Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bortles, UCF rout Akron in football opener

Blake Bortles throws a 91-yard touchdown pass, part of his career-best 314 passing yards. Meanwhile, Miami transfer Storm Johnson makes his case to be the featured running back.

Associated Press

Blake Bortles throws a 91-yard touchdown pass, part of his career-best 314 passing yards. Meanwhile, Miami transfer Storm Johnson makes his case to be the featured running back.

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.

Bortles, UCF rout Akron in football opener 08/29/13 [Last modified: Friday, August 30, 2013 12:21am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Red state: Yes, Bill O'Reilly is a Bucs fan


    TAMPA -- The question was simple enough for Bucs fans: Why is former Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly wearing a red Bucs polo?

    O'Reilly was wearing the polo during a few video clips from his "No Spin News" podcast posted on his website Monday, which was exciting news for some Bucs fans and not-so-exciting …

    Former Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly was sporting a red Bucs polo during his "No Spin News" video podcast Monday. An assistant said the shirt was given to him by former Bucs tight end Dave Moore.
  2. For starters: Slumping LoMo, Dickerson not in Rays lineup tonight vs LHP


    1B Logan Morrison and LF Corey Dickerson, two of the main slumpers in the Rays lineup, are not in tonight's lineup with the Orioles throwing LHP Wade Miley.

    Logan Morrison is 0-for-12 on this homestand.
  3. Ex-Buc Booger McFarland becomes ABC college football analyst


    Former Bucs defensive lineman Booger McFarland is continuing his broadcasting rise by joining ABC's studio coverage for the upcoming college football season, ESPN announced Tuesday.

    Former Bucs lineman Booger McFarland (No. 92) will become an ABC studio analyst this college football season.
  4. Rank the top 10 Bucs players? Here's what fans said


    We mentioned this morning that is was a fun challenge, in response to Sports Illustrated's ranking of the NFL's top 400 players, to ask fans to rank their top 10 Bucs players.

    Bucs receiver Mike Evans celebrates with quarterback Jameis Winston during last year's Bucs win against the Seahawks. Evans and Winston finished 1-2 in an informal Twitter poll of fans ranking their top Bucs players.
  5. Brain study examined 111 former NFL players. Only one didn't have CTE.


    Researchers studying the link between football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy found that 99 percent of the brains donated by families of former NFL players showed signs of the neurodegenerative disease, according to a new study published Tuesday.

    This combination of photos provided by Boston University shows sections from a normal brain, top, and from the brain of former University of Texas football player Greg Ploetz, bottom, in stage IV of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. According to a report released on Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association, research on the brains of 202 former football players has confirmed what many feared in life -- evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a devastating disease in nearly all the samples, from athletes in the NFL, college and even high school. [Dr. Ann McKee | BU via AP]