After dominating the regular season since 2016, it took a trick play, the “Pitt Special” to end UCF’s 27-game regular season winning streak with a 35-34 loss to the Panthers.
The loss dropped the Knights from #15 in the polls to #22/23 respectively. UCF does still get respect with the fact that they remain in the top 25 rankings in college football.
“I just think that we did some things — coaches and players — that you can’t do on the road if you want to beat a good football team,” UCF coach Josh Heupel said. “This one is going to hurt for a while, but we’ll get back on Monday and get back after it.”
The Knights have won 27 of their last 28 games coming into this weekend’s game, and they were up against the ropes early as UCF struggled early in the game as freshman quarterback Dillon Gabriel and the Knights struggled to get things goin in the first quarter.
UCF finished with 423 yards, 180 under its season average. Dillon was sacked six times in all and the Knights were unable to finish off Pitt despite a 31-point outburst spanning the second and third quarters that turned a 21-point deficit into a 10-point lead.
Pitt battled back, forced UCF to Settle for a filed goal, and tucked them with an okie-doke copy of the “Philly Special” that gave the Eagles their Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.
Running back A.J. Davis took a direct snap from center, ran to his left and flipped the ball to Aaron Mathews, who was heading right. Mathews, a former high school quarterback, thought he might have to make a run at the pylon. When two Knights defenders closed in, Mathews pulled up and found quarterback Kenny Pickett in the end zone, giving the Panthers the victory.
UCF returns home to face UConn on Saturday September 28 at Spectrum Stadium.