UCF junior quarterback Blake Bortles ran for two touchdowns Saturday as the Knights edged host SMU 17-13 in bitter cold and in front of just a few hundred fans.
Bortles scored on runs of 1 and 15 yards in the third quarter to propel the Knights to the victory in a game played with temperatures around 10 degrees and ice everywhere in the stadium, which basically was deserted.
UCF (11-1) already had clinched the AAC's automatic BCS bid, but coach George O'Leary had spoken of wanting to win the league outright and the Knights -- who didn't play particularly well offensively (338 total yards) -- did just that. UCF seems headed for the Fiesta Bowl to play the Big 12 champ.
Bortles was 24 of 35 (68.6 percent) for 242 yards but didn't throw a TD pass for the third time this season; the other occurrences were in tight wins over Memphis (24-17) and Houston (19-14). It was the ninth game this season that Bortles -- whose completion percentage is 66.8 this season -- completed at least two-thirds of his passing attempts.
Bortles (6-foot-4, 230 pounds) has moved up draft boards with his performances this season, and he said during the week that he didn't want to comment about draft speculation. But the Orlando Sentinel reported that "all indications" were that Bortles would submit paperwork to the NFL Draft Advisory Board, which will give him an idea of where he would be drafted.
"He has great size and mobility," NFL Media draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said. "He doesn't have a huge arm, but it's plenty strong enough to make all the throws. The early background reports are glowing."
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