PROVO, Utah — A string of botched special-teams plays cost UCF another win.
The Knights, who traditionally have been strong on special teams during coach George O'Leary's tenure, made key mistakes that contributed to a 24-17 loss at Brigham Young on Friday night.
The teams were tied at 17 early in the fourth when redshirt freshman J.J. Worton muffed a punt. BYU recovered, ran it into the end zone and celebrated.
Muffed punts cannot be advanced, so the Cougars (2-2) were penalized and started their drive at the UCF 23. Within a minute, BYU was celebrating again after Bryan Kariya's 6-yard touchdown run with 10:29 left.
Worton was supposed to help solve the problem the Knights (2-2) have had fielding punts. Junior Josh Robinson botched three punt returns in the first three games this season, including one that set up Florida International's win last week.
BYU knocked UCF sophomore quarterback Jeff Godfrey out of the game with an apparent elbow injury. Redshirt freshman Blake Bortles took over.
He showed off his arm, moving the Knights to the BYU 26. The drive stalled and kicker Nick Cattoi missed a 35-yard field goal.
Godfrey returned late in the fourth quarter, hoping to lead a comeback win. However, Dontravius Floyd fumbled an 18-yard catch and BYU recovered with 8:46 left in the game.
Godfrey later had a pass intercepted by Joe Sampson.
Cougars senior receiver Cody Hoffman ran back a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown to tie the score at 17 with 4:37 left in the third. It was BYU's first kickoff returned for a touchdown in 13 years and another botched special-teams play for UCF.
UCF had led after Godfrey hit senior A.J. Guyton for a 54-yard pass. Godfrey finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.