Home Sports Baylor stages remarkable comeback to defeat UCF Football after 28-point second-half lead slip

Baylor stages remarkable comeback to defeat UCF Football after 28-point second-half lead slip

Baylor stages remarkable comeback to defeat UCF Football after 28-point second-half lead slip

ORLANDO — A scintillating start for UCF in its Big 12 football home opener slowly and painfully developed right into a catastrophic collapse. Quarterback Blake Shapen returned from a three-week absence to guide Baylor (2-3, 1-1) to its largest comeback in program history because the Bears reeled off 29 unanswered points to stun UCF 36-35 at FBC Mortgage Stadium. The host Knights (3-2, 0-2) led 35-7 with lower than 19 minutes left but allowed the Bears to attain on each of their final 4 possessions and assisted within the visitors’ comeback effort by coughing up a fumble for an additional rating. It is also the biggest blown lead in UCF history. 3 times previously, the Knights had lost when leading by 21 — to Eastern Kentucky in 1988, to Houston in 2016, and to Memphis in 2020.

“That may live perpetually”: UCF football reflects on 2014 Fiesta Bowl victory over Baylor. Shapen, sidelined as a result of an MCL sprain, accomplished 21 of 34 passes for 293 yards and a touchdown. Isaiah Hankins kicked the game-winning 25-yard field goal with 1:21 to play for Baylor, which began the day ranked last within the Big 12 in scoring offense (20 ppg) and scoring defense (26.8).

Timmy McClain gave UCF one last probability for salvation with a highlight-reel scramble into his own end zone and away from tacklers on fourth right down to find RJ Harvey for a 16-yard gain. The Knights advanced to Baylor’s 42, but Colton Boomer’s 59-yard field goal attempt as time expired fell well short.

“Really disillusioned for our fanbase. It is a big moment, and we didn’t seize the moment,” Knights coach Gus Malzahn said. “We let one get away; that is the way in which our locker room feels. We were in complete control of the sport.”

UCF has been outscored 39-7 within the fourth quarter of its first two Big 12 contests, wearing down defensively and making crucial mistakes at probably the most inopportune moments.

Listed below are three takeaways, including the anatomy of Baylor’s rally or — depending on perspective — UCF’s meltdown.

UCF hangs 21 points on Baylor in the sport’s opening 9 minutes. The Knights couldn’t have dreamed a greater start. Baylor gained two yards on its first three drives, with each Tre’mon Morris-Brash and Malachi Lawrence registering sacks of the seemingly shaken Shapen. Meanwhile, UCF blitzed the Bears for 3 touchdowns. Johnny Richardson took the primary snap from scrimmage 79 yards across the left end for an electrifying touchdown, sending the sellout crowd of 44,005 into rapture. McClain walked in for a 2-yard keeper and fired a 65-yard dart to Javon Baker inside the game’s opening nine minutes to place UCF ahead 21-0. Though Baylor found a rhythm and scored within the second quarter, safety Demari Henderson halted the momentum with an 87-yard fumble return for a touchdown — a play reviewed and upheld by officials. In total, the Knights held the ball for six:58 in the whole thing of the primary half. UCF put together what gave the impression to be a decisive 14-play, 84-yard possession out of the locker room, punctuated by a 6-yard strike from McClain to Xavier Townsend on third-and-goal.

“You have a look at it, in the primary half, we had this game handled,” Knights tight end Alec Holler said. “We should always have easily closed that game out. You are available in the second half, let your foot off the gas, and stuff like that happens. It’s extremely disappointing.”

Failures in all 3 phases doom UCF within the second half. So, what went fallacious? Briefly, every little thing. Baylor elected to kick a harmless 30-yard field goal with 3:20 left within the third quarter, yet still trailed by 4 scores. McClain fired completions to Randy Pittman and Holler covering 49 yards as UCF stormed right back into the red zone, but Caden Jenkins picked off an underthrown third-down pass to Pittman, starting a sequence response of disastrous outcomes for the hosts. Dawson Pendergrass punctuated a 10-play drive with a 6-yard rushing touchdown, and the Bears converted the following two-point conversion. UCF would burn just 1:38 on its next drive, and Mitch McCarthy’s punt sailed out of bounds near midfield. Monaray Baldwin, who had game-highs in receptions (seven) and receiving yards (150), hauled in a 5-yard TD on the 9:38 mark of the fourth, and the Bears again successfully went for 2, making the rating 35-26. Looking for to stop the bleeding, McClain hit Townsend for a 14-yard completion on third down and Richardson rushed for 18 to Baylor’s 30-yard line. Three plays later, UCF selected to deploy its Wildcat package but RJ Harvey mishandled a low snap, and Jenkins scooped up a bouncing ball to race 72 yards the opposite direction. Following one other Knights three-and-out, Baldwin slipped two tackles on a fast screen and cruised 30 yards into field goal range. Hankins drilled the kick, completing the miraculous Baylor comeback.

“I feel we have team, but we’re not doing what it takes to win,” Malzahn said. “Today, we had a pair moments to win the sport, really, in all three phases. We didn’t get it done. All of us feel like crap straight away, and we must always feel like crap.”

John Rhys Plumlee dresses, participates in pre-game warmups. Earlier within the week, Malzahn said starting quarterback John Rhys Plumlee was ahead of schedule in his rehab from a right leg injury suffered three weeks ago. In an encouraging sign for his availability, Plumlee wearing full uniform and took part in pre-game warmups. Plumlee wore a protective brace around his knee, in addition to a sleeve on his leg. Saturday marked the primary time he suited up since sustaining the injury on the Knights’ final drive at Boise State. Plumlee was cleared to return to team activities Friday, Malzahn said, though he only participated in seven-on-seven drills. He is predicted to practice in a bigger capability this coming week, though his status ahead of next week’s trip to Kansas stays uncertain.

“He’ll practice this week. We’ll see,” Malzahn said. “I’m not able to say (he has a probability to play). I just didn’t feel comfortable with him playing today.”

Brandon Marcello, of 247Sports, reported earlier this week that UCF initially targeted the Oct. 21 trip to Oklahoma as a possible return date for Plumlee. The Knights travel to Kansas, who was without Big 12 Preseason Offensive Player of the 12 months Jalon Daniels against Texas, and have a bye week prior to their matchup with the Sooners.


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