Sunday, May 27, 2018
Colleges

Bortles, UCF rout Akron in football opener

ORLANDO — UCF's Blake Bortles could not help but crack a smile after his third touchdown pass Thursday night, and after another dazzling play in a 38-7 season-opening victory over Akron, he had every right to grin.

Even when things were going wrong for the quarterback, they were going right.

Midway through the second quarter, the junior recovered his fumble — a pass attempt that slipped out of his hand and popped up — scrambled from defenders and tossed a 39-yard strike to receiver J.J. Worton to put the Knights up by three touchdowns.

It was that kind of night for the second-year starter.

"I got to stop doing that,'' Bortles said. "Just hands had gotten sweaty, got some rosin, dried them up, so it won't happen again. But at least we made something out of it.

"It was just one of those nights where things were rolling our way," Bortles said, smiling. "I got a few good rolls."

There were plenty of redeeming tidbits for UCF during a dominant display: a defense that limited Akron's high-powered offense to seven points, a strong performance from starting running back Storm Johnson, and some young players who looked solid in their debuts.

Bortles completed 18 of 24 passes for 314 yards and three touchdowns, setting a career mark for single-game yards. His streak of consecutive attempts without an interception was extended to 198.

On UCF's first snap, Bortles was crushed by a blindside sack and fumbled. The Knights recovered, however, and on the next play, Bortles hit sophomore Breshad Perriman for a 91-yard touchdown down the right sideline. Bortles rarely missed after that.

He was 8 of 11 passing at one point in the first half, and all three incomplete passes were drops. The Knights had scoring drives of 91, 91, 75 and 80 yards in the first two quarters.

"They dropped a few; otherwise (Bortles) would have hurt us a lot more," Akron coach Terry Bowden said. "We cause a fumble on the first play of the game, and maybe if we jump on that, we can make something, but then he throws a touchdown on the next play.

"Next series, we sack him, and he gets up the next play and throws another touchdown pass. We were just fighting uphill after that.''

Bortles was sacked three times and fumbled twice. But the Knights responded to nearly every negative with a positive.

"I thought Blake stepped up," UCF coach George O'Leary said. "He has a world of talent.''

Johnson made an argument for being the unquestioned feature back. The junior transfer from Miami rushed 20 times for 99 yards and two touchdowns.

Comments
FSU football fans: How do you remember Jimbo Fisher?

FSU football fans: How do you remember Jimbo Fisher?

Former Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher should be back in the state next week for the SEC's spring meetings in Destin. It is, to my knowledge, his first big trip back to Florida since leaving for Texas A&M in December.With that in mind, my questi...
Published: 05/25/18
FSU starter Josh Ball faces Title IX suspension over dating violence accusation

FSU starter Josh Ball faces Title IX suspension over dating violence accusation

Florida State starting offensive tackle Josh Ball faces a university suspension after a Title IX investigation found him responsible for dating violence.The suspension came to light in a Facebook post Monday afternoon by Sandra Sellers, an FSU studen...
Published: 05/22/18
Willie Taggart will take more fourth-down chances than Jimbo Fisher. But how many more?

Willie Taggart will take more fourth-down chances than Jimbo Fisher. But how many more?

TAMPA — Florida State coach Willie Taggart fielded an interesting question near the end of his Q&A with fans during Sunday's booster stop at Armature Works.Are the Seminoles going to be going for it more on fourth down?"We will be goin...
Published: 05/21/18
Athlon: Florida Gators, FSU and Miami will all finish in top 20

Athlon: Florida Gators, FSU and Miami will all finish in top 20

One of the first big nuggets from preseason college football magazines is out: Athlon's top 25.The site considers its rankings a prediction of where teams will be at the end of the year, not the beginning.Alabama and Clemson are 1-2 (no shock). Miami...
Published: 05/21/18
Taggart delivers a bolt to area

Taggart delivers a bolt to area

TAMPA — After spending four years as USF’s football coach, Willie Taggart knows what to expect this time of year in the area, so it’s no surprise how he began a chat with reporters Sunday before a booster stop at Armature Works."Go Lightning," he sai...
Published: 05/20/18
Willie Taggart: ‘Pretty cool’ to be back in Tampa as FSU coach

Willie Taggart: ‘Pretty cool’ to be back in Tampa as FSU coach

TAMPA – After spending four years as USF's football coach, Willie Taggart knows what to expect this time of year in the area, so it's no surprise how he began a chat with reporters Sunday before a booster stop at Armature Works."Go Lightning," ...
Published: 05/20/18
ACC football announces early kickoff times, TV info for FSU, Miami games

ACC football announces early kickoff times, TV info for FSU, Miami games

The ACC has released some kickoff and TV information for the first three weeks of the season:Week 1 (previously announced)Miami vs. LSU (in Arlington, Texas): Sunday, Sept. 2, 7:30 p.m., ABCVirginia Tech at Florida State: Monday, Sept. 3, 8 p.m., ESP...
Published: 05/18/18
Why FSU playing Boise State in Jacksonville is a smart risk

Why FSU playing Boise State in Jacksonville is a smart risk

Old, unofficial news is expected to become old, official news today with a formal announcement that Florida State and Boise State are kicking off the 2019 season in Jacksonville.  A lot has changed since the schools announced the series (FSU pla...
Published: 05/16/18
FSU-Boise State to open 2019 season in Jacksonville

FSU-Boise State to open 2019 season in Jacksonville

What had been an open secret for months is now open and shut: Group of Five power Boise State will face FSU at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville in the teams' 2019 opener.A formal announcement is expected Wednesday, but the '19 schedule on Boise's offi...
Published: 05/15/18
RHP Mark Moclair’s versatility proves valuable to University of Tampa

RHP Mark Moclair’s versatility proves valuable to University of Tampa

TAMPA — He’s the accidental pitcher who can’t be pigeonholed into a defined role. He’s a well-spoken economics major who morphs into fire-breathing intensity on the mound. And he’s one of the biggest reasons why the University of Tampa Spartans are p...
Published: 05/15/18