He had tears in his eyes as he crossed the goal line — and little did he know that after outrunning an SMU defender for a 58-yard touchdown two weeks ago, it would be the last time he scored in a UCF jersey.
Senior wide receiver J.J. Worton scored that touchdown with a torn ACL, which ended his season and his career as a Knight. A torn ACL typically requires an eight- to 12-month rehabilitation program.
A few plays before, a snap got away from him on an extra point, and while scrambling to try and make something out of nothing, he made a cut and felt pain in his left knee. As his teammates left the field, Worton remained on the grass clutching his knee.
After spending a few minutes on the trainer's table, Worton grabbed his helmet and sprinted down the sideline to try to loosen his knee up. Right on cue, the UCF defense intercepted a pass and he ran right back onto the field.
"I knew I didn't have much time left in that game because they were trying to keep me out. But before they could tell me 'no' I ran out on the field. Because it was an interception, they couldn't really tell me no," Worton recalled. "It was definitely one of my most emotional touchdowns; all I could do was scream and cry and I know my teammates saw me coming and they knew I was hurt."
Video: J. J. Worton, teammates react to injury Arnold Godoy & Ryan Gillespie, Central Florida Future
Perhaps most known for "The Catch" last season against Temple, in which he dove and hauled in a Blake Bortles pass with just one arm at full extension, Worton has been a fan favorite for many of his past four seasons.
Worton is in a tie for third in UCF history in receiving touchdowns, with 21, and is eighth all-time in receptions.
Worton sent out a tweet on Friday after UCF's 16-0 victory over USF annoucning that his career as a Knight was over. An outpouring of fan support was sent his way. And now since he can no longer help his teammates with his helmet and shoulder pads, he's hoping he can make an impact from the sidelines as almost another set of eyes on an opponent's defense.
"It was really emotional last week. After the USF game I got pretty emotional after the announcement was made. But now I've accepted it," said Worton, who had 36 catches and five touchdowns in 2014. "I can't really be sad around my teammates because it's not fair to them for me to be a distraction with the championship game and a big bowl game coming up."
"I think the thing about J.J., that probably if you look just at the statistics, he's probably one of the top five receivers at UCF based on that," senior Terrance Plummer said. "Just always being a gamer, always making plays. If we needed a punt return he was able to provide that spark, and last year [he made] one of the best catches in UCF history."
Senior wide receiver Josh Reese also spoke praises of Worton.
"He's always ready to go. No matter what it is, that is one person that you can count on," Reese said.
As a senior, Worton is months away from reaching his ultimate dream of playing in the NFL. The injury will affect preparation for the NFL Draft, which takes place in late April. However, he doesn't plan on this setback keeping him from achieving his childhood dream.
"My dream is still the same and that is to play in the NFL," Worton said. "I've faced adversity before and I've overcome it."