The Roofclaim.com Boca Raton Bowl featured the BYU Cougars and UCF Knights. Statistics can summarize the game.
BYU won the game by 26 points; their average margin of victory this year was 28 points, second-best in the FBS only behind Alabama, who won their games by an average of 30 points.
No.16 BYU Cougars 49 – UCF Knights 23.
Cougars had a historic night tying the RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl record for most points scored in a quarter, with 21 in the first. BYU broke the bowl record for points in a half with 35 points in the first half. The Cougars crushed another bowl record for most first downs in the bowl game with 34 total.
BYU was on a roll from kickoff, scoring twice in the first few minutes of the first half to take a 14-0 lead. After the Cougars (11-1) took a 21-point lead to end the first quarter, UCF answered back with their first touchdown to cut BYU’s lead to 21-7. Junior quarterback Zach Wilson found Isaac Rex for the second time of the game for a 27-yard pass, after scoring on a 36-yard touchdown in the first. The Cougars continued to dominate after Wilson found Neil Pau’u to increase their lead to 35-10 at the half.
“The message was pedal down keep scoring as fast as we can,” Wilson said. “Overall, as a team, we did what we needed to do, what a great way to end the season.”
In the second half, BYU returned with power, scoring in back-to-back possessions with a 39-yard run from Tyler Allgeier. Wide receiver Gunner Romney followed with a 6-yard run to make it 49-10 after five minutes of play in the third. UCF fought to stay in the game, scoring with five seconds remaining in the third quarter to make it 49-17.
“I don’t think offensively we did a good job,” Knights head coach Josh Heupel said. Statistics showed that throughout the first half and early second half. We weren’t efficient all night long.”
For UCF, sophomore quarterback Dillon Gabriel completed 21 passes and threw for over 200 yards (21-45 for 217). While senior running back, Greg McCrae rushed for 81 yards, including a touchdown for the Knights to conclude his collegiate career. UCF managed to score again in the fourth at 7:53, but it would not be enough for a comeback.
Wilson was named the offensive MVP and led the Cougars (11-1) the entire season. Wilson tossed a personal career-high of 425 passing yards in the bowl game, setting a new RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl record.
“It is important to finish strong, especially if you look at our record. We have one loss. I wish it were a game we could have back,” Wilson said. “Two losses is so much worse than one. A loss on the last game of the year hangs with you the entire off-season. That was the motivation, especially for the seniors.
Wilson threw three touchdowns with no interceptions, completed 26 of his 34 attempts, and added another two scores on the ground. Linebacker Keenan Pili was named the Defensive MVP tallying three tackles, one of them being unassisted. Freshman defensive back Caleb Christensen was named the Special Teams MVP, returning for 10 yards in one attempt.