What the Knights Learned at Georgia Tech

College football season openers can be a mixed bag. Big wins prompt fans to make postseason reservations—tough losses make them jump off buildings.
UCF's impressive win Saturday may be the outlier. It came against an Atlantic Coast Conference unit riding high after its own opening-week road win over a brand-name foe.
What it means is that Josh Heupel and his staff will keep the victory at Georgia Tech in perspective.
1. Here's how it compares. Take a look at how some first-game numbers equate:
--UCF's 660 total yards are the most since 694 in last year's opener vs. FAMU.
--The Knights' 417 passing yards are the most since McKenzie Milton had 494 in overtime in the 2017 American Athletic Conference title game vs. Memphis.
--UCF's 243 rushing yards would have ranked fifth in 2019 behind a quartet of 300-plus-yard efforts (and almost 20 more than the 2019 per-game average of 223.4).
--The Knights' five forced turnovers (the blocked field goal technically did not count as one) matched the five in UCF's most recent outing vs. Marshall in the Gasparilla Bowl.
--UCF is 1-0 for a fifth straight year.
2. The Knights can score points and gain yards quickly. Neither of those pronouncements comes as any surprise, yet the overall UCF efficiency in Atlanta was impressive:
--Seven TD drives averaged 7.2 plays, 62.5 yards and 2:21 in time of possession.
--The Knights actually dominated time of possession in the final two periods (17:34) and finished at 31:52. Only once all last year did UCF win that battle (31:03 in the opener vs. FAMU).
--Over the final three periods UCF's TOP advantage was 26:51 to 18:09.
3. Check the Knight rookies. UCF didn't have a huge amount of roster turnover from 2019, so there weren't position groups with glaring holes. Still, there was a smattering of new names that impacted the action at Georgia Tech:
--Freshman DL Josh Celiscar (a forced fumble, a recovered fumble on the same play, an interception and two tackles; named the 247Sports True Freshman of the Week)
--Tennessee transfer Marcus Tatum (he started at offensive tackle)
--Oklahoma transfer Jaylon Robinson (he caught six passes for 105 yards, all in the opening half)
--Freshman CB Corey Thornton (he earned the start and made two tackles—one of those on a fourth-down play midway through the final period)
--Freshman RB Johnny Richardson (two carries for 24 yards)
--Redshirt freshman RB Damarius Good (two carries for 21 yards)
4. UCF's defense will grow. Randy Shannon won't celebrate the 471 total yards allowed by the Knights (only East Carolina at 483 had that many vs. UCF in 2019) in Atlanta. But the Knights came up big when it counted:
--UCF kickstarted a dominating second period (21 points by the visitors) by forcing Tech punts on consecutive four- and three-play drives.
--In the second half, the Yellow Jackets' eight possessions ended in two lost fumbles, an interception and two times the ball was lost on downs.
--Of those eight drives, seven covered 38 or fewer yards and three produced zero or less.
5. Kicking game debuts impressively. First-year placekicker Daniel Obarski (he handled kickoffs a year ago) did not attempt a field goal, but six of his eight kickoffs ended with touchbacks. Meanwhile, second-year punter Andrew Osteen averaged 45.3 yards on his three boots, while the Knights did not allow a punt-return yard. The lone major blemish was the 75-yard return by Tech on the opening kickoff that forced UCF to come from behind early.
6. Some early-season NCAA numbers based on the limited number of games.
--Marlon Williams is one of only two receivers in the country to catch 10 passes in a single game. He ranks second nationally in receiving yards per game at 154.0.
--Dillon Gabriel (named Sunday the Walter Camp Foundation National Player of the Week on offense) stands second in total offense, third in passing yards per game, sixth in passing TDs, ninth in passing efficiency.
--UCF as a team lists second in turnover margin (plus-three) and turnovers gained (five), second in total offense, second in net punting, fourth in passing, fourth in third-down conversions, fifth in scoring, ninth in red-zone defense.