Central Florida improved to 3-2 on Thursday night with a 40-20 C-USA win over East Carolina.
The Knights entered the game as double-digit favorites, but quickly fell behind by two touchdowns to ECU. A 76-yard touchdown pass from Shane Carden to Justin Hardy put the Pirates up early, but the crowd in Orlando would come alive when Quincy McDuffie took the ensuing kickoff back 99 yards for a touchdown. UCF would turn it on from there, reeling off 20 unanswered points and taking a 3-point lead into the locker room.
George O'Leary's team would continue to pour it on in the second half, keeping ECU out of the end zone and putting things away midway through the fourth quarter. McDuffie would strike again with another big play, hauling in a pass from quarterback Blake Bortles for a 64-yard touchdown. McDuffie did almost all the work, taking a short wide receiver screen and bursting through to the second level and down the left sideline. The score extended the lead to 30-20, and the defense would take over in the fourth to shut down ECU.
The Knights' special teams success extended beyond the kick return, with kicker Shawn Moffitt going a perfect 4-for-4 and setting a new career long by hitting a 49-yarder. Thanks to Moffitt, Central Florida came away with points on eight straight possessions after punting on their opening drive.
Box Score Hero: McDuffie was the difference, scoring touchdowns in two phases of the game. He brought the Knights back in it with his 99-yard touchdown return and clinched it with 64-yard scamper on the wide receiver screen. He finished with two catches for 67 yards, and had almost 200 total yards on the evening.
But Did They Cover? Central Florida covered the 12-point spread.
Next Week's Schedule: UCF will host Southern Miss, while East Carolina will return home and face Memphis.