By KYLE HIGHTOWER, Associated Press
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ Blake Bortles threw for four touchdowns and ran for another as No. 21 UCF routed winless Connecticut 62-17 on Saturday.
Bortles completed his first eight passes of the game and ended his day early in the third quarter, connecting on 20 of 24 for 286 yards.
The Knights (6-1, 3-0 American Athletic Conference) scored on their first nine possessions of the game. They remain the favorite to claim the league’s BCS berth.
UConn’s offense was anemic throughout and helped dig its own hole early, thanks to two first-half interceptions by freshman quarterback Tim Boyle. A Huskies’ fumble in the second-half set up another UCF score.
The Huskies (0-7, 0-3) have lost eight straight games dating to last season.
It was an important game for UCF, which upset Louisville last week and entered the polls this week with its first national ranking since 2010. That year the Knights lost their next game and immediately dropped out.
There was no stumble this time.
UCF’s had its way offensively in the first half as it hurried to a 45-10 halftime lead.
The Knights scored on all seven of their possessions of the half, compiling 338 yards on offense.
Bortles continued to show the poise he displayed in that comeback win, spreading the ball around to seven receivers on Saturday.
The Knights’ defense also carried over its momentum from the Louisville win, holding the Huskies to 90 yards in the first half.
UConn needed a UCF special teams’ miscue to score its lone touchdown of the opening 30 minutes.
The Huskies started the second quarter with a three-and-out and punted, but after Knights punt returner J.J. Worton lost the ball in the sun, teammate Stanley Sylverain made contact with the ball after it had bounced on the turf.
UConn recovered, and then benefited from a roughing the passer call on the Knights to set up a 9-yard touchdown run by Lyle McCombs that made it 21-10.
It was one of the few hiccups for the Knights all day, though.
Trailing 24-10 and facing a third-and-long inside his own 40, Boyle had a pass tipped by UCF linebacker Terrance Plummer and it was picked off by Troy Gray.
Knights receiver Rannell Hall then bulled his way over the goal line on a run from 17 yards out three plays later.
UCF got the ball to open the game and needed just seven plays and a little over 2 minutes to take a 7-0 lead. Storm Johnson carried three times in the 75-yard drive, capping it with a 10-yard touchdown run.
The Huskies’ started from the 10 on their first possession of the day and quickly got into UCF territory on a 57-yard run by McCombs. The drive moved inside UCF’s 25, but stalled there and they settled for a 40-yard field goal by Chad Christen.
UCF took just 2:40 to go up 14-3, this time with Bortles using a 20-yard pass to Breshad Perriman to set up his own 10-yard scoring run.
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)