December 21, 2012
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Ball State had its 6-game winning streak snapped and fell to 0-6 all-time in bowl games as UCF won the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl 38-17 on Friday (December 21).
The Golden Knights led throughout, building a 13-0 lead and stretching it to 28-7 by halftime on a 7-play, 80-yard drive in 55-seconds after BSU missed a 35-yard field goal. Blake Bortles threw for 271 yards and 3 TD's. He also ran for 79 yards and another score while Latavius Murray added 73 yards rushing and a score.
The Congrove Computer Rankings had predicted a 6.98-point win for UCF which won the eastern division of Conference USA and then lost to 33-27 to Tulsa in overtime in the conference championship game. UCF also lost to Tulsa two weeks earlier 23-21. Both games were played at Tulsa.
The win gave UCF its third 10-win season in the last six years under head coach George O'Leary and prevented Ball State from achieving only its first 10-win season since going 12-1 under Brady Hoke in 2008 before Hoke left for San Diego State. Ball State was 12-0 that season before losing the MAC Championship game 42-24 to Buffalo, and subsequently lost 45-13 to Tulsa in the GMAC Bowl under Stan Parrish.
Both participants outperformed the preseason forecast of the Congrove Computer Rankings.
The 2012 season for Ball State represented a 3-game improvement from a 6-6 season in 2011. The Cardinals were widely expected to do worse in 2012 with the computer going so far as to forecast a 1-11 campaign. However, the computer's game week picks wound up going 10-3 with Ball State.
The computer was 13-1 with UCF game-day picks in 2012 after projecting a 6-6 campaign in the preseason.
The Cardinals landed in the Beef 'O' Brady's bowl when the Big East came up short on eligible bowl teams and a contingency agreement with MAC kicked-in. Ball State is the first-ever MAC team to have played in what is officially known as the "the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg".
This was the fourth meeting between Ball State and UCF. All three previous meetings took place while UCF was a member of the MAC (2002-04). The series is now tied.
George O’Leary is in his ninth year as head coach of the Knights where he has led the school to all five of its bowl appearances. UCF lost 45-23 to Rutgers in the 2009 edition of this game.