TAMPA, Fla. — Alec Holler made a leaping, one-handed catch for a touchdown on a 14-yard pass from Mikey Keene with 20 seconds remaining to lead No. 25 UCF to a 46-39 win over South Florida on Saturday night and earn a spot in the American Athletic Conference championship game.
Keene completed a 41-yard pass to Javon Baker for a first down at the South Florida 29. Keene added a 10-yard run on a keeper to get the ball to the Bulls' 15 and set up Holler's leaping, twisting game-winning grab for UCF (9-3, 6-2 AAC).
South Florida (1-11, 0-8) got the ball to the UCF 32, but the Bulls' last-ditch attempt went out of the end zone.
UCF will play at No. 19 Tulane (10-2, 7-1) in the AAC title game on Saturday.
UCF scored on its first four possessions of the game to take a 28-0 lead midway through the second quarter. But South Florida stormed back, scoring 22 points in a 3:44 span of the third quarter to pull within 31-29, forcing two turnovers to set up touchdowns.
South Florida even took a 39-38 lead with 7:02 remaining in the game when Bulls quarterback Bynum Brown reeled off a 42-yard TD run off an option keeper.
The Knights answered with a 13-play, 75-yard drive that ended with Keene throwing a 4-yard touchdown to Kobe Hudson to make it 38-29. Keene was 15 of 19 for 129 yards and two touchdowns.
UCF starting quarterback John Rhys Plumlee had eight carries for 133 yards and a touchdown before he left the game with a pulled hamstring. He was also 9-for-9 passing for 73 yards and a touchdown.
Brown threw for 140 yards and rushed for 109 and a touchdown. Brian Battie rushed for 144 yards and two touchdowns for the Bulls.
South Florida: The Bulls will be looking for a new coach in the offseason after Jeff Scott was fired on Nov. 6. Whoever takes over could inherit some young talent on offense, especially Brown — as long as he and others decide not to enter the transfer portal.
South Florida: Season is over.