The UCF Knights are back in the win column after waxing the Tulane Green Wave 51-34. The Knights are officially back on track after their first back-to-back losses since 2016 (WHOA), thanks to a much more complete performance on all sides of the ball.
Here are some thoughts:
1. The defense sparked the offense.
Tulane was up 14-10 at the end of the first, was moving the ball with ease after two TD drives (6 plays/79 yards, 7 plays/89 yards) and had the ball again with good field position at their own 43. But then two Kenny Turnier sacks forced a punt, and UCF scored on the next possession. Then on the Wave’s next possession, Randy Charlton and Anthony Montalvo recorded the third and fourth sacks on as many defensive plays, and UCF scored again on their ensuing drive, and they were off and running.
2. Dillon Gabriel is playing Madden right now.
The last two weeks, he’s 61/89 (68.5%) for 1,023 yards and ten TDs. That’s insane any way you slice it. Also:
Dillon Gabriel is the 3rd player in the last 15 seasons with 400 Pass yards, 5 Pass TD and 0 interceptions in consecutive games.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 24, 2020
He joins future NFL No. 1 picks, Jared Goff (2015) and Joe Burrow (2019). Burrow did this in the College Football Playoff. pic.twitter.com/w4HzVmGjyv
3. There’s one issue though.
When pressured, Dillon still looks like he runs around rather than moving around. More than a few times, Tulane did what Tulsa did three weeks ago: pressure him from his left to force him to run to his right (the opposite side of his arm), but then he turned around and went backwards and to the left to throw. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t (he was sacked twice). It looks like he’s still got work to do on pocket presence.
4. Greg McCrae, Quiet Warrior.
Was that the quietest 25-carry, 162-yard performance you’ve ever seen from a back? He’s got a team-best 389 yards this season and is averaging 5.3 per carry.
5. UCF stepped on Tulane’s throat.
It was 37-14 at half. Sounded familiar. then Tulane scored to open the 3rd. But then UCF did what they haven’t done the last two games: They stepped on the gas again and scored on their first two possessions of the second half. Granted, they got some help from recovering two onside kicks, but it was nice to see UCF crush the opponent’s larynx right when they think they have a shot to get back into it.
6. Marlon Williams has a chance to post the best season by a receiver in UCF history.
And that’s saying something. He’s got 54 catches for 753 yards and 6 TDs. He’s on pace for 97 catches (which would beat Mike Walker’s school record of 90) and 1,355 yards, which would obliterate Gabe Davis’ school record of 1,241 set just last year.
7. Eating clock
Weird but true: On UCF’s last possession of the game, they ran 14 plays, gained 45 yards, and killed off the final 8:29 of the game.
8. SVP Alert!
Speaking of that last drive: The line was UCF -21 at kickoff. UCF was up 17 at the end of the game with a 1st and goal at the 2 in the final minute. After a rush for one yard on first down, this all-time bad beat happened:
UCF needs a TD to cover the 21 point spread ams the announcer is savage and call out a bad beat !— Regina George (@Reginageorge_L) October 24, 2020
“Oh my lord” pic.twitter.com/uiSBn7jvNR
9. Next up: Houston.
They took the hammer to Navy in the second half this week:
This will be a tough one on the road. Better rest up and be ready.