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     === Behind Bortles, UCF blasts Ball State in Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl ===
 
 St. Petersburg, FL (Sports Network) - The Central Florida senior class tallied
 its school-record 34th win, but it was sophomore quarterback Blake Bortles who
 led the way.
 
 And the Knights left Conference USA with a bang.
 
 Bortles threw three  touchdown passes and ran for another score in UCF's 38-17
 rout of Ball State in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl.
 
 "He moved the ball downfield very easily, and I'm sure they're excited to have
 him back for another two years," Ball State coach Pete Lembo said of Bortles.
 
 The Knights (10-4) will head to the Big East next season.
 
 Bortles  accumulated 272  yards through  the  air on  22-of-33 efficiency  and
 added  80 yards  rushing for UCF, which suffered a heartbreaking overtime loss
 to  Tulsa in  the Conference USA title  game that would've given it a berth in
 the  Liberty Bowl. The consolation for UCF was getting to play about 100 miles
 from campus.
 
 "I  thought  Blake  did  everything  he  needed to  do  by  making  the  right
 decisions,"  UCF coach  George O'Leary  said.  "Basically, he  made the  right
 decisions  that moved us down the field. He really showed tonight why he's our
 guy out there."
 
 The Knights were an astounding 9-of-12 on third down.
 
 Latavius  Murray  ran for 77 yards  on 21 totes  and a score, while adding two
 touchdowns receiving in the victory.
 
 Keith  Wenning was 22-of-34 for 217 yards and two touchdowns for the Cardinals
 (9-4), who were looking for the school's first-ever bowl victory.
 
 Ball State had won six in a row coming in.
 
 The  Knights  jumped all over the  Cardinals right from the onset and recorded
 touchdowns on four of their five possessions in the opening half.
 
 UCF  slowly matriculated down  the field on its initial march and took 7:33 of
 the  clock as it  traveled 78 yards in 13 plays. Bortles capped the drive when
 he  eluded  safety Jarrett Swaby, who  came on a  blitz, and stepped up in the
 pocket before finding Murray for a 7-yard score.
 
 Following  a  Ball State three-and-out,  Murray finished off a 7-play, 58-yard
 trek with a 2-yard TD plunge. The extra point was blocked as UCF led, 13-0.
 
 After  an  exchange of  punts, Wenning's 7-yard  TD toss to  Willie Snead on a
 back-shoulder fade cut the deficit to 13-7 early in the second.
 
 Bortles showed his rushing ability on UCF's ensuing possession.
 
 He  ran three  times for 32 yards  on the march, which was capped when Bortles
 took  on two Ball State defenders at the 2-yard line, lowered his shoulder and
 bulled his way for the 6-yard score.
 
 Steven Schott missed wide left on a 35-yard field goal on Ball State's ensuing
 series,  and the Knights got the ball back at the 20 with 55 ticks left in the
 half.
 
 On  a 2nd-and-5  from their  own 37,  Bortles floated  a pass  down the  right
 sideline  for Breshad Perriman,  who ran a streak route, and hit him in stride
 for a 45-yard gain to put the ball at the Ball State 18.
 
 Bortles  then  flipped a 5-yard swing  pass in the  right flat to Murray for a
 touchdown and a 28-7 UCF advantage heading into the break.
 
 Schott nailed a 45-yard field goal before J.J. Worton hauled in a 7-yard score
 and  Shawn  Moffitt booted through  a 25-yard field  goal, which made it 38-10
 early in the fourth.
 
 Snead  caught a  16-yard touchdown  pass later  in the  frame to  conclude the
 scoring.
 
                                   Game Notes
 
 Murray  finished his career with 44 touchdowns, which is second most in school
 history  behind Kevin Smith's  46 scores ... UCF's 10 wins are the second most
 in  program history ... Ball State moved to 0-6 all time in bowl games ... UCF
 fell  to Rutgers  in its  first trip  the Beef  'O' Brady's  Bowl in  2009 ...
 Bortles became UCF's first 3,000-yard passer since 2002.
 
 
 
 12/22 03:09:57 ET

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