By Jacob Rice
History made and many records broken after Memphis emerges victorious against UCF.
The biggest comeback in Memphis Football history was made after the Tigers beat Central Florida at the Liberty Bowl. Head coach Ryan Silverfield won his first American Athletic Conference game as the coach for the Tigers. Silverfield said it was a full team effort and it was nice to be in the win column.
"Just so proud," Silverfield said. "I just think it speaks so highly of the heart and the character and the belied of these guys. We believe in each other, we are a family."
Memphis (2-1) notched a 50-49 victory over Central Florida (2-2) but it wasn't a close game until the second half. Down 21 points in the third quarter, the Central Florida Knights led 35-14 and seemed to have beat Memphis again. The Tigers went from being down 21 to outscoring the Knights 36-14.
Silverfield said he truly believed coming back from a 21-point deficit was possible.
"We were all in this together," Silverfield said. "I think this is a resilient group. I don't know if I could be more proud of the group that is in that locker room right now."
The Tigers blocked an extra point in the second half and it kept the Knights' lead at six. Central Florida kept getting the two-point conversion to lead by seven and Memphis did the same to keep it a six. Silverfield said the he and the team did not want to go into overtime, but rather win in regulation.
"We were playing to win the football game," Silverfield said. "I just thought it was the best thing to play aggressive there."
The Tigers drove down the field, scored a touchdown and led by one point with 1:08 left in the fourth. UCF worked down to the Memphis 22-yard line and was held to a fourth down and missed the field goal to give them the lead. The Tigers ran off the final 19 seconds completed the comeback, winning by one point.
Both teams combined for 1501 offensive yards, 191 offensive plays and scored 99 points. Both quarterbacks ended the day with record breaking performances, combining for 1087 passing yards, 11 touchdowns passes and no interceptions.
Memphis quarterback Brady White passed for 486 yards and six touchdowns, a school record. White achieved eight thousand career passing yards, moving him to third in the UofM record books. White also scored a rushing touchdown, giving him seven total touchdowns.
White said he was super proud and thankful of his teammates after coming back from such a deficit.
"We didn't flinch at all," White said. "Our guys had a tremendous amount of fight and focus and I love the energy and the passion we play with."
UCF quarterback Dillon Gabriel had a standout game with 601 passing yards with five touchdown passes. Gabriel became the first Central Florida quarterback to pass for over 500 yards in a game. He also had a rushing touchdown giving him six total.
The Tigers won the game without Damonte Coxie and TJ Carter. This was the largest comeback win in Memphis Football history. The previous record was against Houston in 2017 when the Tigers erased a 17-point deficit after halftime. Memphis found themselves in a similar position with UCF as they did SMU being down 21 points early.
Central Florida had 10 penalties giving up 96 yards. The Memphis offense got seven first downs because of the issues with the UCF defense. The Tigers were also 5-5 on fourth down. Memphis had previously lost 13 straight games to UCF. Now, Central Florida lost two games in a row for the first time since 2016.