The New Year kicked off with some fantastic bowl games including the Fiesta Bowl between LSU and UCF. It was an opportunity for the Knights of Central Florida to showcase itself against Power 5 conference competition. The Knights, who hadn’t lost a game since December of 2016, performed admirably but fell just short, losing 40-32.

Let’s take a look at some of the most exciting moments from this New Year’s Day bowl game.

Joe Burrow’s Breakout Performance

LSU knew that its offense would have to be at its best to beat UCF and it certainly was. Quarterback Joe Burrow had his best collegiate game, throwing for 394 yards and four touchdowns. He led an LSU offense that tallied 555 yards of total offense, averaging 6.5 yards per play.

For the first time in a long time, the Tigers have a top-tier leader under center and that should help the team next season. After his Fiesta Bowl performance, look for Burrow to be in NFL draft conversations over the next year.

Nick Brossette Breaks 1000 Rushing Yards

It was a huge day for LSU players and Nick Brossette was not to be outshined. In the third quarter, star running back Brossette broke away for an 11-yard run, eclipsing the 1000-yard rushing mark for the 2018 season. He became the school’s 13th running back to record this accomplishment.

UCF’s 93-yard Pick Six

UCF kept things close throughout this game, especially in the first half. A solid effort from the Knights defense got going early, when defensive back Brandon Moore picked off LSU’s Joe Burrow and ran it all the way back for a 93-yard touchdown.

Even with a Backup QB, UCF Proved it Belongs

UCF has been the butt of many a joke after its national champion self-proclamation a year ago. Despite that nonsense – which included the erection of a billboard – the Knights proved time and time again that it deserved respect. However, the team really hadn’t played on the kind of stage, against the caliber of NCAA program, that it was dealing with in the Fiesta Bowl.

Without its starting quarterback, UCF had to rely on freshman backup Darriel Mack Jr. While he whiffed on his final 11 pass attempts, and threw for just 97 yards and a touchdown, he helped give the Knights a chance in the final minutes of the game.

UCF played hard against one of the SEC’s biggest names and, on the Fiesta Bowl stage, proved throughout the afternoon that the team should be taken seriously by the Power 5 conferences and the NCAA as a whole.

Cole Tracy Ties NCAA Field Goal Record

LSU’s Cole Tracy capped off an amazing field goal kicking career by tying two huge records on Tuesday. He tied the NCAA field goal record with his 96th career kick while also tying LSU’s single season record with 28.

Games like the Fiesta Bowl are what college football fans look forward to all season. In a single game, records were broken, LSU showed it has a bright future with its current roster, and UCF proved that it can play with the big boys. What more could someone ask for when it comes to kicking off the New Year?

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