Alumni watch: Big game for UCF's Anderson

Garry Smits
gsmits@jacksonville.com
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UCF running back Otis Anderson (2), a University Christian graduate seen here against Navy earlier this season, scored a third-quarter touchdown that ignited the Knights' rally against Memphis on Saturday in the AAC championship game. [Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP]

It didn't take Otis Anderson long to make amends for the University of Central Florida.

The University Christian graduate fumbled a punt late in the second quarter in Saturday's AAC championship game against Memphis, which led to a touchdown that gave the Tigers a 38-21 halftime lead.

However, Anderson atoned when he caught a 54-yard touchdown pass from Darriel Mack Jr., on the Knights' first possession of the third quarter, the first score of an onslaught in which UCF scored TDs on five possessions in a row on the way to a 56-41 victory.

It preserved UCF's perfect record over the past two seasons and earned a spot in the Fiesta Bowl against LSU. UCF (12-0) will play an SEC team in a major bowl for the second year in a row.

The Knights also got a monster game from defensive end Trysten Hill (Suwannee), who had six tackles, three unassisted for losses, and one hurry. Linebacker Eriq Gilyard (Trinity Chrsitian) had five tackles.

• In the Big Ten championship game, cornerback Shaun Wade (Trinity) had three solo tackles and an interception in Ohio State's 45-24 victory over Northwestern.

• Also making an impact in a conference championship game was UAB kicker Nick Vogel (Mandarin). He hit two field goals, the second coming from 28 yards out with 3:23 left in the game, to lift the Blazers to a 27-25 victory over Middle Tennessee in the Conference USA championship game. Vogel made a 29-yard field goal in the first quarter.

UAB cornerback D.A. Williams (St. Augustine) had one solo tackle and broke up a pass.

• Linebacker Trey Cobb (Ware County) had two tackles and two assists to help Appalachian State win the Sun Belt title game over Louisiana 30-19.

• There were some make-up games last week involving teams with area players. Among those games, the top performance was by Liberty cornerback Jeremy Peters (Clay), who had the deep portion of the field covered in a 52-17 victory over Norfolk State. Peters had four tackles (three solos), two for losses, intercepted a pass that he returned 39 yards to set up a touchdown and broke up three passes. Teammate Malik Matthews (Potters House), also a cornerback, had two solo tackles and broke up a pass.

• Iowa State defensive end JaQuan Bailey (Raines) celebrated his selection to the All-Big 12 team by getting in on six tackles (four solos), with one sack, in the Cyclones' 27-24 victory over Drake. Linebacker Willie Harvey (Menendez) had four tackles, two for losses, and a hurry. Linebacker Reggan Northrup (First Coast) had three tackles.

• Strong safety Chamarri Conner (Trinity) had four solo tackles in Virginia Tech's 41-20 victory over Marshall.

• Linebacker Ernest Jones (Ware County) had three tackles and a hurry in South Carolina's 28-3 victory over Akron.

• In the FCS playoffs, linebacker Austin Smenda (Fleming Island) was in on four tackles as South Dakota State routed Duquesne 51-6.

NCAA Division II

For the first time in seven games, Ivory Durham IV didn't run or pass for a touchdown.

But the former Raines star still had a strong hand in Valdosta State's second leg in the NCAA Division II playoffs.

Durham gained 74 yards on five carries in the top-seeded Blazers' 61-21 victory over Lenoir-Rhyne, upping their record to 12-0 and advancing to the semifinals on Saturday at Wright-Bazemore Stadium against Notre Dame (Ohio), a fourth-seed that is 13-0.

Durham averaged 14.8 yards per carry and attempted only two passes in the game. It was hardly needed as Valdosta rolled up 597 yards of offense.

Running back Quahlin Patterson (Ridgeview) led five Valdosta players with 53 or more yards rushing with 96 on nine carries, including a 1-yard touchdown run. David White (Westside) caught one passes for 15 yards and defensive back Raynell Killian (Raines) had two tackles.

Running back Caine Crews (Glynn Academy) caught three passes for 20 yards and made one special-teams tackle.

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