Jacksonville Sports Day

AAC: UCF Runs Over Memphis on Road to Championship to Secure Undefeated Season

ORLANDO, Fla. — University of Memphis’ Darrell Henderson rushed for 210 yards and three touchdowns and also passed for another score, but it wasn’t enough in a 56-41 setback to No. 8 UCF in the 2018 American Athletic Conference Championship Game at Spectrum Stadium Saturday.

The Tigers now wait for a bowl invitation on Sunday.

Henderson’s 210 rushing yards were an American Athletic Conference Championship Game record.

His performance Saturday gives him 1,909 yards, the third-most for a season in program history. With 91 yards in the Tigers’ bowl game, Henderson would become the first player in school history to run for 2,000 yards in a season.

Patrick Taylor Jr. also rushed for more than 100 yards, carrying the ball 15 times for 118 yards. It was his ninth career 100-yard rushing performance. With Henderson and Taylor each rushing for 100-plus yards, it was the second-straight week the tandem both gained more than 100 yards on the ground.

Curtis Akins (14 total tackles) and TJ Carter (11) paced the Memphis defense. Carter’s 11 tackles were a season-high, and his 10 solo stops were a career-best.

The Memphis offense was hot early, running out to a 24-7 lead in the first quarter. The Tigers built their lead on two Henderson rushing touchdowns (62 and 12 yards) and a Taylor 70-yard scoring scamper. Taylor’s run was a career-long.

Riley Patterson’s 36-yard field goal ended the Tigers’ scoring in the first quarter.

After UCF cut the Memphis lead to 24-14 early in the second quarter, the Tigers had a quick answer. On the second play from scrimmage on Memphis’ possession, Henderson raced 82 yards for his third touchdown of the game. The score gave Memphis a 31-14 advantage.

The Knights sliced the Memphis lead to 10 points again at 31-21 with just under three minutes left. But, the Tigers had a final response before halftime.

The Tigers went 31 yards in five plays, and the drive culminated in Henderson’s first career touchdown pass. Henderson tossed a five-yard scoring strike to Sean Dykes for a 38-21 Memphis lead at the break.

After halftime, it was all UCF. The Knights scored two quick touchdowns to cut the Memphis lead down to three at 38-35 midway through the third period.

A 19-yard Patterson field goal stemmed the UCF tide for a brief moment and increased the Tigers’ lead to 41-35 to end the third quarter.

UCF finished strong with three touchdown scores in the final period for the 56-41 final.

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