What the Knights Learned vs. Temple

It's not hard to imagine what UCF players heard and saw in reviews of their away-from-home win Saturday night at Temple.
"This is what it looks like when you control both lines of scrimmage. This is what it looks like when you play well for four quarters in all three phases. This is what it looks like when you win the turnover battle on the road. This is what it looks like when your running game is so productive it creates great complements between the running game, passing game and defense."
Here are some final thoughts on those areas and more from the UCF (6-2, 3-1 AAC) victory in Philadelphia against Temple (5-3, 2-2 AAC):

  1. More on the turnover front. In UCF's first four wins the Knights were plus-four in turnovers. In their two road losses they were minus-five. So that comparison drew the attention of Josh Heupel and his staff as they looked for points of emphasis in recent weeks. The Knights came back from their week off to win the turnover competition two to one against East Carolina (though that did not count a blocked punt by the visiting Pirates) and then they did the same Saturday night at Temple thanks to a pair of Aaron Robinson interceptions. Overall, UCF currently stands 48th nationally in turnover margin (plus two)—and fourth among American Athletic Conference members. 
  2. These numbers are crazy. No team in the country has been more dominant in the opening period, with the Knights outscoring their opponents 125-21 in those first quarters. That equates to 15.6 points per opening period for UCF. Throw in the second quarter (a 120-50 Knight advantage) and UCF is outscoring its foes 245-71 in the first half—an average of 30.6 points per game in those first two periods. There are 74 FBS teams that don't average 30.6 points for their full football games.
  3. Big plays, quick drives. UCF's quick-strike offense has been well-documented and that was on full display in Philadelphia. The Knights' first eight TD drives averaged 71 seconds (the last one proved an outlier at 6:18 over 11 plays and 70 yards). UCF against Temple had runs of 54, 37, 37 (all by Otis Anderson), 48 (Adrian Killins Jr.) and 34 yards (Bentavious Thompson). Those combined with Dillon Gabriel pass completions of 73 yards (Marlon Williams), 28 (Tre Nixon), 20 (Jake Hescock), plus 36, 25 and 22 yards to Gabriel Davis. The way the Knights score quickly is best exhibited by UCF's 117th (of 130 FBS programs) national ranking in time of possession at 26:52 per game. 
  4. And the Knights continue to hang with . . . . National statistical rankings again list UCF among names in the conversation at the upper echelon of this week's NCAA numbers. Overall, the Knights rank in the national top 10 in eight different NCAA categories—and lead the AAC in seven. Here's where UCF stands in various top 10s:
    --1st in first downs with 220 (Next: Ohio State 215, Texas 213, LSU 212)
    --2nd in total offense at 561.4 yards per game (Oklahoma is atop that list)
    --3rd in tackles for loss (9.0 per game—Ohio State is #1 at 9.3, USF #2 at 9.1)
    --5th in scoring offense at 46.6 (Oklahoma tops that chart)
    --7th in passing yards per completion at 16.38
    --8th in passing offense at 327.5
    --8th in third-down defense percentage at .294
    --9th in team passing efficiency at 169.47
  5. The rest of the way. As November dawns, here's the scoop on what remains. UCF's past schedule rates as the 18th most difficult nationally according to the NCAA, with those eight Knight opponents so far going 35-20 versus FBS foes (.636). That includes 5-3 Florida Atlantic, 4-4 Stanford, 5-3 Pitt, 6-1 Cincinnati and 5-3 Temple, all of whom are seriously in the mix for bowl bids (plus Florida A&M has won seven in a row since losing in August at Spectrum Stadium). Meanwhile, when it comes to future opponents, USF plays the most difficult slate in the country—with its remaining opponents at 24-7 (.774). Among AAC programs, Houston, Memphis and SMU are tied for 10th at 21-10 (.677) in that category. UCF's remaining four games comprise the 111th most difficult remaining group at 14-18 (.438)—with Tulane at 5-3 the top-rated foe. However, that remaining schedule will be impacted by two short weeks for the Knights based on Friday assignments--on the road at Tulsa (Nov. 8) and at home versus USF (Nov. 29). Tulsa's past schedule stands second nationally at 40-14 (.741). Six AAC teams—Cincinnati, UCF, SMU, Navy, Memphis and Tulane—are unbeaten at home in 2019 at a combined 25-0.