ORLANDO — UCF aims to extend its season Saturday as it plays its Big 12 football finale.
Needing one win to automatically achieve bowl eligibility for an eighth consecutive year, the Knights (5-6, 2-6) host longtime conference foe Houston (4-7, 2-6) at FBC Mortgage Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for noon.
This will be the 11th all-time meeting between the two teams, spanning their tenures in both Conference USA and the American Athletic Conference. UCF holds a 7-3 advantage, including a victory in the most recent encounter — a 44-21 final in 2020, a game in which Dillon Gabriel threw two touchdowns and both Greg McCrae and Otis Anderson surpassed 100 yards rushing.
UCF had its two-game winning streak snapped last Saturday with a 24-23 loss at Texas Tech. Houston, meanwhile, enters with four losses in its last five outings — including a 43-30 home defeat to Oklahoma State a week ago.
Named a semifinalist Monday for the Doak Walker Award, handed out to the nation's top running back, UCF redshirt senior RJ Harvey has rushed for multiple touchdowns in three straight games. He ranks 10th in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 1,160 yards, and tied for seventh with 14 TDs.
Prior to Saturday's kickoff, UCF will recognize its senior class, including starting quarterback John Rhys Plumlee, center Lokahi Pauole, tight end Alec Holler, linebacker Jason Johnson and left tackle Tylan Grable, among others.
UCF achieves bowl eligibility, defeats Houston 27-13 in finale
UCF will go to a bowl for the eighth straight season and, for the first time, as a member of the Big 12.
The Knights defeated longtime rival Houston 27-13 in its regular season finale Saturday afternoon at FBC Mortgage Stadium. UCF improves to 6-6, with a 3-6 mark in conference play.
Houston, which lost to UCF for the eighth time in 11 meetings, finishes its debut Big 12 campaign at 4-8 and 2-7 within the league.
John Rhys Plumlee completed 23 of 27 passes for 253 yards and a touchdown in his final college start and ran 15 times for 58 yards and another score. RJ Harvey carried the ball 21 times for 136 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Kobe Hudson caught nine passes for 98 yards, and Alec Holler and Xavier Townsend registered five receptions apiece. Jason Johnson had two of the Knights' four sacks, Corey Thornton snagged an interception and Walter Yates recorded a team-high 12 tackles.
UCF takes 27-10 lead over Houston into fourth quarter
Three quarters are in the books for UCF's Big 12 finale, and the Knights lead Houston 27-10. If they hold on, they will secure automatic bowl eligibility for an eighth straight season.
UCF is outgaining the Cougars 419-236. RJ Harvey has 15 carries for 119 yards and two touchdowns, and Kobe Hudson has eight receptions for 94 yards.
RJ Harvey scores 2nd TD of day, goes over 100 yards again
RJ Harvey plowed ahead for a 1-yard touchdown run, his second of the day, as UCF built a three-score lead and went ahead of visiting Houston 27-10.
Harvey has surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark for the sixth time in seven games, and recorded his fourth consecutive multi-touchdown performance. The redshirt senior tied former teammate Isaiah Bowser for second all-time in UCF history for rushing touchdowns in a single season (16).
UCF has 400 yards of total offense and possessed the ball for 20:59 at the midway point of the third quarter.
RJ Harvey rushes for 15th TD in opening minute of 2nd half
UCF stormed out of halftime with a three-play, 81-yard drive to go ahead 20-10.
Javon Baker broke free for a 57-yard catch-and-run to the Houston 24. Two plays later, RJ Harvey found space and bounced off a tackle for a 21-yard touchdown run — his 15th of the season.
Harvey is up to 88 rushing yards on nine carries. John Rhys Plumlee is 18 of 21 for 226 yards.
Colton Boomer misses 2 FGs; UCF takes 13-10 lead into halftime
UCF's kicking woes from a week ago have carried over into a critical season finale.
Colton Boomer pushed a 42-yard attempt wide right, and had a 27-yard kick blocked on the final play of the first half as UCF was unable to extend its 13-10 lead.
The Knights came up with a pair of key defensive stands. Corey Thornton snagged a toe-tapping sideline interception, and Malachi Lawrence sacked Donovan Smith on a fourth-and-4 with 1:13 left to give UCF another scoring chance.
UCF holds the edge in total offense, outgaining the Cougars 272-186. John Rhys Plumlee is 16 of 19 for 166 yards and a touchdown. Kobe Hudson has seven receptions for 91 yards, and RJ Harvey has 67 rushing yards on eight attempts.
For Houston, Smith is 8 of 11 for 99 yards. Stephon Johnson Jr. has a team-high five receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown, and Isaiah Hamilton has nine tackles, including seven solos and two TFLs.
UCF converts 4th-down pass for 28-yard TD, takes 13-10 lead
Gus Malzahn rolled the dice on fourth-and-4 from Houston's 28-yard line, and was rewarded for going for it.
John Rhys Plumlee beat an all-out Houston blitz, and Xavier Townsend shook three tacklers for a go-ahead touchdown. The Knights have their first lead, 13-10, with 12:58 left until halftime.
Plumlee is 10 of 11 for 116 yards. Kobe Hudson matched a season-high with six receptions in the first quarter, covering 78 yards.
Houston extends lead to 10-6 on 32-yard field goal
Jack Martin booted a 32-yard field goal, extending Houston's lead over UCF to 10-6 with 1:56 left in the first quarter.
The Cougars marched 60 yards and eight plays, but stalled in the red zone courtesy of a Lee Hunter TFL on first down and a miscommunication on a third-down passing play.
Donovan Smith completed his first five attempts for 70 yards.
John Rhys Plumlee caps 94-yard drive with TD run
UCF's offense responded with a 13-play, 94-yard drive as John Rhys Plumlee scored on an 8-yard touchdown run. However, the Knights trail 7-6 as Colton Boomer struck the right upright on the PAT attempt.
Boomer missed a decisive PAT last week at Texas Tech, snapping a streak of 85 consecutive makes.
Plumlee went 4 of 5 for 37 yards on UCF's opening drive and ran three times for 23 yards. Kobe Hudson caught three passes for 35 yards.
Houston strikes first on Stephon Johnson's 16-yard TD catch
Houston capped an eight-play, 75-yard opening drive with a 16-yard jet sweep by Stephon Johnson, taking a 7-0 lead at UCF.
The Cougars extended the possession with a fourth-and-3 conversion as Joseph Manjack IV made an acrobatic 21-yard catch. Houston averaged 9.4 yards per play and held the ball for 4:26.
What time is the UCF football game today?
Date: Saturday, November 25
UCF-Houston is set to begin at noon Saturday, November 25 at FBC Mortgage Stadium in Orlando, Florida.
What channel is UCF football vs. Houston on today?
TV: FS1 (Channel 219 on DirecTV, Channel 150 on Dish Network)
UCF vs. Houston can be seen on FS1. Eric Collins will be the play-by-play announcer with Devin Gardner serving as analyst.
Streaming options include fuboTV, which offers a free trial to potential subscribers.
UCF-Houston betting odds
Odds courtesy of BetMGM as of Wednesday, November 22.
Spread: UCF (-13.5)
Moneyline: Houston +425, UCF -600
UCF football schedule
Thursday, Aug. 31
vs. Kent State: W 56-6
Saturday, Sept. 9
at Boise State: W 18-16
Saturday, Sept. 16
vs. Villanova: W 48-14
Saturday, Sept. 23
at Kansas State*: L 44-31
Saturday, Sept. 30
vs. Baylor*: L 36-35
Saturday, Oct. 7
at Kansas*: L 51-22
Saturday, Oct. 14
Saturday, Oct. 21
at Oklahoma*: L 31-29
Saturday, Oct. 28
vs. West Virginia*: L 41-28
Saturday, Nov. 4
at Cincinnati*: W 28-26
Saturday, Nov. 11
vs. Oklahoma State*: W 45-3
Saturday, Nov. 18
at Texas Tech*: L 24-23
Saturday, Nov. 25
This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: UCF football vs Houston score, updates from Knights vs Cougars