PROVO, Utah — Cody Hoffman returned a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown and BYU forced three turnovers in a 24-17 victory over Central Florida on Friday night.
Bryan Kariya's 6-yard TD run with 10:29 left gave BYU a 24-17 lead, and the Cougars stymied a last-minute drive by the Knights.
The victory was a much-needed boost for the Cougars (2-2), who were coming off a 44-point loss at home to rival Utah.
Central Florida (2-2) now has dropped two straight after outscoring its first two opponents 92-3.
Hoffman's third-quarter score was BYU's first kickoff return for a touchdown in 13 years, a string of 160 games, and answered an 84-yard scoring drive directed by Central Florida quarterback Jeff Godfrey.
Godfrey ran for two touchdowns, but he also threw his first interception late in the game as the Knights were driving.
A.J. Guyton led the Knights with nine catches for 163 yards.
Central Florida was hoping to bounce back following a disappointing loss to Florida International.
Godfrey put the Knights ahead 17-10 with a 1-yard run around the right end in the third quarter. The play capped a long drive that included a 54-yard pass to Guyton.
BYU trailed 10-3 at halftime but JJ Luigi tied it with a 16-yard run with 8:13 left in the third quarter. It was the first rushing touchdown of the season for the Cougars.
BYU also picked up its first four sacks of the season, knocking Godfrey from the game at one point in the second half.
The Cougars were without two starters, left guard Houston Reynolds and linebacker Jordan Pendleton, because of injury, and lost leading receiver Ross Apo in the first quarter to a mild concussion after he took a big hit going across the middle.
Jameson Frazier, who replaced Pendleton, recovered a fourth-quarter fumble. BYU's Joe Sampson also had an important interception late in the game.
BYU was looking for any help offensively, and moved coordinator Brandon Doman to the press box Friday after he called the first three games from the sideline.
BYU quarterback Jake Heaps still struggled, completing just 16 of 34 passes for 133 yards and his fifth interception of the season. It set up Central Florida's first touchdown, a 10-yard run around left end by Godfrey.