Glendale, Az. -- The LSU Tigers overcame an early deficit to beat UCF 40-32 Tuesday in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl. The victory gives the Tigers their first 10-win season since 2013 and also snaps the Knights 25-game winning streak.
The first half was filled with penalties and ejections, and no shortage of excitement. There were a combined 14 penalties for 145 yards before the break alone, and 3 players were disqualified from the game. LSU was already without 6 defensive players to start the game and lost two more, when Terrence Alexander threw a punch at a UCF player at the end of the first quarter and then Grant Delpit was ejected for targeting halfway through the second quarter. The Knights had a player disqualified as well, as UCF defensive back Kyle Gibson was ejected for a targeting hit on LSU quarterback Joe Burrow-- also in the second quarter. There ended-up being a Fiesta Bowl record for most combined penalties in a game with 26 for 249 yards.
A 77-yard kick-off return to start the game by LSU's Clyde Edwards-Helaire resulted in a field goal on the Tigers first drive, and after that, UCF scored 14-straight to take an 11-point lead. The Knights defense was extremely aggressive from the start and had the Tigers on their heels for nearly the entire first quarter. A few big hits on Burrow, maybe intended to send a message, did just the opposite and seemed to only fire him up more. LSU went-on to score 21 unanswered and completely took the wind out of the Knights sails. UCF closed the gap to 24-21 at the half, but LSU still seemed to have the momentum in the game.
The Tigers stretched their lead to as many as 13 in the third quarter and just continued to drain the clock and control the time of possession. That was a big key to the game for LSU and they executed that to perfection. When it was all said and done, LSU possessed the ball for 44:31, compared to just 15:29 for UCF. The Tigers also more than doubled UCF in total yards (555-250).
Burrow, who was named the Fiesta Bowl's Most Valuable Player, finished the game 21-34 for a career high 394 yards and 4 touchdowns.
LSU running back Nick Brossette needed just 78 yards coming into the game to reach 1,000 for the season and went well beyond that. Brossette had 117 yards on 29 carries, becoming just the 13th player in LSU history to rush for more than 1,000 in a season. It's also the 6th-straight season the Tigers have had a 1,000 rusher.
Cole Tracy went into the LSU and college football record books with a 4 for 4 performance. He set an LSU record for most field goals made in a season at 29 and also set an NCAA record for most career field goals made.