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John Marshall | The Associated Press | January 1, 2019

UCF-LSU: No. 8 Knights' 25-game winning streak ends in Fiesta Bowl against No. 11 Tigers

Matt Kartozian | USA TODAY Sports Images LSU beats UCF in Fiesta Bowl on New Year's Day 2019. LSU ended UCF's 25-game winning streak in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1, 2019.

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Joe Burrow shook off a vicious early hit to throw for 394 yards and four touchdowns, helping No. 11 LSU end No. 8 UCF's 25-game winning streak with a 40-32 victory in the Fiesta Bowl on Tuesday.

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LSU (10-3, No. 11 CFP) started its first Fiesta Bowl without several key players on defense and fell into an early 11-point hole against the high-scoring Knights (12-1, No. 8 CFP).

The Tigers clawed back behind Burrow and a defensive front that made life difficult for UCF quarterback Darriel Mack Jr.

Burrow was slow getting up after being blindsided by 313-pound defensive lineman Joey Connors on an interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter. LSU’s junior quarterback returned to the game and picked apart UCF’s secondary, hitting 21 of 34 of passes, including two touchdowns to Justin Jefferson.

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LSU sacked Mack five times and made him rush numerous throws, holding the nation’s third-best offense to 250 total yards — 295 below its average — while spoiling the Knights’ bid for a second-straight self-proclaimed national title.

Taj McGowan scored on a 2-yard run and the Knights converted a 2-point conversion to pull UCF to within 40-32. After LSU recovered the onside kick, the Knights’ last-ditch attempt ended on a tipped interception.

UCF declared itself national champions after finishing as the only undefeated FBS team a year ago. The Knights earned another shot at an undefeated season by staging a massive rally to beat Memphis in the American Athletic Conference title game.

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Just like last year, UCF was on the outside looking in when the CFP final four was announced, adding to the boulder-sized chip on its shoulder and only a self-awarded national title in its reach.

The Speedy Knights got the Fiesta Bowl off to a fast start, going up 14-3 on Joe McCrae’s 25-yard TD run and Brandon Moore’s 93-yard interception return.

The Tigers roared back behind Burrow and their disruptive defensive front.

Burrow shook off the big hit on the pick six, finding Jefferson on a pair of scoring passes and a 49-yard TD to Derrick Dillon.

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UCF sputtered offensively after its opening drive, but Mack hit Gabriel Davis on a 32-yard pass to pull UCF to within 24-21 at halftime.

Burrow opened the second half with a 32-yard TD pass to Ja’Marr Chase, and Cole Tracy hit three field goals to put LSU up 40-24. Tracy’s final kick, the 97th of his career, broke the NCAA all-division record and sent LSU to its first 10-win season since 2013.

THE TAKEAWAY

Even depleted, LSU’s defense proved to still be formidable and Burrow showed his grit after the big hit.

UCF missed injured two-time AAC player of the year McKenzie Milton and had no answer for LSU’s passing game.

UP NEXT

LSU: RB Nick Brossette is a senior, Clyde Edwards-Helaire is just a sophomore and Burrow will be back. S Grant Delpit, the ninth consensus All-American in program history, also is a sophomore and most of the defense should be back.

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UCF: Most of the Knights’ offense skill players should be back, but they have four seniors on the two-deep offensive line roster. UCF also will have new pieces on defense next season, with nine seniors on the two-deep.

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