Highlights from what might have been the craziest college football game of the year.
Breathe in, breathe out.
After what might have been the craziest college football game of the season, in which No. 15 UCF beat South Florida 49-42 to book a berth against Memphis in the American Athletic Conference championship game, we could all use a deep breath.
This game had everything that makes college football so great: a spirited rivalry, a blacked out stadium, over 1000 yards of combined offense, back-to-back touchdowns, a kick-return score, infuriating turnovers and a wild finish. All that added up to an instant classic War on I-4 which won't soon be forgotten.
Here are the five craziest plays from a serious contender for game of the season.
Tyre McCants will. Not. Be. Denied.
We should have known we were in for a doozy when the first drive of the game finished with South Florida's Tyre McCants literally dragging his defender about 15 yards for a touchdown.
Shaqem Griffin is the best story in college football
Griffin, who had his left hand amputated when he was a child, simply wouldn't give up on this play. The reigning AAC defensive player of the year chased Quinton Flowers around until his teammate secured the sack. Quit is not a word in Griffin's vocabulary.
#ShaquemGriffin is the best story no one knows! Disabled football player that is a complete tackling machine! @SpikeLee needs to make his 🎥 movie 🍿 NOW! @MiamiDolphins scouts are you watching?! #UCF #18 #BlackFriday #USFvsUCF pic.twitter.com/SoOLhctEWq— F. Marry Kill (@purebredwarrior) November 24, 2017
How is he so open?!
After UCF scored on a screen pass to go up eight with 2:21 remaining, South Florida had the ball on its own 17 with its season hanging in the balance. On the first play of the drive, Quinton Flowers found Darnell Salomon offensively open in the middle of the field. The throw was on the money, and South Florida scored then converted the two-point try to tie the game with 1:41 left.
How do you let someone get behind the safety when you're up eight with two minutes to go? It was, however, not the most impressive catch Salomon made in the game. Check this toe-tap gem.
UCF takes it to the house for the game-winning score
After South Florida tied it, UCF's Mike Hughes took the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for what would turn out to be the game-winning score. At this point, I didn't know if I had any adrenaline left...and I was watching on my couch.
Fumble seals it
When South Florida ran the next kickoff back all the way to the 44, you had to think the Horned Frogs would find a way to tie it up. This game simply deserved overtime, but it wasn't meant to be, as UCF's Richie Grant punched the ball out of Mitchell Wilcox's hands to seal the deal.
Of course, the committee won't be swayed by one electric game. But this UCF team sure looks like they can play with anyone in the country. At the very least, they're capable of giving us a ridiculously entertaining show.