Mission IV Completed in #UCFinSpace Win Over Tulane

Postgame Notes Stats (PDF)

ORLANDO - The UCF football team has donned space-themed uniforms four times in the last four years to highlight the university's past and present relationship to the space program, and the Knights have won all four contests after defeating Tulane 51-34 Saturday afternoon at the Bounce House.
The nation's leading offense scored on the first drive of the game and took off in the second quarter, scoring 27 straight points to take a 37-14 lead at halftime.
The Knights (3-2, 2-2) bounced back after losing back-to-back games for the first time since 2016 with a 51-point outing that needed no additional scoring in the fourth quarter to get the job done.
The Green Wave (2-4, 0-4) fought back early, taking a 14-10 edge late in the first quarter, but couldn't keep up with the Knights, who finished with 689 yards of total offense.
Sophomore quarterback Dillon Gabriel, who came into the weekend leading the nation in passing, went over 400 yards for the fourth time in five games, passing Daunte Culpepper and Ryan Schneider for the most 400-yard passing games in a career at UCF.
He finished with 422 yards on 26-of-40 with five touchdowns. Gabriel has now had five touchdowns in back-to-back games, only the second Knights to accomplish the feat, the first since Darin Slack in 1987.
The lefty hit senior Marlon Williams time and time again, as the receiving went over 100 yards for the fourth time in five games, finishing with nine catches for 174 yards and a career-high three touchdowns.
Williams entered the game leading the nation in both receptions and receiving yards per game and got help from Jacob Harris, who had two catches for 96 yards and a score, and Jaylon Robinson, who totaled four receptions for 63 yards.
Greg McCrae gave the Knights a healthy balance of run and pass, rushing a career-high 25 times for 162 yards and a score. It was the first time since 2018 that UCF had a 300-yard passer, a 100-rusher and a 100-yard receiver.
The defense made stops when it needed to, notably in the second quarter when the Green Wave was shutout.
UCF totaled season highs with 11.0 tackles for loss and five sacks. Kenny Turnier and Randy Charlton had two sacks each, while Anthony Montalvo added another.
Derek Gainous also added to UCF's turnover total in 2020, which was second in the nation coming into Saturday, with his first career interception, essentially putting the game away.
The Knights will now head on the road to take on Houston next weekend. UCF and the Cougars are scheduled to kickoff at 2 p.m. with coverage on ESPN+ and FM 96.9 The Game.
From Coach Heupel
"What they did on the field today and how they handled the adversity, they stuck together as a football team, they played for one another today, they played hard and did a great job of preparing all week, I'm really proud of what they did today and it gives us an opportunity to continue to become closer as a football team and get better as a football team."
From Greg McCrae
"It felt good to be out there, dominate on offense like we did, and dominate as a team like we did. I have to give a big shout out to the o-line for creating those big gaps and big lanes for me to run through."
• The Knights improved to 25-6 with Josh Heupel at the helm.
• UCF defeated Tulane for the third straight game, improved to 8-2 all-time against the Green Wave and now have won all five meetings against Tulane in Orlando.
• The Knights scored on the ground and through the air, their 44th straight game doing so, a streak that also leads the nation.
• Greg McCrae recorded the 23rd rushing touchdown of his career, which is the seventh most in UCF history, and finished 162 rushing yards, which is the fifth 100-yard game in his career. McCrae finished with 162 yards on the ground to give him 2,251 in his career, moving eighth all-time on the UCF list.
• Gabriel recorded his ninth career 300-yard passing game, which is the fourth most in program history, and his fourth career 400-yard passing game, which is the UCF single-season record and marks a new UCF record for career 400 yard games, passing Daunte Culpepper and Ryan Schneider.
• Gabriel threw five touchdown passes to give him 19 on the season and 48 in his career, which moved him into sixth all-time in UCF history. He is the second UCF quarterback to throw for five touchdowns in back-to-back games (Darin Slack, 1987).
•Marlon Williams, who came into the game leading the nation in receiving yards and receptions per game, went for nine catches, 174 yards and three touchdowns. It marked the first three receiving touchdown game by a Knights since Gabriel Davis on Sept. 28, 2019.
• Richie Grant forced a fumble for the seventh time in his career, which is now tied for the fourth most in UCF history.
• The Knights led the nation with 9.0 TFLs per game a season ago and came into Saturday's game averaging 7.0 tackles for loss per contest, but totaled a season-high 11.0 on Saturday.