Orlando FLA- Dillion Gabriel threw for a career high with No.18 UCF Knights (5-2, 2-1 AAC) this Saturday night against the East Carolina Pirates as they looked to bounce back to regular form after suffering an out of character loss to the Cincinnati Bearcats 27-24 two weeks ago.
Starting quarterback for the Knights, Dillion Gabriel, threw for 365-yards against the Pirates and brought their 5th win of the season, 41-28, to the Spectrum Stadium. Per usual the Knights came charging from the start of the game rallying three touchdowns in the first quarter fired up with a keeper by Dillion Gabriel to top off a 92-yard drive. Greg McGrae made things look easy as he walked it in from the four-yard line to give the Knights a two-score lead. To close out the 1st quarter Bentavious Thompson parted the sea on 4th and 4 and ran for 32 yards untouched for another 6 points.
Second string QB, Darreil Mack Jr, had a perfect strike down the middle to connect with Gabriel Davis who scored on a 33-yard run to open the second quarter. Mack took over for McKenzie Milton after he went down last season during the War on I4 against the USF BUlls but was hurt in pre-season camp. He punched in 1 TD to Davis with 9/13 completed for 97 yards.
Wide receiver Gabriel Davis caught two touchdown passes for the Knights and punched in 164 yards receiving. Otis Anderson ran for 80 yards on 18 carries.
“The team played well, and everyone came out in the first half with the killer instinct, but we obviously struggled with that in the third quarter,” D. Gabriel stated. “I just wasn’t executing on my part.”
Starting quarterback for the Knights lead UCF to their 19th consecutive home win at the spectrum Stadium. The true freshman looked to bounce back from the devastating loss two weeks prior in Cincinnati 27-24 and did just that with a career high 365-yards and three touchdowns.
The East Carolina Pirates (3-4) made it on to the score board in the second quarter scraping by with a field goal. The Pirates special team than managed to block a punt and returned it back to the 1st yard line that resulted in a touch-down. Late in the third quarter the Pirates found themselves back in the ball game after a running touch down for 20-yards by their quarter back Holton Ahlers that was followed with an incomplete two-point conversion.
The Knights ended their scoring escapade in the third quarter followed by an incomplete two-point conversion. UCF went unanswered in the fourth quarter as the Pirates scored another touchdown but was disappointed with another failed two-point conversion attempt ending the game 41-28.
The Knights unfortunately faced some injuries with several players going down, none of which was assisted off the field but did not return for the remainder of the game. Tackle Cole Schneider, guard Sam Jackson and running back Greg McCrae.
UCF Head coach Josh Huepel did not have any updates on the injuries after the game.
“It’s one of those nights in a physical game. This is a physical game and we have to get those guys healthy because we have a big one next Saturday versus Temple,” stated Huepel.
The Knights keep their hopes alive of catching Cincinnati in the American Athletic Conference East Division title race after beating ECU for the sixth time in seven matchups.
UCF Knights go on the road to face the Temple Owls at the Lincoln Financial Field on October 26th @7pm
ECU Pirates Head home to face the USF Bulls on 10/26 @3:45 pm