GREENVILLE — Holton Ahlers ran for a score and threw a touchdown pass in the second quarter as East Carolina jumped out to a big lead and cruised to a 34-13 victory over UCF on Saturday night.
Freshman Andrew Conrad’s 28-yard first-quarter field goal and Ahlers’ 3-yard touchdown run gave East Carolina (5-3, 3-2 American Athletic Conference) a 10-0 lead midway through the second period.
Ahlers connected with C.J. Johnson for a 39-yard touchdown and a 17-0 advantage before freshman Colton Boomer kicked a 27-yard field goal on the final play of the half to get UCF (5-2, 2-1) on the scoreboard.
The Knights pulled within 17-10 on their first possession of the second half when Isaiah Bowser scored on a 3-yard run at the end of a 10-play, 74-yard drive. But Keaton Mitchell answered with a 6-yard touchdown run, Conrad added a fourth-quarter field goal and Mitchell capped the scoring with a 37-yard run to preserve the win for the Pirates.
Ahlers completed 30 of 36 passes for 311 yards for East Carolina. Johnson hauled in 11 passes for 140 yards. Mitchell finished with 105 yards on 16 carries.
John Rhys Plumlee totaled 296 yards on 25-of-37 passing with three interceptions for UCF.