Knights Open 2019 with 62-0 Win Over FAMU

Box Score (pdf) Postgame Notes

ORLANDO –  The second season under head coach Josh Heupel was an impressive affair, as the UCF football team defeated visiting Florida A&M by a score of 62-0 in the 2019 season opener at Spectrum Stadium. After losing for the first time in 26 games last January, the Knights (1-0) returned to their winning ways Thursday night in front of 44,073 fans.
With equally impressive offensive and defensive performances, UCF put up 694 yards of total offense and held the Rattlers (0-1) to just 96 yards, which included a mere four net rushing yards. The offensive total trailed only the team's 694 yards in the 2018 AAC Championship for last year's best games, while the defensive mark was the best since giving up 50 in 2009.
"They should enjoy this one," Heupel said after the game. "It's one of 12 that they get to enjoy, so they should go enjoy it. We'll get back to work tomorrow."
It was the first game action as Knights for two quarterbacks and the first time in the Knights backfield for a third, as Brandon Wimbush, Dillon Gabriel and Quadry Jones all saw action and all performed well.
Wimbush, the transfer from Notre Dame, started the game and scored on his first drive in the black and gold, finding Gabriel Davis for a 37-yard touchdown just over a minute into the game. The senior finished with 168 yards and two scores through the air and 20 yards on the ground.
Gabriel also scored on his first drive as a Knight, leading UCF on a short field to the end zone, hitting Otis Anderson for a 24-yard touchdown late in the first quarter. The true freshman finished up 9-of-13 for 127 yards and three touchdowns.
"They played well," Heupel said of both Wimbush and Gabriel. "There were a couple of throws Brandon and Dillon wish they could have back, but I thought they did well from snap to whistle."
With the game in hand, Jones came in and connected on both of his attempts, throwing for 61 yards and a 49-yard score to Amari Johnson.
The rushing game was on point as well, finishing up with 338 yards on the ground. Adrian Killins Jr. led the corps with 106 yards, the fifth 100-yard game of his career. Killins and Greg McCrae both scored rushing touchdowns on the night, marking the 27th straight game UCF has scored both a rushing and a receiving touchdown, a streak that leads the nation.
"It all starts with the o-line," Killins said. "We're going to go pretty darn far because this o-line is stout."
So was the defensive line on Thursday. The Knights defense finished with 12.0 tackles for loss and 14 quarterback hurries, while holding the Rattlers scoreless. It was UCF's first shutout since Sept. 8, 2018. A total of 14 different Knights made stops in the backfield on Thursday.
"Coach (Randy) Shannon will never be satisfied," Heupel said of his defensive coordinator's mindset. "I thought they handled playing young guys pretty well (though)."
One member of the defense everyone was thinking of at the end of this one was Brandon Moore. The junior cornerback went down late in the third quarter and needed to be carted off the field.
"He's like a brother," Davis said of his former high school and now college teammate. "That's the last person I want to see go down on the field. It's so heartbreaking to see a brother like that to go down."
"Bam is a very important part of the team," Brendon Hayes said. "To see a guy like that go down is really hard for us. It doesn't ever get easier seeing a brother go down on a play."
The Knights will need to regroup and move on in preparation as UCF heads on the road to take on FAU in week two. UCF takes on the Owls on Saturday, Sept. 7 on CBS Sports Network.