HOUSTON (AP) -- Steven Moffett threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to
Brandon Marshall with 1:25 left, giving Central Florida a 31-28 win
over Rice on Saturday and a spot in the Conference USA title game a
year after going winless.
The Golden Knights (8-3, 7-1) posted the biggest turnaround in
the country after last year's 0-11 season. UCF, which earlier this
year ended a the nation's longest losing streak at 17 games
spanning two seasons, will play UTEP or Tulsa in the first C-USA
championship game Dec. 3.
Jason Venson set up the winning score, returning an interception
13 yards to the Rice 31 with 4:08 remaining. Joe Burnett then
intercepted a Rice pass with 27 seconds left to seal the victory.
UCF had to come from behind twice in the fourth quarter.
Rice (1-9, 1-6) took a 21-9 lead at halftime after trailing 9-0
deficit early in the first quarter. Joel Armstrong threw three
touchdown passes and ran 17 times for 108 yards to lead the Owls,
who themselves held the longest losing streak in the nation at 14
games until last week.
Then UCF put together drives of 81 and 69 yards in the third
quarter, the latter ending with Jason Peters' 27-yard TD run that
gave the Golden Knights a 24-21 lead.
But on Rice's first offensive play after that, Armstrong hit
Mike Falco with an 80-yard pass to put the Owls up 28-24 just 23
seconds into the fourth quarter. Falco finished with three catches
for 120 yards and the score.