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INSTANT REAX: UCF’s First Half Onslaught Enough to Beat ECU, 41-28

Knights look sluggish in second half, still get a win.

NCAA Football: East Carolina at Central Florida Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

It was a tale of two halves, but the UCF Knights did more than enough in the first 30 minutes to hold off the East Carolina Pirates 41-28 on Homecoming at Spectrum Stadium. The Knights are now 5-2 and 2-1 in the conference.

Here are your instant reactions:



Four Downs

  1. The offense was the first half. It was an impressive first half for the Knights, with 35 points off of 418 total yards and five touchdowns on their first five possessions, including 3/3 in the red zone. It was a balanced attack too, with 307 through the air and 111 on the ground. Gabriel set a new career high in passing yards, going 22/35 for 365 yards and two touchdowns, plus 26 yards on seven carries and a rushing touchdown (!).
  2. What the hell happened in the second half? UCF got away with it because ECU is ECU, but that second half was less than good to say the least. The Knights punted four times and gave up three turnovers in getting out-scored 22-6 in the second half.
  3. Return of the Mack. Darriel Mack Jr. came in for a few spells and threw his first TD of the season in the second quarter, a 33-yarder to Gabe Davis. Do we have a QB controversy? Probably not. He finished 2/4 for 49 yards and a TD pass, plus
  4. INJURIES. Greg McCrae, two offensive linemen, one defensive tackle and DB Antwan Collier. That’s not good coming off a bye week with a trip to Temple in store for next week.

Stats of the Game

Knights of the Night

Dillon Gabriel: 22/35, 365 yards, 2 TDs, plus 7 rushes for 26 yards and a TD.

Gabriel Davis: 9 catches, 164 yards, two TDs.

Eric Mitchell: 9 tackles, one sack, 2.5 tackles for loss, one pass defensed.

Nate Evans: 10 tackles, two tackles for loss

Next Up

The Temple Owls (5-2, 2-1 in The American), who lost to #19 SMU today:

Game time in Philly is set for 7 p.m. next Saturday on ESPN2.