Blake Bortles passed for one touchdown and ran another Thursday night, helping No. 17 Central Florida dominate Rutgers 41-17 to remain unbeaten in the American Athletic Conference.
The Knights (9-1, 6-0) won for the sixth straight time following a three-point loss to South Carolina, retaining sole possession of first place in the AAC — one game ahead of Louisville and Cincinnati.
Black and gold filled Brighthouse Network Stadium as UCF fans watched the Knights take on Rutgers in a game that puts them closer to their first BCS bid.
"I have been waiting 25 years for a season like this," said Paul Cohen. "I graduated in 1988, I've been a season ticket holder ever since. This is what I've been waiting for."
With the lead in the American Athletic Conference, fans said they already have their hotel reservations in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl.
"I already have my hotel reservations at the Sugar Bowl. We're going all the way," said Cohen.
As fans come out from another win, it's clear the Knights won't stop fighting to stay on top.
"This is unbelievable for central Florida and a great opportunity for our community," said UCF fan Kim Martin.
Bortles threw a 4-yard TD pass to Breshad Perriman in the opening quarter and UCF scored on its first four offensive possessions to build a 28-7 lead.
Rutgers (5-5, 2-4) trimmed its deficit to 14 before the half when Andre Patton recovered a blocked punt in the end zone. However, that was as close as the Scarlet Knights got the rest of the way.
Bortles completed 21 of 30 passes for 335 yards and no interceptions. The redshirt junior scored on a 7-yard run in the second quarter, finishing one of three TD drives he led covering 79 or more yards.
J.J. Worton, whose one-handed, highlight-reel catch in the back of the end zone helped UCF rally for a victory over last-place Temple five days earlier, had his second straight 100-yard receiving game with five catches for 117 yards. Storm Johnson rushed for 75 yards and scored on runs of 1 and 12 yards.
Rutgers has lost four of five following a 4-1 start. The Scarlet Knights have been outscored 166-58 in the losses, all in conference play.
UCF has won five games by seven or fewer points this season, but this one was never in doubt.
The Knights moved 69 yards in eight plays following the opening kickoff to take an early lead on Bortles' TD pass to Perriman and marched right down the field again to go up 14-0 on Johnson's first TD after Clayton Geathers intercepted Gary Nova when Rutgers' quarterback threw into double coverage. Johnson's 11th rushing touchdown of the season completed a 14-play, 86-yard drive that made it 21-0 midway through the second quarter.
Despite amassing a season-best 657 yards of total offense against Temple, Bortles had to lead his team to 10 points in the final 66 seconds to beat the Owls 39-36 to remain atop the conference standings last Saturday. Two weeks ago, the Knights held off Houston after leading 6-0 at the half.
Rutgers was unable to move the ball with any consistency. Nova was 11 of 34 passing for 107 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. The Scarlet Knights' biggest gainer was Michael Burton's 38-yard run on a fake punt play that accounted for more than half the 71 yards Rutgers marched to score on Paul James' 1-yard run on fourth down.
Anthony Cioffi blocked the punt that Patton recovered for a TD, cutting UCF's lead to 28-14 just before halftime.
Bortles finished the rout by producing two second-half field goals and leading another long drive that William Stanback capped with a 1-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter.
UCF will take on USF next Friday at 8 p.m. UCF is calling it a "blackout" with fans encouraged to wear all black to the home game.