ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Blake Bortles threw for three touchdowns and ran for another Friday to bring Central Florida a 38-17 victory over Ball State in the Beef O'Brady Bowl.
Bortles, a sophomore, helped the Knights make their final game as a Conference USA member special by completing 271 yards without an interception.
Latavius Murray scored three touchdowns for the Knights, two of them on passes from Bortles, in helping Central Florida complete the season with a 10-4 record. The Knights move to the Big East Conference next year.
Central Florida's campaign was highlighted by a six-game winning streak that ended with a two-point loss to Tulsa on Nov. 17. The Knights lost to Tulsa again in the Conference USA championship game.
The Knights took a 28-7 halftime lead with Murray scoring all of his touchdowns in the opening two quarters. He caught an 8-yard scoring pass from Bortles midway through the first period and added a 2-yard touchdown run late in the opening quarter.
Bortles ran for a 6-yard touchdown in the second period and then hit Murray with a 5-yard scoring pass just before halftime. Bortles' last touchdown throw was a 7-yarder to J.J. Worton in the third period.
It was the school-record 34th win for Central Florida's senior class.
Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning completed 22-of-34 for 281 yards and two touchdowns. The Cardinals (9-4) were looking for the first bowl win in school history.
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