Quincy McDuffie ran for three touchdowns and Blake Bortles threw for two scores to lead Central Florida to a 49-24 win over Alabama-Birmingham on Saturday.
With the win, UCF (9-3, 7-1) clinched Conference USA's East Division title and will face Tulsa in the conference championship game next Saturday. McDuffie had scoring runs of 9, 8 and 43 yards in his final home game for Central Florida.
Bortles, who completed 17 of 23 for 225 yards, hit J.J. Worton with scoring passes of 18 and 4 yards. Lyle Dankenbring returned an interception 78 yards for a score as the Knights took advantage of numerous Blazer mistakes to jump out to a 35-10 halftime lead.
"We did what we had to do, took advantage of some opportunities and it was a good day offensively," UCF coach George O'Leary said. .
Jonathan Perry threw for 307 yards, two touchdown passes and a rushing score for UAB (3-9, 2-6).
UAB outgained UCF 322-237 in the first half, but three drives inside the Knights' 20-yard line ended with no points. The Blazers lost a fumble at the UCF 1-yard line; failed to convert a fourth-and-1 at the UCF 9; and Austin Brown threw an interception with UAB at the Knights' 14.
"Anytime you get into the red zone and don't come away with points, it's going to be a factor," UAB coach Garrick McGee said. "But I don't know if we played well enough to beat a team that was as sharp and razor focused as UCF was. We're learning that you have to be on your `A' game to compete when a team is flying around and making plays like UCF did."
McDuffie, who plays wide receiver, scored all three of his touchdowns on end-around plays. The senior ran six times for 79 yards. Tailback Latavius Murray had 94 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown as the Knights rolled up 229 yards rushing.
"I'm happy for Quincy, he had a great day," O'Leary said. "That last (scoring) play, I don't think they saw him until he was 40 yards down the field. All the plays were well blocked by our offensive line and Quincy's execution was outstanding."
Perry took over at quarterback after Brown's interception and promptly hit Patrick Hearn with a 76-yard touchdown pass just before halftime. The Blazers backup added a 2-yard scoring run in the third period and a 15-yard scoring pass to Darrin Reaves in the fourth that cut UAB's deficit to 42-24 with 10:22 left in the game.
The Blazers recovered the ensuing onside kick, but Kennard Blackman dropped a pass from Perry on fourth-and-two at the UCF 23-yard line and the rally died.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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