Football Takes Down Memphis, 28-21


Nov. 22, 2008

Final Stats | Notes

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (UCFAthletics.com) - A 19-yard touchdown strike from Rob Calabrese to Khymest Williams put UCF up 28-7 in the third quarter, and the Knights held on for a 28-21 victory over Memphis at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium Saturday. It was UCF's second-straight Conference USA road win, as it moved its record to 4-7 overall and 3-4 in C-USA play.

Freshman running back Brynn Harvey once again led all rushers for both teams, totaling 71 yards on 11 carries. Last weekend at Marshall, Harvey finished with a game-high 150 yards on 33 attempts.

Defensively, Sha'reff Rashad collected 11 tackles, which was one shy of his career-high. Meanwhile, Joe Burnett added to his school record by picking off his 16th pass as a Knight, which is just two short of the C-USA record. Burnett's 42 return yards on the interception surpassed teammate Johnell Neal for the UCF career record, as Burnett now has 262 yards in four seasons in a Black and Gold uniform.

Special teams ignited UCF's first touchdown of the day when Bruce Miller blocked an Arkelon Hall punt to give the Knights the ball at the Memphis 30. Harvey quickly got into the redzone on a 26-yard scamper, and Calabrese found Ricky Kay on third-and-goal for the 7-0 lead with 7:51 to go in the first quarter.

That advantage doubled to 14-0 when the Tigers got the ball back. On their second play of the ensuing drive, a bad snap enabled UCF defensive back Derrick Hallman to sprint in for the fumble recovery and he took it to the house for a 26-yard touchdown.

Although Memphis' offense sprung to life on a three-play, 69-yard drive that culminated in a 54-yard touchdown pass from Hall to Duke Calhoun with 5:40 remaining in the opening quarter, that was as close as it would get in the first half. Late in the second quarter, UCF answered with a lengthy 12-play, 82-yard drive that had two plays work in the Knights' favor. On third-and six from their own 22, Joe Weatherford connected with Kamar Aiken on a 39-yard pass play, and eventually facing fourth-and-17 on the Memphis 35, Weatherford again converted by hooking up with Brian Watters for 28 more yards. That set up Latavius Murray's one-yard touchdown run to bring the lead to 21-7 at the break.

Already with a two-touchdown cushion, UCF had possession first in the third quarter and went down the field in 3:16, as the Williams' touchdown proved to be a huge moment in the game. Curtis Steele put Memphis back in the endzone on a two-yard run with 4:52 showing on the clock in the third, and Steven Black closed the deficit to 28-21 with a three-yard run of his own mid-way through the fourth quarter.

Memphis did have three more drives in the final frame. The Tigers could not get into UCF territory on their first two attempts, but reached the Knights' 44-yard line after a fourth-down conversion. Hall spiked it on first down to stop the clock, then witnessed his next three passes fall off the mark to seal the win for the Knights.

The 2008 season will come to a close on Nov. 29 when UCF hosts UAB at 1 p.m. at Bright House Networks Stadium. Tickets can be purchased be heading to TicketMaster.com.