Down 7-3 at the time, the Herd was bailed out on that drive by a Billy Mitchell interception, but that good feeling lasted only to the next UCF third down. That's when Bortles, seeing a face full of Cortez Carter on third-and-8, calmly delivered a screen pass to running back Latavius Murray for 18 yards.
Two plays later, receiver J.J. Worton sneaked past linebacker D.J. Hunter (not a mismatch, actually) for a 29-yard catch to the Marshall 2. Murray scored to make it 14-3, and the rout was on.
It has occurred to me: Charlie Taaffe, the UCF offensive coordinator who spent 10 years as head coach of The Citadel, has defeated four different Marshall staffs - George Chaump (1988), Jim Donnan (1990), Mark Snyder (2009-10) and Holliday (2011-12).
There were seven drops in the first half - Gator Hoskins two, Aaron Dobson two, Kevin Grooms one, Antavious Wilson one and C.J. Crawford one. Three came on third downs, ending drives, and Dobson had two.
You've got to catch those. Herd receivers did a much better job in the Tulsa game and had a good chance to knock off the West Division leader in a scorefest; in the UCF game, a chance at 21 or 28 points turned into a single field goal.
"Those are great guys. They've been making great catches all year," said Cato. "Spectacular catches, one-handed catches, diving catches and everything. So they're human. The best are going to drop balls and I don't blame any of them. They make me look good."
In the case of Dobson, NFL evaluators won't be as forgiving - much like Josh Davis in 2004, his stock is dropping with every ball that hits the carpet. In the twilight of his college career, Dobson must step up his game.
The two kickoff returns contributed, but the UCF offense scored six touchdowns, five on drives of 75 yards or longer. The last was a 15-play, 99-yard march that chewed up 10 minutes, 10 seconds and had the positive effect of speeding up the game's end.
Still, the time of torture was 3 hours, 23 minutes, two minutes shorter than Game 3 of the World Series.
So what's next? The East Division race is all but over, but Marshall's season is not dead at 3-5, 2-2.
The next two games come against 1-7 teams, Memphis and Alabama-Birmingham. A welcome development, but recent history dictates that one of these games will be a close call.
Memphis is up first, at 2 p.m. Saturday at Edwards Stadium. The only way to get 20,000 there is to set up two basketball goals in the south end zone and bring the real Tigers in for a pickup game against coach Tom Herrion's Herd hoopsters.
Otherwise, it would behoove the Herd football team to play better in its own house. Marshall has never lost four in a row in Edwards Stadium, and hasn't lost four straight at home since 1981.
If it happened in 1981, chances are an MU football team doesn't want to repeat it.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.