AKRON, Ohio -

Blake Bortles passed for 168 yards and three touchdowns as Central Florida ruined Terry Bowden's coaching debut at Akron, routing the mistake-prone Zips 56-14 in the season opener for both teams Thursday night.

Bowden's much-anticipated return to major college football 19 years after the end of his Auburn tenure couldn't have gone much worse. Akron lost three fumbles, including two inside its own 10-yard line, and also had an interception.

Bowden came to Akron after guiding North Alabama to a 29-9 record the past three seasons in Division II following 10 years as a TV analyst. Prior to that, he went 47-17-1 at Auburn, going undefeated his first year in 1993.

UCF was too much for the young Zips, building a 35-0 lead by halftime.

Akron quarterback Dalton Williams went 30 of 51 for 255 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.