UCF’s Timmy McClain avoids multiple tackles in gritty play to keep drive alive; Baylor gets last laugh

UCF quarterback Timmy McClain did everything he could on the final drive of the game to keep Baylor from completing the biggest comeback in program history Saturday.

The Knights were down one point and faced a fourth and 5 from their own 29-yard line. McClain was in the shotgun and took the snap. 

The Bears’ defensive linemen broke through and rushed McClain, and the quarterback started to back up and tried to avoid four converging defenders.

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Timmy McClain and Lokhai Pauole

Timmy McClain of the UCF Knights, left, celebrates with Lokahi Pauole after a rushing touchdown in the first quarter against the Baylor Bears at FBC Mortgage Stadium Sept. 30, 2023, in Orlando, Fla. (Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

McClain avoided one tackler, outran a second, stepped back and missed a third and then somehow managed to fire a pass to R.J. Harvey for a first down.

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Four plays later, McClain did it again to give the Knights at least a long shot for the win. Colton Boomer took a chance at a 59-yard field goal but missed.

It was a sour end for the Knights, who couldn’t close out Baylor. UCF had a 35-7 lead with 8:08 remaining in the third. The Knights entered the fourth with a 35-10 lead.

Timmy McClain and his teammates

Central Florida quarterback Timmy McClain (9) celebrates after his touchdown run against Baylor with teammates during the first half of a game Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

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Baylor flipped the game in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Knights 26-0 for the comeback win. Bears quarterback Blake Shapen had a touchdown pass and completed a pair of two-point conversions to get within nine points. Caden Jenkins returned a fumble for a touchdown to cut the deficit to two points.

Isaiah Hankins nailed a 25-yard field goal to give Baylor the lead with 1:21.

Baylor won the game 36-35.

Blake Shapen scores a TD

Baylor quarterback Blake Shapen (12) crosses the goal line in front of Central Florida defensive back Nikai Martinez to score a touchdown on a 2-yard run during the first half of a game Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023, in Orlando, Fla.  (AP Photo/John Raoux)

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McClain was 13-for-25 for 234 yards, two touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown. Shapen finished 21 of 34 for 293 yards and a touchdown.



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