Knights Hang On to Beat Blazers

The UCF Knights put a cherry on top of their 2009 regular season as they hung on to defeat the UAB Blazers, 34-27.

UCF got on the board early as they took their opening possession down the field 66 yards on 10 plays, capped by a Brett Hodges touchdown pass to Kamar Aiken. Aiken finished with three catches for 58 yards, and the touchdown was Aiken's sixth of the season.

The UAB Blazers, led by senior quarterback Joe Webb quickly responded to the Knights opening scoring drive with a drive of their own as they marched down the field 80 yards on just five plays in just over two minutes. Webb found Patrick Hearn wide open on a 23-yard touchdown strike and after Josh Zahn's extra point, the game was tied at seven.

After a 27-yard Nick Cattoi field goal on the Knights next possession, the team forced UAB into a three and out and UCF would take advantage. The Knights marched 83 yards on just five plays as Brett Hodges connected with A.J. Guyton on a pair of throws. UCF capped the drive as Hodges connected with Billy Giovanetti for a five-yard touchdown to take a 17-7 advantage.

Just when it appeared that the Knights would begin to take control, Joe Webb would again lead the Blazers back on Senior Day as he scrambled for a 53-yard touchdown. Webb finished his last game at Legion Field with 137 rushing yards on 18 carries.

After a Knights punt, the defense forced a UAB three and out and that's when A.J. Guyton took over. Guyton returned a Trey Ragland punt deep into Blazers territory, and a personal foul penalty put the Knights at the UAB 11-yard line. Two plays later, freshman running back Jonathan Davis would punch it in from seven yards away to put UCF up 24-14, a lead they would take into the half. Davis finished with 75 yards on just seven carries, the best output of his young career.

The Knights would then take control of the game in the third quarter as they forced a turnover as freshman corner Josh Robinson picked off Joe Webb and the Knights began their next drive on the UAB 46-yard line. The Knights would then attack with a steady dose of Brynn Harvey as the sophomore back broke free for a 25-yard touchdown to put the Knights up 31-14. Harvey finished the day with 130 yards rushing on 24 carries. The 130 yards put him over 1,000 for the season, and Harvey became just the third Knight to rush for 14 touchdowns in one season.

The Knights would get conservative with the football, as they had to endure one last stand by Joe Webb and the Blazers. Webb led his team on a furious comeback as he threw a pair of fourth period touchdown passes, but it would be too little too late as the UCF defense would come up big when it had to, stopping the Blazers on a key fourth down with just over five minutes remaining.

Brett Hodges, playing in his final regular season game as a Knight, completed 24 of his 38 pass attempts for 230 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The much more heralded Joe Webb finished by completing 20 of 35 for 322 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

With the victory, the Knights reversed their 4-8 record of a year ago with a an 8-4 record in 2009, finishing with three consecutive victories and six consecutive conference victories.

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