College football roundup: Central Florida outlasts Memphis in wild American Athletic Conference title game
Central Florida for the second consecutive week prevailed in a shootout on its home field.
The 12th-ranked Knights captured the American Athletic Conference championship Saturday as they defeated No. 16 Memphis, 62-55, in double overtime in Orlando, Fla. It is the Knights' third AAC crown in the past five years.
They won the East Division last Friday with a 49-42 win over South Florida.
It was a wild game and the last at UCF for coach Scott Frost. After it was over, the second-year coach and Nebraska native was named the Cornhuskers' next coach.
Frost, fighting back tears, said: “I'm going to go celebrate with my team.”
It was quite a sendoff. The top two scoring teams in the country combined for 117 points and 1,479 yards. It was tied at 48 at the end of regulation.
UCF had the ball first in the second overtime and scored on a 1-yard run by Otis Anderson. Memphis got as far as the UCF 9 on its possession, but Riley Ferguson's pass on second-and-goal was intercepted by Tre Neal as the Knights (12-0, CFP No. 15) secured a likely spot in a New Year's Six bowl.
The teams exchanged touchdowns in the first overtime. Memphis got the ball first and scored when Ferguson connected with Anthony Miller from 15 yards. UCF answered on a 2-yard run by Adrian Killins.
The Knights led 48-34 early in the fourth quarter, but the Tigers (10-2, CFP No. 20) rallied to tie with 4 minutes, 13 seconds remaining on Ferguson's 10-yard touchdown pass to Miller.
Memphis had a chance to win it in regulation, but Riley Patterson's 51-yard field-goal attempt with 28 seconds remaining was wide left.
UCF's McKenzie Milton threw for 494 yards and five touchdowns as he was named the game's most outstanding player. Dredrick Snelson and Tre'Quan Smith caught two touchdown passes apiece.
Toledo 45, Akron 28 — Logan Woodside threw four touchdown passes, and Terry Swanson (Aliquippa) rushed for 180 yards and two scores as Toledo prevailed at Ford Field in Detroit.
Receivers Diontae Johnson (118 yards) and Jon'Vea Johnson (103) combined for 221 yards and three touchdowns for Toledo (11-2), which won its third conference championship game and first since 2004.
“When you have offensive balance, not just with the run and the pass, but two receivers getting the ball and making plays, you are going to be tough to stop,” Toledo coach Jason Candle said. “We have great players, and it is our job to find ways to get them all involved.”
Akron (7-6) forced five turnovers but couldn't overcome a lopsided first half in its second loss to Toledo (11-2) this season.
Woodside threw three touchdown passes in the first half, two to Diontae Johnson, as the Rockets took a 28-0 lead. Swanson rushed for 61 yards and another score as Toledo outgained Akron, 326-98, in the half.
Florida Atlantic 41, North Texas 17 — Lane Kiffin's first season at Florida Atlantic brought the school's first Conference USA championship.
Devin Singletary had 26 carries for 164 yards and three touchdowns for the Owls, who extended their unbeaten streak to nine games and finished undefeated against C-USA opponents this season. Jason Driskel completed 15 of 27 passes for 269 yards and a touchdown for FAU, and Kalib Woods had a school-record 208 receiving yards.
FAU (10-3) had 633 yards of offense, and Kiffin's last play call of the day was one where he ordered his brother — defensive coordinator Chris Kiffin — to get a water bucket dumped on him. FAU's players then got the head coach with one, and the celebration was underway.
“It's not about me,” Kiffin said on the field afterward. “I'm so happy for these players, for these fans. ... It's just a special year.”
Mason Fine completed 28 of 44 passes for 367 yards for the Mean Green (9-4), whose five-game winning streak was snapped.