Latavius Murray had two scoring runs in overtime and Kemal Ishmael had a game-deciding interception to help Central Florida defeat Southern Miss 38-31 in double overtime Saturday night.
UCF quarterback Blake Bortles ran for two touchdowns and threw for 272 yards, while Storm Johnson rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown in regulation for the Knights (4-2, 2-0 Conference USA). UCF won in overtime for the first time in school history.
Southern Miss (0-6, 0-2) kicker Corey Acosta booted a 27-yard field goal with 13 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. Freshman quarterback Anthony Alford had a 2-yard touchdown run in the first overtime. But he threw an interception on the Golden Eagles first play in the second overtime, overshooting his target and finding UCF's Ishmael to seal the game.
Murray, who ran only six times for 24 yards during regulation, tied the game at 31-all with a 10-yard burst in the first overtime. The Knights had the first possession of the second overtime and Murray dragged two Southern Miss defenders into the end zone with him on a 4-yard scoring run to make it 38-31.
Alford and fellow freshman Jalen Richard were the bulk of the offense for Southern Miss. Richard picked up 87 yards rushing and scored on runs of 15 and 14 yards in the second half. Alford passed for 165 yards, ran for another 71 yards and had the first Southern Miss score on a 16-yard gallop in the second quarter.
Bortles was the prime mover for the UCF offense that dominated the first half. The Knights outgained USM 284-113 and ran 43 plays to just 23 for the Golden Eagles. Bortles hit 15 of 21 passes for 161 yards and scored on a pair of 1-yard quarterback sneaks.
On the Knights opening possession, Bortles converted a third-and-14 from the UCF 3-yard line, finding Rannell Hall with a 15-yard pass. UCF didn't face another third-down situation in the 15-play, 93-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard plunge by Bortles.
Shawn Moffitt made it 10-0 with a 29-yard field goal before Southern Miss finally got rolling.
Alford accounted for all but one yard in a 12-play, 75-yard scoring drive that he finished off with a 16-yard dash up the middle for a touchdown. The Southern Miss quarterback hit 6 of 9 passes for 58 yards on the drive, converting three third-down situations along the way.
Bortles got his second touchdown just five second before halftime. His 34-yard completion to J.J. Whorton on a fourth-and-2 play set the Knights up at the 1-yard line. Bortles punched it in from there and UCF led 17-7.
Southern Miss scored on its second possession of the second half to close the gap to 17-14. Richard burst through the middle of the Knights' defense and scored on a 15-yard run.
Johnson, a transfer from Miami, slipped around end on a sweep and outran the Golden Eagles defenders for a 32-yard scoring play that put the Knights up 24-14.
Richard responded with his second touchdown of the game, a 14-yard run to make it 24-21 with 8:38 left in the game. It was the first time this season that a Golden Eagles player had multiple touchdowns in the same game.