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A Different Three-Peat: UCF Protects Its House Again and Again (and Again)

The Knights’ home winning streak extended to 21 games Friday, the second-longest active such streak in the nation

Adrian Killins UCF football
Running back Adrian Killins Jr. is one of many UCF players who ended their college career undefeated at home for three consecutive seasons Friday.
Photo: Derek Warden

Do you know what you could do in the span of 1,105 days?

If you walked at 3 miles per hour, eight hours per day, you could trek around the world.

You could travel round-trip from Earth to Mars twice and maybe still have enough time to go back to Mars.

You and your construction team could have erected nearly three Empire State Buildings (by 1930 standards).

You could watch the epic 2017 Black Friday game between UCF and USF more than 7,000 times.

Or, if you are in the UCF Knights, you could use those 1,105 days to not lose a football game at home.

Everyone knows the Knights didn’t attain all of their goals — like a third consecutive American Athletic Conference title — in this 2019 season. But they had one holy grail right in front of them in the lead-up to Friday’s regular-season finale versus the South Florida Bulls: Finish off three consecutive seasons undefeated inside Spectrum Stadium.

“That was a goal. We don’t want to let anyone come into our house and win in our house, and go into that locker room not excited,” senior running back Adrian Killins Jr. said after the 34-7 win. “We got the job done today. We went 1 and 0, and the seniors, such as myself, we went out with a bang and we sealed the deal here.”

This latest triumph made the Knights 21-for-21 in home games since their last defeat on Nov. 19, 2016 against Tulsa. That’s the second-longest active streak in the FBS and only one win behind the current leaders, the Clemson Tigers, who have claimed 22 straight games at home.

Senior offensive tackle Jake Brown said prior to the game that it “would mean the world to me” to cap his career as a Knight with another victory in front of the home crowd.

“I came in here (in 2015) and I watched the football team that I was on not win a game no matter where we were, whether we were at home or we were away,” Brown said Monday. “We had no support wherever we were.

“To the growth that it’s kind of become and the love that we’ve gotten, it’s so much different. A lot of people, I don’t want to say they take it for granted, but I feel like sometimes, people really do take that for granted. We’ve really worked hard to kind of get that feeling back, especially in the Bounce House.”

While players such as Brown have experienced the sour taste of walking off the Spectrum Stadium turf with an L, wide receiver Gabriel Davis never has and maybe never will. The junior broke the program’s single-season record for receiving yards Friday, finishing with 1,286, and has discussed how he has a decision to make soon: Come back for his senior campaign or head to the NFL.

Davis will mull over what he does next with his family. He knows it will be an emotional choice either way.

“If I do decide to leave, leave out with a bang and leave out putting up some good numbers, and have Knight Nation remember me for how I was able to make those big plays,” Davis said about Friday’s game if it was indeed his swan song in Orlando.

Head coach Josh Heupel said following the game that his team had talked openly about wanting to complete this three-year stretch the right way, especially for the seniors. Another one of those seniors, linebacker Nate Evans, said this week that such a feat was something he’d look forward to sharing with his future children.

By the time the Knights play at home again — Sept. 3, 2020 verus the North Carolina Tar Heels — their winning streak at Spectrum Stadium will have lasted 1,384 days. That’s a longer period of time than the United States’ involvement in World War II.

Even though his time at UCF is up, Evans expects the streak to continue well into that 2020 season and beyond.

“You just have a sense of calmness and happiness,” Evans said, “knowing that when you’re gone, [the younger players] are going to do the same thing. They’ve got an expectation to live up to.”

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BGB’s Eric Lopez (@EricLopezELO) contributed to this story.