PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A sensational one-handed catch to tie. An unlikely long-gainer to set up the last-second winning kick.
UCF's latest comeback victory was the wildest yet. Shawn Moffitt kicked a 23-yard field goal as time expired after Rannell Hall got behind the Temple defense for a 64-yard reception, and the 15th-ranked Knights survived a scare with a 39-36 victory Saturday.
For the fourth time this season, UCF (8-1, 5-0 American Athletic Conference) trailed in the second half and won. UCF's last possession started at its own 19, with no timeouts. Overtime seemed likely until Blake Bortles found Hall deep to get to the Temple 6.
"Rannell Hall has previously said that Temple was sitting on everything and jumping things outside," Bortles said. "He told me he wanted to go and he went and made a big play." Bortles managed to get the ball spiked with 2 seconds left and Moffitt booted through the game winner to keep UCF in control of the American Athletic Conference race and its BCS bid. The Knights are the only unbeaten team in AAC play, and with three games to go can even afford to lose a game.
Bortles completed 27 of 38 attempts and finished with a career-high 404 yards passing and four touchdowns. Freshman P.J. Walker was spectacular for Temple (1-9, 0-6), with a season-high 382 yards passing, four TD passes and a touchdown run. He finished 26 of 44 and his yardage was the third-best passing game in school history.
"This is by far the toughest one to deal with," Walker said. "We had this game. For them to be a top-ranked team, we felt like we were better than them. We just had another game where we came up short."
Temple dropped to 2-78 all-time against the Top 25 opponents, and eight of the Owls' 10 opponents this season have passed for at least 300 yards. Bortles threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to J.J. Worton to tie the score at 36 1:06 left. Worton made a diving, one-handed catch in the left corner of the end zone.
"That's the best catch I've ever had," Worton said. "Practice or in a game. All glory to God right now. I'm just lucky I was able to come down with the ball." Worton finished with a career-high 178 yards receiving on 10 catches and pulled in three touchdowns.
Moffitt said he had never kicked a game-winning field goal before. "I'm glad I got the opportunity," he said. "My line did great, my snapper, my holder — I love them. They all picked me up afterwards. It was just a great feeling."
Walker gave Temple a 36-29 lead with 2:04 to play when he found tight end Chris Parthemore for a touchdown, and then a 2-point conversion. That was how it went Saturday in a game that featured 10 lead changes. The first half alone offered five touchdowns, two field goals, a safety and six lead changes.
Temple and UCF combined for 75 points, 1,175 total yards and 50 first downs.