Tulsa Takes Down Knights

Postgame Notes Stats (PDF)

ORLANDO - The last time the 11th-ranked UCF football team lost a game it was on the road to Tulsa late in the 2019 season. On Saturday, the Knights (2-1, 1-1) lost their first game of the 2020 season, again to Tulsa (1-1, 1-0), in a 34-26 defeat at the Bounce House.
UCF scored first on a 12-yard pass from Dillon Gabriel to Jacob Harris, went up 16-0 after getting a safety and a 49-yard touchdown run from Otis Anderson, and held a 23-5 advantage after offensive guard Cole Schneider found the end zone from one yard out with 1:39 to play in the second quarter.
The Golden Hurricane countered quickly though, scoring in less than a minute to pull within 11 points at the break and continued to fight back throughout the second half.
Tulsa outscored UCF 29-3 to end the game, taking a 31-6 lead with 12:56 to play in the game, before tacking on a final three points with a minute and a half on the clock.
Gabriel finished 28-of-51 for 330 yards, a touchdown, and an early interception, but the offense never clicked the way it did in the first two games. The Knights were once again done in by penalties, recording 18 for 124 yards.
With both Greg McCrae and Bentavious Thompson banged up during the game, Otis Anderson led the ground game with 84 yards and a score on 17 carries.
UCF gave the ball away three times, but the Knight defense forced three turnovers of its own.
Richie Grant had an interception, while Aaron Robinson and Kenny Turnier forced fumbles and Tre'mon Morris-Brash and Christopher DeLoach recovered fumbles. Turnier led the Knights with 3.0 tackles for loss and a sack, while Eric Mitchell had 13 tackles.
Tulsa's Zach Smith had 273 passing yards with three touchdowns, while TK Wilkerson went for 86 yards and a score on the ground.
The Knights will take a week off and continue the 2020 season on the road Oct. 17 at Memphis.
From Coach Heupel
"It was definitely not the result we were looking for. I thought defensively we came out and played really well early. Offensively we didn't handle the elements early as well as we needed to. We had some turnovers that our defense got that we didn't take advantage of, we sputtered in the second half and it turned into the game that it was at the end. At the end of the day there were way too many self-inflicted wounds."
From Dillon Gabriel
"There were opportunities in the game that we obviously didn't take advantage of. I put this one on me. There has to be better quarterback play. We have to be able to execute at a high level. It shows if you don't do that."
• The Knights fell to 24-5 with Josh Heupel at the helm.
• Tulsa extended its win streak against UCF to four games and made the all-time series 9-3 in favor of the Golden Hurricane.
• The Knights have now lost just five games in their last 42 games dating back to the start of the 2017 season.
• It was UCF's first loss in a home opener since 2015 and the Knights are now 32-10 all-time in home openers.
• UCF failed to score 30 or more points for just the second time in the last 41 games.
• The Knights scored on the ground and through the air, their 42nd straight game doing so, a streak that leads the nation.
• Dillon Gabriel recorded  his seventh career 300-yard passing game, which is the fourth most in program history.
• Jaylon Robinson went over 100 yards receiving for the third straight game, which is tied for the fifth longest streak in program history.
• UCF came into the game leading the nation with six fumbles recovered, and had two more on Saturday.
• The Knights recovered eight fumbles all season long last year and now have eight fumble recoveries through three games of 2020.
• Richie Grant recorded his second interception of the season and the ninth of his career, which is tied for sixth all-time at UCF.