The #22 ranked UCF Knights returned home after their first regular season loss in years to obliterate the UConn Huskies 56-21 in front of over 44,000 fans at Spectrum Stadium. It was the Knight’s first American Athletic Conference game of the season.
UCF freshman quarterback Dillon Gabriel passed for 281 yards and 3 touchdowns… in the first half. The Knights had the game all in hand by the end of the first quarter with a 28 -0 lead, ending the half with a 42-0 lead.
After losing to Pitt 35-34 last week on a trick play towards the end of the game, the Knights didn’t come into this week with something to prove, but it seems like they came in with increased focus.
Said Gabriel, “I think this whole week, we were laser-focused and knew we had to come out with a win. And I think both sides of the ball played very well and there are some things that need to be fixed, but the main thing is we’re 1-and-0.”
That’s been the mantra of the Knights this season. “Each week we want to go 1-0.” They focus on each game as a single entity that they need to conquer.
UCF head coach Josh Heupel was pleased with the performance.
“Our kids are resilient,” Heupel said Saturday night “There were a lot of questions because It had been so long since our program had lost a regular-season football game,” Heupel added, “but our guys are competitors.”
UCF brought in redshirt sophomore quarterback Darriel Mack to start the third quarter and he didn’t disappoint. Mack managed to gp 3-13 for 97 yards and 1 touchdown. Mack also added a running option to the game with 6 rushes for 35 yards, including a 16 yd run.
Knights’ receiver Gabriel Davis had a massive game, with 199 yds and 3 touchdowns, including a 73 yard touchdown catch. UCF managed 230 yards on 37 rushes including touchdowns by Adrian Killins and Ben Thompson.
The Knight defense managed two interceptions and held the Huskies scoreless in the first half. UConn starter Jack Zergioris managed to go only 1 for 3 with 8 yard passing before being replaced by Stef Krajewski who went 22 for 33 yards for 273 yards and 3 touchdowns that came after the Knights had the game well in hand. The Huskies quarterbacks were sacked 3 times.
USC has a short turn around this week as they travel to Cincinnati to face the 3-1 Bearcats at Nippert Stadium in Friday night. The game will be telecast on ESPN.