Glendale, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Blake Bortles accounted for four touchdowns
and Storm Johnson rushed for a trio of scores, as No. 15 UCF outgunned sixth-
ranked Baylor en route to a 52-42 triumph Wednesday in the 43rd edition of the
Fiesta Bowl from University of Phoenix Stadium.
Bortles completed 20-of-31 passes for 301 yards and three touchdowns with two
interceptions while rushing for 93 yards and a score on eight carries for the
Knights (12-1), who made their first BCS bowl appearance thanks to an
undefeated run in the American Athletic Conference.
Johnson racked up 124 yards on 20 carries and Rannell Hall hauled in a pair of
touchdown passes in the win, UCF's ninth in a row since suffering its lone
loss of the season against South Carolina on Sept. 28.
The Bears (11-2) notched their first-ever 11-win season, Big 12 championship
and BCS bowl berth thanks in large part to the nation's top scoring offense
during the regular season, but were unable to put up enough points to keep
pace with the Knights despite a five-touchdown effort from Bryce Petty.
Petty rushed for three scores and tossed a pair of touchdown passes, finishing
30-of-47 passing for 356 yards with an interception in the setback.
Petty's 1-yard TD run and subsequent two-point conversion scamper brought
Baylor even at 28-28 less than five minutes into the third, but UCF found the
end zone on each of its next three touches to take control of the contest.
The first score capped a 9-play, 76-yard trek that featured three third-down
conversions, including a 3rd-and-4 from the Baylor 10 that saw Bortles hit
Breshad Perriman in the back right corner of the end zone to put the Knights
back on top.
Following a Baylor punt, Bortles broke free for 22 yards on the first play of
the fourth quarter before scurrying into the end zone from 15 yards out two
snaps later to make it 42-28 in favor of UCF.
Corey Coleman returned the ensuing kickoff 42 yards to help set up Glasco
Martin's 9-yard TD run that brought Baylor within seven, but Johnson ripped
off a 40-yard touchdown run four plays into UCF's next drive to restore the
Knights' two-touchdown lead.
Shawn Moffitt nailed a 36-yard field goal on UCF's next touch and Petty hit
Clay Fuller for a 9-yard touchdown with just over a minute left to account for
the final margin.
Early on, Johnson found the end zone on UCF's first two touches, scoring from
11 yards out on the first drive and two yards out on the second to give UCF an
early 14-point edge.
A short punt from UCF's Caleb Houston set the Bears up at the UCF 45 late in
the first and after Lache Seastrunk converted a 3rd-and-2 with a 29-yard run
to the 8-yard line, Petty scored from a yard out two plays later to get Baylor
on the board.
Baylor's defense came up with a big play early in the second to help the team
get within one, as Eddie Lackey picked off a Bortles pass at the UCF 32 and
Petty hit Levi Norwood for a 30-yard score two plays later.
However, holder Brody Trahan dropped the snap on the ensuing extra point and
tried to take off around the right end, but was tripped up short of the goal
line, leaving Baylor trailing 14-13 with 8:01 left in the half.
After the teams exchanged turnovers, Bortles capped a quick 5-play sequence
with a short screen pass out to the left for Hall, who followed his blockers
and sprinted into the end zone for a 50-yard score and a 21-13 lead.
Petty answered with a 13-yard TD run that saw him leap for the right pylon and
get flipped head-over-heels before landing on his back in the end zone to
again bring Baylor within one.
UCF had the final say in the frame though, as Bortles went back to Hall on a
short swing pass out to the right that Hall took the rest of the way for a 34-
yard score that sent UCF into the break with a 28-20 lead.
UCF improved to 3-3 all-time in bowl games, while Baylor dropped to 10-10 ...
UCF's 12 wins and nine-game win streak are both school records ... Seastrunk
finished with 117 yards on 17 carries ... Hall had a game-high 113 receiving
yards on four catches ... The teams combined for 1,106 total yards and 56
first downs ... Baylor was called for 17 penalties, totaling 135 yards.
The Sports Network