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UCF Vs. Missouri final: Knights fall short 21-16

The Missouri Tigers survived a valiant effort by the Central Florida Knights to escape Orlando with a 21-16 win on Saturday.

The Tigers rode the arm of James Franklin (257 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT), the legs of Kendial Lawrence (19 carries, 104 yards and 1 TD) and were buoyed by a timely third quarter 66-yard punt return for a touchdown by Marcus Murphy to fend off the charging Knights.

Lawrence scored on a 10-yard rush with 9:31 left in the game before UCF quarterback Blake Bortles closed the gap to 21-16 on an 18-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Godfrey with 4:34 remaining. But the Knights' two-point conversion attempt failed and their rally died with it.

Bortles ended the game with 267 yards and two touchdowns while running back Storm Johnson finished with 93 yards on 15 carries.

The win puts the Tigers above .500 at 3-2 and drops the Knights to 2-2.

Box Score Hero: It would have been Bortles but his team lost so we'll give this honor to Franklin, who put up monster yardage (257) with a touchdown. Yes, he threw a pick but his team still won.

Rankings Ramifications: Neither team will be ranked following this game but at least the Tigers showed some fight after a tough introduction to the SEC.

Did They Cover?: The Tigers covered but they only had a 2-point or less spread so a win would more than likely cover anyway.

For More On This Game: Check out Rock M Nation to talk about this game and all things Tigers with other Tigers fans.

Next Week's Schedule: Missouri hosts Vanderbilt at 7:00 p.m. ET and UCF will host East Carolina at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.