Freshman quarterback Dillon Gabriel threw for a career high 417 yards and four touchdowns
ABOVE VIDEO: The 13th-ranked UCF football team finished with 660 yards of total offense and five turnovers to open the 2020 season 1-0 after defeating Georgia Tech 49-21 on the road Saturday afternoon at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
(UCFKnights.com) – The 13th-ranked UCF football team finished with 660 yards of total offense and five turnovers to open the 2020 season 1-0 after defeating Georgia Tech 49-21 on the road Saturday afternoon at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Freshman quarterback Dillon Gabriel threw for a career high 417 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Knights to their 36th win in the last 40 games. After allowing the Yellow Jackets to get within one score early in the fourth quarter, at 28-21, UCF scored three straight touchdowns to earn the 28-point victory.
The defense did their part as well, recovering three fumbles and picking off two passes. Senior Richie Grant, sophomore Dyllon Lester and true freshman Josh Celiscar each grabbed one ball off the ground on Saturday.
Celiscar, in his first collegiate game, also grabbed an interception after Randy Charlton batted the ball at the line. Charlton also had 1.5 tackles for loss and four quarterback hurries. Stephon Zayas also grabbed his first career interception for the Knights defense.
Junior Eriq Gilyard led UCF with 10 tackles and two tackles for loss while also forcing a fumble. The Knights, who led the nation with 9.0 tackles for loss last season, ended the day with 6.0 TFLs as a team.
UCF rushed for 243 yards as a team, led by Otis Anderson, who carried the ball 18 times for 88 yards and a score. Greg McCrae and Bentavious Thompson also found the end zone on the ground, while rushing for 50 and 30 yards, respectively.
On the other end of Gabriel’s career day were a litany of receivers, including Marlon Williams, who hauled in a career-high 10 receptions for a career-best 154 yards with two scores. Jaylon Robinson, playing in his first game as a Knight, also went over 100, catching six balls for 105 yards. Tre Nixon, who left the game late in the first half with an injury, went for 94 yards and two touchdowns in just two quarters.
The Knights are scheduled to continue the 2020 season next Saturday at ECU. The American Athletic Conference opener for UCF is set for noon with coverage on ESPN Plus and FM 96.9 The Game.
From Coach Heupel
“The uncertainty of tomorrow for the last six months…the brotherhood is real, it’s strong here. Inside of our locker room, they do love one another. I’m really proud of them for staying the course together and growing together over the last. They’ve made me (better). They’ve made our coaching staff better. We’re closer. We’re better as a football family than we were when we got away from each other in early March.”
From Dillon Gabriel
“The team played really well…the offensive line, it all starts up front. They picked up a lot of pressures. The running backs did a hell of a job. Guys were making plays all over the field, so when that happens, you see what we can do.”
• The Knights improved to 23-4 with Josh Heupel at the helm.
• It marked UCF’s first win over Georgia Tech, as the Yellow Jackets now lead the all-time series, 3-1.
• It was the Knights’ fifth straight win in a season opener and UCF is now 28-14 all-time to open a season.
• The Knights are now 36-4 all-time as a ranked team, and 12-2 while ranked on the road.
• The Knights ended Georgia Tech’s 13-game home opener winning streak.
• The Knights scored on the ground and through the air, its 40th straight game doing so, a streak that leads the nation.
• Six out of UCF’s seven scoring drives were under three minutes and three were under two minutes.
• Dillon Gabriel recorded his fifth career 300-yard passing game, tied for the fourth most in program history, as well as his first-career 400-yard passing game, finishing with 417 yards, the seventh most in a game in UCF history.
• Gabriel also threw a touchdown pass for the 14th straight game, tied for the fourth longest streak in UCF history. It is the longest streak for a Knight to start his career. He finished with four touchdown passes, tying his career best.
• Marlon Williams snagged the 10th and 11th receiving scores of his career, going for a career-high 154 yards on a career-best 10 receptions.
• Jaylon Robinson went over the 100-yard mark receiving in his first game as Knight, finishing with 105 yards in the game.
• It was the 26th time that two Knights went over 100 yards receiving and the fifth time since 2017.
• Freshman Josh Celiscar made an impact in his first collegiate game, forcing and recovering a fumble in the first quarter.
• Celiscar also recorded the first interception of his career, collecting a Randy Charlton-batted ball in the second quarter.
• Senior Noah Hancock recorded the first blocked kick of his career, getting his hand on a second-quarter field goal attempt by the Yellow Jackets.