Sept. 29, 2012
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Marcus Murphy returned a punt 66 yards for a touchdown and James Franklin added an 80-yard touchdown pass to freshman WR Dorial Green-Beckham as Missouri ground out a 21-16 win over Central Florida.
Mizzou TB Kendial Lawrence ran for 104 yards (with 101 of them coming in the second half), and scored from 10 yards out with 9:31 left in the game to give the Tigers their first bit of breathing room, with a 21-10 lead. The Knights got back in the game with their own score with 4:34 remaining, but the ensuing two-point conversion pass was knocked away by Tiger CB Kip Edwards to leave it at 21-16.
Mizzou was unable to kill the clock, but following a Tigers punt, Knights receiver Jeff Godfrey's fumble with 2:26 left allowed Missouri (3-2) to hang on. The turnover, which extended Mizzou's active streak to 23 games with a takeaway, was caused on a hit by junior CB E.J. Gaines, and recovered by junior DT Sheldon Richardson. It was a fitting end to big days by both star defenders, as Gaines led all players with a career-high 13 tackles, including 2.0 tackles for loss, and one pass break up to go with the forced fumble. Richardson added nine tackles, and added 2.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack and two quarterback hurries to go with his recovered fumble.
UCF (2-2) controlled the first half, using a ball control offense which ran for 113 yards in the opening 30 minutes, against a Tiger defense which came into the game allowing only 107.00 yards per game. Despite holding a massive edge in time of possession in the first half (21:59-to-8:01), the Knights could only take a slim 10-7 lead into the lockerroom at halftime.
A 42-yard UCF field goal by Shawn Moffitt with 3:28 to play in the first quarter gave the Knights a 3-0 lead, and it marked the first points scored against Mizzou's defense in the first quarter in 2012.
Missouri had several promising drives stall early before getting on the board via an 80-yard touchdown strike from Franklin to Dorial Green-Beckham. That gave the Tigers a 7-3 lead in the opening minutes of the second quarter.
UCF defensive back A.J. Bouye briefly had Green-Beckham locked up by the legs near the 50 before slipping to the turf. Green-Beckham then sprinted untouched into the end zone. The play, the Tigers' longest from scrimmage this season, also was a career-best for Franklin.
The Knights responded on the ensuing drive, with Blake Bortles using a 41-yard pass to Rob Calabrese to set up an 11-yard touchdown pass to Quincy McDuffie.
Following a series of punts, UCF got hot again and drove the ball from its own 12 all the way inside the Tigers' 10 with less than 2 minutes to play in the half.
A pass interference call on Missouri gave the Knights first-and-goal on the 3. But after a stuffed run and incomplete pass, the opportunity was squandered as Tiger DE Michael Sam sacked Bortles on the 8-yardline, and time expired before the Knights could run out their field goal team.
Franklin bounced back from a rough outing the previous week at South Carolina, and put together his best game of 2012, going 19-for-30 for 257 yards and the one TD.
Prior to Murphy's punt return, the Knights looked to be taking control of the game, leading 10-7 and coming off an interception and fourth sack of Franklin early in the third quarter.
The Tigers were successful at times with their hurry-up offense, but UCF's defense also helped keep Franklin off balance, sacking him three times in the opening 30 minutes.
Mizzou's defense made adjustments in the second half, and held the Knights to just 15 rushing yards after intermission. At the same time, the Tiger offense used its own ground attack after halftime, with Lawrence getting the bulk of the work, as he carried 18 times in the second half for 101 yards and a touchdown.