of the break with the ball, Bridgewater and Louisville needed just nine plays to find the end zone, as Brown capped the 75-yard drive with a 20- yard run up the middle for a 21-7 lead.
UCF was held to a three-and-out on its next touch and had to punt, but Caleb Houston fumbled the snap, with James Quick picking up the ball and running it in from 30 yards out for a 28-7 lead just 5 1/2 minutes into the third.
The Knights, though, came storming back on their next drive as a 32-yard catch by Breshad Perriman was followed by a 27-yard run from Johnson. That set up Johnson's 1-yard run into the end zone with 4:50 to play in the third.
Senorise Perry fumbled on the second play of Louisville's next drive, and it was recovered by UCF on the 15. After a false start call, Johnson caught a pass out to the right and he took it in to make it a 28-21 game with 3:40 left in the third.
Bridgewater was sacked on 3rd-and-10 on the next possession, and the Knights got the ball back near midfield. A 14-yard catch from Rannell Hall and 30-yard run from Stanback set up Stanback's 12-yard touchdown run to tie the game heading into the final quarter.
There was 891 yards of offense in the game, with UCF totaling 446, one more than Louisville ... Brown had 12 carries for 88 yards and the two scores for Louisville ... Rogers caught 10 passes for 95 yards, while Parker had five catches for 66 yards ... UCF hosts Connecticut next Saturday ... Louisville plays at South Florida next Saturday ... The only previous meeting between these two schools came in 1985, which Louisville won by a score of 42-21 ... Each team had 22 first downs in the game.