Glendale AZ- UCF (12-1) jumped out to an early 14 point lead and never trailed as they upset the Baylor Bears (11-2) 52-42 to claim their first ever BCS win at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Blake Bortles took home the Offensive MVP award finishing the game 20 of 31 passing for 301 yds and 3 TD's, and now the decision to go to the NFL or stay in college one more year is up in the air.
After the Knights scored two quick touchdown's they started to struggle. Forced into a quick three in out on their third possession ending in a punt, Bryce Petty and the Baylor offense stormed down the field on a 5 play 45 yard drive in just 51 seconds to make it a 14-7 game.
The woes continued early in the second quarter as Blake Bortles was intercepted twice and running back Storm Johnson fumbled the ball to give the bears a chance to take control of the game. However Baylor was not able to capitalize on UCF's mistakes, adding only 6 points to their score off the turnovers on a 30 yard pass from Petty to Levi Norwood. They then fumbled the snap on the extra point attempt making the score 14-13.
Both offenses went back and forth after the turnovers, leading UCF to a late touchdown with just over two minutes left in the game giving the Knights a 28-20 lead with just 44 seconds left in the half.
After UCF's score, Petty drove the Bears down field, maintaining a 5 play 42 yard drive that set up a 45 yd field goal attempt for Aaron Johnson.However, it sailed just right of the uprights and the Knights secured a halftime lead.
Early in the third quarter Petty connected with Jay Lee on a 50 yard bomb to set the Bears up with a first and goal at the 1. Petty ran it in on the next play to tie the game up at 28 a piece, this would be the last time Baylor was even with the Knights.
Petty would finish the knight throwing 30 of 47 for 356 yards and 2 passing touchdowns, adding 3 rushing touchdowns which is a record in the Fiesta Bowl by a quarterback.
Midway through the fourth Bortles and Johnson both added rushing touchdowns to put the Knights up 49-35. Johnson's run was a 40 yarder that sent him on a elusive sprint to the endzone. "We went over the play over and over again in practice. The line did an awesome job of creating the holes and separation for me to get through. The blocking downfield from the receivers was amazing, too. That's how I was able to get the touchdown." said Johnson of his 40 yd scamper.
Shaun Moffitt added a 36 yard field goal to the tally to put UCF up 17 with only 4:44 left on the clock and that would all but seal the Victory. Baylor was able to add one last touchdown with 1:15 left on the clock, but the Bears were unable to recover the onside kick on the ensuing kickoff and Bortles ended the game with 2 kneel downs.
The stadium erupted into chants of "UCF!! UCF!!", and "One more year!" as the fans expressed their desire for Blake Bortles to return to UCF for his Senior season.
"That's all I'm worried about now, getting this trophy back to Orlando and celebrating." Said Blake of the effects of how his performance in the Fiesta Bowl will have on his decision on wether or not to go Pro and skip his Senior season.
The win marks a monumental step for UCF as they capture their first BCS Bowl win. Knights head coach George O'Leary spoke of what it means for the program an his carrer, "Well, I'm very happy for the program. I've always deflected everything to the players. You know, players win football games. Coaches just get them in the right direction." Said O'Leary "I'm happy for the administration, everybody that's involved with the program. You sort of get a chance to win a BCS game. It's a great point in any coach's career. I thought the way the game went today, it was a game that was probably a fun game to watch if you're in the stands. It wasn't a fun game to watch from the sidelines. But I thought it worked out really well. Great win and we'll take that win back with us to Orlando."
The Knight will celebrate and then get back to work planing and practicing for their tough schedule next year as the open up the season in Ireland against Penn State. They also have to travel to Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri to take on the Missouri Tigers who finish their season Friday against Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas Texas. This is sure to be a memorable matchup.