The longest winning streak in the nation got a scare, but was extended to 25 when UCF knocked off Memphis in the AAC Championship game, 56-41.
Memphis came out hot with a 24-7 first quarter, and things looked bleak for UCF with starting quarterback McKenzie Milton out with a gruesome knee injury suffered against USF. After the teams had an equal 14-14 frame in the second quarter, UCF needed some kind of a spark, which they got.
UCF stormed back for one of their most impressive wins of their streak.
Early in the fourth quarter, UCF took a 42-41 lead after a 50-yard run by Greg McCrae to the Memphis 2, when backup quarterback Darriel Mack Jr. punched the football in for the lead change.
In fact, Mack had dominated the second half. The Knights scored five touchdowns in the second half, and Mack was involved in all of them. The first was a 54-yard touchdown pass to Otis Anderson to make it a 38-28 game.
After that, Mack had runs of four, two, two, and five yards. The last run made it a 56-41 game with 2:29 left. Memphis attempted to make a desperate push, but UCF sealed the game with an interception in the end zone by Brady White with 40 seconds.
The Knights’ win streak started on Aug. 31, 2017, with a 61-17 throttling of Florida International.
Little did we know that it was just the start of what would become a non-Playoff championship claim. UCF went on to coast through a good amount of their games, with a narrow 62-55 AAC Championship win over Memphis, and a 34-27 Peach Bowl victory over Auburn.
Shortly after, athletic director Danny White claimed their national championship:
.@UCFDannyWhite didn’t stutter...#ChargeOn pic.twitter.com/ozdNaz4MCW— UCF Knights (@UCFKnights) January 1, 2018
UCF claimed their national championship all offseason and in various ways. Whether that be license plates, banners on practice fields, or a state proclamation.
Everything at UCF changed because of Scott Frost.
Frost inherited a UCF team that went 0-15 in 2015. In 2016, his first season, the Knights improved to 6-7. Since then, the Knights have done plenty of winning.
Frost implemented a creative spread offense. It’s a distribution-heavy offense that gets a lot of people involved. After his departure to Nebraska in the offseason, UCF surprised everybody by hiring Josh Heupel, but it’s turned out to be a fine hire, at least in year one.
Now, with their second-consecutive AAC title, another national championship season is still alive.
And we’ll certainly be hearing all about it.