ORLANDO, FL: R.J. Harvey rushed for 136 yards and his two second-half touchdowns powered UCF to its eighth straight season of bowl eligibility as the Knights wrapped up their first season in the Big 12 with a 27-13 win over Houston on Saturday.
The Knights and Cougars exchanged scoring drives throughout the first half. UCF took control in the second half with a three-play 81-yard drive to open the third quarter. That drive started with a 57-yard pass from John Rhys Plumlee to Javon Baker.
Houston quarterback Donovan Smith tallied 161 pass yards and 24 rush yards.
Smith led Houston on an eight-play, 75-yard drive on the opening possession of the game, throwing a forward pitch to Stephon Johnson for a 16-yard touchdown.
The Cougars though struggled to get back on the board, failing to find the end zone the rest of the game and driving into UCF territory just once in the second half.
UCF outgained Houston 476-260 for the game and 204-74 in the second half.
Trailing by 17, Houston had a chance to score after forcing a turnover on downs near midfield. The Cougars drove near the goal line, but two five-yard penalties and a sack from Jason Johnson pinned Houston back to the 20 and forced a field goal.
UCF honored its seniors in a ceremony before the game. Honorees on the field included linebacker Jason Johnson, defensive lineman Tre’Mon Morris-Brash, wide receiver Kobe Hudson, quarterback John Rhys Plumlee, offensive lineman Lokahi Pauole, defensive Josh Celiscar and running back R.J. Harvey.
Harvey scored his 16th rushing touchdown of the season, which is tied for second in UCF history for most rushing touchdowns in a season. His 1,291 rushing yards for the season ranks fourth in school history.
Hudson tied his career-high in receptions in the first quarter and finished with a career-high nine catches for 98 yards in the game.
The Knights went 40-22 in the past five years with Plumlee going 13-9 as the starting quarterback the past two years after transferring from Ole Miss.
BOOM AND BUST
UCF kicker Colton Boomer has been a model of consistency all season making 12 of 17 field goals, including kicks of 50- and 55-yards in the win over Boise State. Before missing an extra point at the end of last week’s game against Texas Tech, Boomer made 84 straight PATs (the third-longest streak at UCF).
But Boomer missed a field