What the Knights Learned vs. Cincinnati

Two road losses in a three-week period have thrown a bit of a monkey wrench into UCF's football season. So, with an open date ahead the Knights (4-2 overall, 1-1 AAC) are taking the coming weekend off to assess where they are and where they go from here.
Here are some additional final thoughts on UCF's defeat at Cincinnati Friday night:
1. Turnovers make for bad bedfellows. This is hardly a revelation, but fumbles and interceptions generally play havoc with any team's offensive goals. In many cases, that sort of behavior in road games is ill-advised. So, if nothing else, ball security is likely to be a hot topic as the Knights return to the practice field. That's because the numbers show that in four UCF wins the Knights are plus-four in turnovers. In their two road losses they are minus-five. Overall, UCF currently stands 64th nationally in turnover margin—and fifth among AAC members.
2. 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 five. Here's where UCF stands in various top 10s:
--2nd in first downs with 165 (Ohio State leads the way with 168)
--5th in total offense at 544.3 yards per game (Oklahoma is atop that list at 643.8)
--6th in passing offense (at 329.5—Washington State leads that category)
--6th in team passing efficiency defense
--6th in tackles for loss (8.8 per game)
--7th in scoring offense at 44.9 (LSU tops that chart at 54.6)
3. Gabriel Davis is going to merit plenty of attention—and that's a good thing. UCF junior wide receiver Gabriel Davis now has hauled in 28 combined receptions in his last three games, good for 440 yards and five touchdowns. Those 13 catches versus Cincinnati were just two away from the Knights' single-game record. The official stats from Friday in Cincinnati suggested Davis was targeted 21 times by quarterback Dillon Gabriel (among 46 attempts by Gabriel). You can guess the UCF offensive staff will be interested to see how future opponents choose to defend (or try to defend) Davis. He rates sixth nationally in receiving yards per game and fourth in receiving TDs.
4. Let's not forget. As the Knights take a breather of sorts this week, let's celebrate what these last three seasons have produced:
--Wins in 29 of their last 32 games overall and 29 of their last 31 in the regular season (including two AAC title games)
--Wins in 18 of their last 19 AAC games
--30 points or more on the offensive side in 31 of the last 32 games
5. The AAC is moving up. UCF's loss in Cincinnati dropped the Knights out of the polls for the first time in a while (after listing there for 33 straight weeks). Meanwhile, after dominating the AAC conversation since the start of the 2017 season, other AAC teams are making inroads. Cincinnati is 4-1 and ranked 25th this week (Associated Press poll); SMU is 6-0 and 21st; Memphis is 5-0 and ranked 23rd. The Knights will be fighting their way back into that neighborhood the rest of the way.