In one of the craziest finishes to a college football game this season, Central Florida wide receiver Breshad Perriman hauled in a 51-yard touchdown pass on a Hail Mary from quarterback Justin Holman to give UCF a 32-30 win at East Carolina on Thursday and claim a share of the AAC title.
“It was a crazy feeling,” Perriman said. “I’m just glad that I was blessed enough for him to throw me the ball. I just put it all in God’s hands. I’m thankful I was able to come down with the ball. It was just a crazy emotion.”
UCF actually led 26-9 entering the fourth quarter before giving up 21 unanswered points. The Knights allowed three scoring drives – all at least 48 yards, none lasting longer than 2:58 – to fall behind 30-26 with 2:17 remaining.
It all set up Perriman’s heroics. After a 14-yard completion put UCF near midfield, Holman took it from there, chucking a deep ball to Perriman, who was double-covered in the end zone.
“I just knew this was the last play of the game,” Perriman said. “Justin threw a great ball, the defenders mistimed (their jump), and I just jumped higher and was blessed enough to come down with the ball.”
It was the first touchdown pass of the game for Holman, who finished 20-of-33 for 274 yards.
Perriman, who had four catches for 139 yards, said it seemed like the defenders were playing the ball – and not him – on the Hail Mary.
“I think they were trying to get an interception or swat the ball down,” he said. “I was just glad it played out the way it did. I give all the glory to God.”
UCF (9-3, 7-1) has now won nine of its last 10 games, including four straight, to earn a share of the conference championship with Memphis (9-3, 7-1). Thus, Perriman’s catch didn’t just save the game; it saved a season.
ECU quarterback Shane Carden overcame a slow start to rally the Pirates in the fourth quarter. He finished 36-of-48 for 397 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. He also kneeled the ball three times in the final minutes and took a sack on fourth down, giving the ball back to the Knights with 10 seconds remaining.
Holman found Josh Reese for the 14-yard completion before Perriman’s catch stunned the home crowd at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in Greenville, North Carolina.
ECU (8-4, 5-3) has lost three of its last five games after a 6-1 start.
“It still really hasn’t hit me yet,” Perriman said. “I’m still in shock.”