Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Colleges

UCF tops SMU to remain unbeaten in Conference USA play

ORLANDO — When Latavius Murray has played well this season, it has usually meant good things have happened for UCF.

And for the fourth straight week, the path the senior running back plowed gave way to another dominant performance by the Knights.

Murray rushed for 155 yards and two touchdowns, and caught a pass for another score as UCF rolled past SMU 42-17 on Saturday night.

Quarterback Blake Bortles also accounted for three touchdowns — two through the air and one on the ground — to help the Knights (7-2, 5-0) secure their fifth straight victory and remain on track to host the Conference USA championship game.

SMU (4-5, 3-2) fell under .500 and deeper behind West Division-leading Tulsa.

"I always say it starts up front," said Murray, who posted his third straight 100-yard game and fourth consecutive game with at least two scores. "I had to get the yards that were there and a couple of tough runs, too, but the big yards come when they open up holes, and our line was doing that tonight. I'm taking what they're giving me and making the most of it.

"UCF is on a roll. The defense is playing well, getting their offense off the field and our offense is putting points on the board."

Coach George O'Leary said Murray, who surpassed 2,000 rushing yards for his career, continues to be the biggest cog in an offense that racked up 396 yards against a SMU defense that entered the game leading the league in rushing defense and ranked third in total defense.

After posting a career passing effort (353 yards) in last week's win over Memphis, SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert was sacked three times.

SMU coach June Jones said he was taken a little off guard with how well UCF was able to run.

"We weren't anticipating they would be able to do that," he said. "But they do a good job with their scheme. They lean on you. They get a body on everybody and Latavius does a great job of finding creases. . I could have run through a couple of those holes."

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