Every Thursday throughout the summer, Knight Sports Now has been taking a look at UCF Football’s best game in each of their years competing at the FBS level as part of a Throwback Thursday series. As we hit the final stretch, we’ll be turning back the clock every day leading up to the 2018 season. Today, we continue with 2014.
UCF Football’s Best Game of 2014: 32-30 win at East Carolina
Following its 2013 Fiesta Bowl season was always going to be a tall task for UCF. The Knights didn’t get off to the greatest start, losing both their season opener to Penn State in Ireland and their following game at Missouri. But after that, they hit their stride and won eight of their next nine games.
Heading into the season finale at East Carolina, UCF had a chance to clinch a share of the AAC Championship. Late in the second quarter, the Knights went up 23-9 and looked to have the game completely in hand. They went up 26-9 in the third quarter, but things unraveled in the fourth. The Pirates went on a 21-0 run to take a 30-26 lead. The ensuing UCF drive went absolutely nowhere, making the dream of back-to-back conference champions seem dead.
But then, the Knights defense swung things back their way. The unit came up with a stop and got the ball back to Justin Holman and the offense, but there were only 10 seconds remaining. Holman hit Josh Reese for a 14-yard gain to the UCF 49 to set up a Hail Mary attempt. Somehow, some way, Breshad Perriman got behind the defense, a pair of ECU defenders whiffed on Holman’s pass and Perriman caught it for a 51-yard game-winner as time expired. With the win, UCF claimed a share of the conference title.
Holman finished the game 20-of-33 for 274 yards and the one big touchdown. Perriman hauled in four passes for 139 yards and the game-winner. William Stanback helped lead the charge early, rushing for 101 yards and two scores on 24 carries.
The final play of the game has become known as the “Hail Perriman.” It was a thrilling way to end the 2014 regular season and helped the program to its fourth conference championship. A somewhat forgotten thing about the game is that it was the final victory of coach George O’Leary’s career. His reaction to the pass was memorable. But what came next was a downhill slide. UCF went on to lose the St. Petersburg Bowl before a disastrous 2015 season that served as the end of O’Leary’s career. Despite what followed, the famous “Hail Perriman” game is definitely our pick for UCF’s best of the 2014 season. The final play can be seen below:
For previous Throwback Thursdays from Knight Sports Now, click here.