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UCF Falls Flat Against Tulsa 34-26

UCF Falls Flat Against Tulsa 34-26
Knights quarterback Dillon Gabriel (11) leaps into he air as he is tackled by Tulsa cornerback Akayleb Evans (26) during the first half of the NCAA college football game on Saturday Oct. 3, in Orlando, Fla. (Willie J. Allen Jr./Orlando Sentinel) (Willie J. Allen Jr./Orlando Sentinel)

ORLANDO, FL – Coming into this game against Tulsa, the Knights had been on fire this season averaging 50 points through two weeks. Against Tulsa however, the offense struggled in a disappointing loss 34-26.

Even though UCF got off to a fast start, they had their 21-home winning streak snapped against Tulsa who also handed UCF their first loss of the season (2-1).

While Dillion Gabriel did not play a terrible game, once compared to his previous 2 games, he fell short in week 3. Gabriel passed for 330 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT.

UCF Falls Flat Against Tulsa 34-26
Knights quarterback Dillon Gabriel (11) scrambles away from Tulsa’s linebacker Justin Wright (30) during the first half of the NCAA college football game against Tulsa on Saturday Oct. 3, in Orlando, Fla. (Willie J. Allen Jr./Orlando Sentinel) (Willie J. Allen Jr./Orlando Sentinel)

“I put this on me. There has to better QB play. I have to execute at a higher level”, said Gabriel on this performance Saturday night.

In a game where both teams essentially matched each other in the box score, it was the penalties and poor execution that made the difference in the game. UCF plagued themselves with 18 penalties for 124 yards, while the Golden Hurricanes only managed to receive 8 penalties for 95 yards.

The Knights were in control, holding a commanding 23-5 lead with less than 2 minutes left in the 2nd quarter. However, poor defensive execution allowed Tulsa QB Zach Smith to connect with Josh Johnson for a 48 yard touchdown bringing the halftime score to 23-12.

UCF Falls Flat Against Tulsa 34-26
Knights offensive lineman Cole Schneider (65) bull dozes into the end zone for a touchdown against Tulsa safety Tieneal Martin (7) during the first half of the NCAA college football game on Saturday Oct. 3, in Orlando, Fla. (Willie J. Allen Jr./Orlando Sentinel) (Willie J. Allen Jr./Orlando Sentinel)

Following Tulsa’s score late first half score, they forced a fumble on the opening kickoff and subsequently scored on their very next offensive play, a 34-yard touchdown pass (23-19).

UCF head coach Josh Heupel said on his team’s poor execution, “Turnovers were huge in the football game. – We have to play better complementary football.”

This is the 2nd straight game that Tulsa has defeated the Knights while also being the last team to defeat them at home (35-20) 4 years ago on November 19th, 2016.

Next up, UCF heads back on the road, traveling to Memphis to face off against Tigers on October 17th.

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