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Gutsy call by UCF coach Heupel fuels comeback win at Memphis

Florida Football Insiders

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David Butler II- USA Today Sports

Sometimes dramatic crazy games come down to one play or one call. And a lot of times they come down to such a call at the end of the game. On Saturday in Memphis, UCF Coach Josh Heupel pulled out a truly gutsy-almost crazy 4th Down call.

And the resulting touchdown turned out to be the biggest play of UCF’s heart stopping 31-30 win over the Tigers.

Memphis clearly had the 10th ranked and unbeaten Knights on the ropes down 30-17. Running back Darrell Henderson had run for over 150 yards and a couple of scores late in the third quarter.

The Knights and Star Quarterback McKenzie Milton were struggling to get anything going. Rain was falling making the conditions even worse at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

Then the first time-first year head coach, decided to roll the dice, BiG TIME.

Facing fourth-and-one at his own 29-yard line with just under 3 minutes remaining in the third, Heupel initially left his offense out and lined up to go for the first down, but then, took a time out.

However, out of that timeout Heupel sent the offense and Milton back on the field and this was the result:

With 310 lb. defensive tackle Tristyan Hill leading the way, equally bulky running back Taj McGowan rumbled 71 yards for the game-changing touchdown on a play that will be talked about for years in UCF-lore.

Yes, there was a whole 4th quarter still to play, and Milton eventually led the go-ahead touchdown drive scoring himself on a leaping run into the endzone.

Yes, the Tigers still had two different chances to get into field-goal range, including in the final seconds of the game. Yet, the UCF defense stopped them.

Nevertheless, the play of this game was that 4th Down call resulting in that momentum-changing touchdown at a time in which UCF was perhaps on the verge of getting knocked out. And their unbeaten streak was clearly hanging int he balance, and a loss for the first time in almost two calendar years was becoming reality.

Instead, it’s 6-0 and 19 straight wins.

Coaches often get criticized for being conservative.

No one can ever accuse Heupel of being that kind of coach, ever again, after the decision he made on fourth down, deep in his own territory to swing the momentum, and help his team beat Memphis.

Guts doesn’t say enough.

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