The Central Florida Knights had put themselves in position to the BCS as the champion of the AAC. That didn’t stop the Temple Owls from pushing them to the limit, however, on Saturday in an attempt to trip the Knights up for the first time in conference play. With the game on the line late, though, Blake Bortles stepped up for UCF and led the Knights to another victory to tighten their grip on their inevitable conference title.
Trailing 36-29 with just 2:04 to play in the fourth quarter, Bortles led the team down the field and hit J.J. Worton in the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown to tie the game with 1:06 to play. After a defensive stop by the Knights gave Central Florida the ball back on their own 19-yard line with no timeouts and overtime seeming like a certainty. But Bortles found Rannell Hall behind the defense to get down to the Temple 6-yard line and clocked it before Shawn Moffitt kicked the winning field goal as time expired.
Bortles finished the day completing 27-of-38 passes for 404 yards and four touchdowns. The Knights clearly didn’t bring their A-game in this one but they were able to count on their veteran quarterback to pick up the slack and lead them to victory. He’s one of the keys to UCF’s fortunes so far in 2013 and he was the saving grace for the Knights in this one.
With Bortles leading the way, UCF is on a crash-course for the BCS at season’s end. Even when the rest of the team is slow to get things started, they can count on the quarterback to be at his best and give the Knights a fighting shot each and every week.