BOCA RATON, Fla. — Brigham Young would be proud.
The religious leader and founder of the university that bears his name would no doubt be smiling down on his Cougars after they routed Central Florida 49-23 in Tuesday night's Boca Raton Bowl to finish with 11 wins for the first time since 2009.
In doing so, No. 13 BYU (11-1, No. 16 College Football Playoff) snapped its losing streak in Florida bowl games. The Cougars were previously 0-3 in postseason trips to the Sunshine State.
BYU quarterback Zach Wilson completed 26-of-34 attempts for 425 yards and three touchdowns and added another two rushing scores to help the Cougars take an early lead that they never relinquished.
The Cougars got off to a 21-0 start in the first quarter and led 35-10 at halftime.
Here was @BYUfootball QB Zach Wilson’s first TD run @BocaBowl. #BowlOutCovid19 pic.twitter.com/piZkCstyOc— Pete Burke (@PeteBurke) December 23, 2020
"They're a great defense, but we noticed on film that they struggle a lot with crossing routes, mesh stuff, stuff underneath," Wilson said after the game. "So we had a lot of success with it. It was part of our game plan going in, and they struggled with it down the stretch. The goal was to get it out to those playmakers and let them make plays."
BYU tight end Isaac Rex was the team's leading receiver with 96 yards and a pair of first-half scores.
UCF (6-4) scored the final 13 points of the game, but it was too little too late for the Knights by then. Quarterback Dillon Gabriel was 21 of 45 for 217 yards and two touchdowns.
"Credit to BYU. They played really well," UCF head coach Josh Heupel said. "They're a really good football team, obviously. We're extremely disappointed with the way that we played tonight in every phase of the football game."
BYU set a school bowl-game record with 655 yards. The teams combined for 1,066 yards of total offense.
The Cougars ended the season with the fewest losses since going 14-1 under LaVell Edwards in 1996.
"I'm grateful that we got to play our 12th game, and really thankful that we have this game of football to play," BYU head coach Kalani Sitaki said. "I know there's a lot of people that work really hard to get us to play this game, and I hope they know how much we appreciate them."