A 6-foot-4 sophomore from Oviedo, Fla., Bortles played enough in relief last year to land on the All-Conference USA all-freshman team. Awarded the starting role this season, he is fourth in the league in passing yardage (228.3 per game) and third in pass efficiency (141.9).
Bortles has thrown 147 passes without an interception, 15 shy of a 1999 school record set by Vic Penn. That streak has encompassed four games; UCF has never gone five games in a row without a pick.
"He's got everything," Rippon said of Bortles. "I'm sure George sits in [position meetings] and says, 'This is what I want done, how I want it done,' and this guy does it exactly."
"He has good confidence in himself," said center Jordan Rae. "We all trust him, and on the offensive line we're up there protecting for him. He makes good decisions and he's gotten better throughout the year."
With 32 career starts, Rae leads the usual physical UCF offensive line. The five starters - Rae, guards Theo Goins and Jordan McCray and tackles Torrian Wilson and Justin McCray - have begun all seven games, the first time a UCF line has stayed so intact since 2003.
Bortles' top receiving targets include J.J. Worton (30 catches, 419 yards, two touchdowns), Rannell Hall (19-333, three TDs), Quincy McDuffie (19-231, two TDs) and Godfrey (19-170, one TD). McDuffie may be known better as the school's all-time kick returner, and his 99-yard kickoff return TD sparked a convincing win over East Carolina.
But chances are Latavius Murray (192 rushing yards last week vs. Memphis) will carry the Knights' load, with Storm Johnson and Brynn Harvey spelling him. To show the diversity of formations, UCF lists two H-backs and a fullback, Billy Giovanetti.
"They're just a little bit different with Godfrey not being a quarterback," Rippon said. "They're not in the 'pistol,' the option threat isn't there, but they're getting the ball on the perimeter in other ways.
"The only thing they're missing that they've run in the past - and I'm sure we'll see it - is a little speed option. Just to say, 'Hey, you thought it was gone? No, we have it.'"
Contrary - or complementary, you might say - to its power-running image, the Knights have several ways to advance the ball. Marshall's defense, coming off its best game against Southern Mississippi, has much to consider.
"George has been in a lot of places, and he's been in the NFL," Rippon said. "And this is an NFL offense. This is what you see on Sunday."
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.