- Associated Press - Friday, October 10, 2014

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - UCF needed a little extra time to finish off BYU.

Justin Holman threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to running back William Stanback on the first possession of overtime to give UCF a 31-24 victory Thursday night.

The Knights (3-2) jumped out to an early lead before overcoming a 14-point deficit in the second half to extend the game. After UCF’s touchdown in overtime, Christian Stewart’s fourth-down pass for BYU (4-2) fell incomplete in the end zone to end the game.

“It’s a 60-minute game for a reason,” UCF coach George O’Leary said. “That was a great football night if you’re sitting in the stands or watching on TV, but it was tough down there on the sidelines. … This was a great team win. I don’t think one side of the ball played great. I think they all played well enough as a team to win the game.”

Stanback added a rushing touchdown. Holman was 30 of 51 for a career-high 326 yards and threw two scoring passes. He also had a pair of interceptions.

“I’ve never been in a game like that in my life,” Holman said. “So many momentum swings, but through all the momentum swings our guys kept our composure. We kept our heads and we never lost faith. No matter if they had the momentum or we had the momentum, we kept our heads in the game.”

In his first start since Heisman hopeful Taysom Hill went down with a season-ending broken leg, Stewart struggled early, but recovered to go 22 for 37 for 153 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.

“We found a rhythm of what he’s comfortable doing,” Cougars coach Bronco Mendenhall. “He could have been discouraged after only scoring three at half. His resiliency is a positive.”

The Knights took an early first-half lead before falling into a 24-10 hole in the third quarter.

BYU scored 21 straight points to take a 24-10 lead early in the third quarter. UCF was able to answer with a pair of touchdowns to tie it.

UCF was lined up for a potential go-ahead field goal in regulation, but bobbled a snap on an initial 43-yard field goal. After a timeout UCF tried again from 50 yards out, but Shawn Moffitt’s kick was blocked by Mitch Matthews.

BYU recovered from a sluggish start, and needed less than three minutes to score three straight touchdowns and take its 14-point lead early in the third quarter.

The Cougars tied it at 10 on the opening drive of the half with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Stewart to Colby Pearson.

Following a quick UCF three-and-out, the Cougars were then the recipient of some luck a few series later when their own drive stalled and a punt Scott Arellano’s bounced off the leg of UCF’s Sean Beckton. BYU’s Algernon Brown recovered it, and set up a 15-yard touchdown pass from Stewart to Devin Mahina, that made it 17-10.

UCF’s misfortunes continued on the next play from scrimmage, when Holman’s pass was picked off by Skye Povey on the BYU 14. Stewart went back to the air after the changeover and immediately found Mahina again for a 14-yard touchdown pass to make it 24-10 with 9:05 left in the third.

Stewart said he felt like the Cougars got complacent after they reached their magic number of 24 points.

“We need to keep our foot on the gas pedal when we have a lead,” Stewart said.

The Knights finally settled down, and closed within seven, finishing off an eight-play, 37-yard drive with Stanback’s 2-yard touchdown run.

UCF’s defense rode that rush of momentum, and sacked Stewart on the third snap of BYU’s next series. Stewart recovered, and drove the Cougars all down to the 15, before a hit by UCF’s Terrance Plummer forced and recovered Brown’s fumble.

The Knights traded punts with the Cougars, before using a 37-yard strike from Holman to Josh Reese to tie it at 24 with 10:17 remaining.

BYU punted again, and UCF had a chance to take the lead back. But Moffitt’s 46-yard field goal attempt missed wide left.

The Knights defense forced another punt, giving the Knights offense another chance.

But on the fifth play of the drive, Holman’s pass over the middle was intercepted by Kai Nacua, giving the ball back to the Cougars with 3:15 left.

___

Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/khightower

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