David Kohl-US PRESSWIRE
UCF blew a 24-10 lead in the fourth quarter, but a touchdown run by Latavius Murray helped the Knights escape UTEP with a narrow win.
Blake Bortles threw for a touchdown and ran for two more scores, and the Knights overcame a late UTEP rally to beat the Miners, 31-24, on Saturday night in El Paso.
With a 24-10 lead in the fourth quarter, things looked good for UCF (8-2, 6-0 in Conference USA). But back-to-back scoring drives by UTEP (2-8, 1-5), including a 69-yard touchdown run by Nathan Jeffery, tied the game at 24 with just under eight minutes left. UCF answered back with a touchdown of its own on a three-play, 75-yard drive. The big blow came from Latavius Murray, who broke off a 49-yard run to pay dirt.
UTEP tried to answer, but got stuck at midfield. With four minutes left in the game, the Miners decided to go for it on 4th-and-4, but quarterback Blaire Sullivan was stuffed on the carry, and the Knights ran out the clock after the turnover-on-downs.
Bortles finished with 214 yards on 16-of-28 passing, adding 40 yards on 11 carries. Murray ran for 116 yards on 23 carries. For UTEP, Sullivan was just 5-of-11 for 79 yards and an interception, but did run for 72 yards. The Miners wasted a big effort from Jeffery, who gashed UCF for 175 yards and two touchdowns.
Still undefeated in conference play, UCF will travel to Tulsa to face the leaders of the West Division. Kickoff will be at noon on Nov. 17.