What the Knights Learned vs. Temple

Lots of defense, a really early lead, enough offense to send the home folks out into the mild Orlando night happy.
That was the recipe for success for Josh Heupel's UCF football team (5-2 overall, 4-2 AAC) at the Bounce House in a victory over Temple in which the Knights mostly cruised.
UCF now prepares for its final home game of 2020 Saturday afternoon against unbeaten and seventh-rated Cincinnati (7-0 overall, 5-0 AAC) before ending with a bus ride to Tampa to meet USF Nov. 27 to finish the regular season.
Here are some late takeaways from UCF's third consecutive victory:

  1. Quick strike. UCF already has a reputation for being a fast-paced offensive unit—and that certainly was on full display Saturday night. The Knights scored three running TDs in an early 6:09 span. At that point in the game visiting Temple had recorded all of one first down and that came by penalty. UCF put an exclamation point on that speedy process on recording its final points of the night on a 27-second possession that covered 91 yards, 70 of those on a Dillon Gabriel throw to Jaylon Robinson.
  2. Let's not jinx him. Dillon Gabriel now has thrown 188 straight passes without an interception—including his last 44 vs. Tulsa, 49 at Memphis and 40 vs. Tulane, 33 vs. Houston and 22 vs Temple. His last INT came in the first period vs. Tulsa. He boasts the third-longest streak in the country—behind only Tyrrell Pigrome of Western Kentucky (212) and Ian Book of Notre Dame (195).
  3. More than enough. Marlon Williams hit it on the head after the game when he suggested that Knight fans are a bit spoiled in 2020 based on the gaudy offensive numbers UCF has produced this fall. "Only" 419 total yards against Temple? "Just" 272 passing yards versus the Owls? And yet it was the most comfortable verdict of the 2020 season for the Knights. UCF led by five TDs with four minutes remaining in the third period. Dillon Gabriel spent the entire final period cheering on Quadry Jones—as the Knights ran the ball 11 times in the fourth quarter (and threw it only twice).    
  4. Meaningless statistic of the night. UCF lost the time of possession battle by nearly 15 minutes and ran a dozen fewer plays than did Temple—but none of that mattered. The Owls possessed the football for more than 10 minutes in both the first and third periods—and yet were outscored 38-0 in those two quarters combined.
  5. These are the numbers that count. Where do the Knights stand this week in the national statistics?--#1 in total offense (619.1 yards per game)
    --#1 in passing offense (396.9 yards per game)
    --#1 in fumbles recovered (10)
    --#1 in turnovers gained (19)
    --#6 in turnover margin (plus-1.57)
    --#11 in scoring (44.0 points)
    --#11 in passes intercepted (9)
    --#20 in rushing (222.3 yards per game)

And on an individual basis:
--Dillon Gabriel #1 in total offense (411.4) and passing yards per game (396.3), #2 in TD passes (23) and passing yards (2,774), #6 in completions per game (25.57), #9 in passing yards per completion (15.50) and #17 in passing efficiency
--Marlon Williams #2 in receiving yards (942), #4 in receiving yards per game (134.6) and receiving TDs (8), #5 in receptions per game (9.0)
--Richie Grant #2 in fumbles recovered (2, tied with Eriq Gilyard), #4 in interceptions (3)
--Jaylon Robinson #5 in receiving yards (822)
--Ryan O'Keefe #4 in yards per reception (24.13)