Replay: More UCF Yards, More Knight Defense Equal More Music

Game Recap Highlights Photo Gallery Box Score

UCF football followers likely were still living off the euphoria of the Knights' crazy, weather-delayed, record-setting, opening comeback win over Boise State.
They assuredly were still enjoying the heady feeling that Big 12 Conference membership now was officially on the horizon.
None of that mattered to UCF coach Gus Malzahn.
All he wanted to do was walk out of the Bounce House feeling like his football team had improved compared to a week ago.
Another lightning delay, 671 total yards and eight straight touchdown drives later, the scoreboard read UCF 63, Bethune-Cookman 14.
Mission accomplished.
"It's a great day to play football," mused UCF defensive end Big Kat Johnson 20 minutes before the scheduled kickoff.
"I hope it doesn't rain. Please don't rain."
Instead, it was "groundhog day," as Malzahn told his players.
"Been here, done this before."
The 45-minute delay did nothing to squelch the Knights' precision.
From a 7-7 tie after UCF's only punt of the night, the home team proved virtually unstoppable.
Eight straight drives produced TDs—three of the 11-play variety, a half-dozen of them that covered from 54 to 66 yards—and two that lasted less than a minute.
The longest march of the evening went for 81 yards and nearly seven minutes and ended on the Wildcats' 12 as the game ended. UCF ran the football 18 times for 122 yards in the final period alone.
When it was 35-7 at intermission, Malzahn suggested this: "They're getting the ball first. Defense, stop 'em. Offense, score. It's gonna be a fun night. Let's finish this thing."
Added offensive line coach Herb Hand, "The score is irrelevant. It's about our standard."
Three minutes into the third period, Malzahn's suggestion became reality. The Knights forced a Bethune-Cookman punt after five plays, UCF needed three plays of its own to cover 71 yards. The points came on a bizarre, career-long, 44-yard, snaking run by Dillon Gabriel that saw him run laterally all the way from the Wildcat sideline to the Knights' bench area before skirting the pylon as he crossed the goal line. At that point Malzahn's team had 400 yards on the nose.
It was a fun night for the home team because virtually everyone got to play for UCF (75 in all based on the Knights' participation sheet).
Running back Isaiah Bowser tied a UCF record with four rushing scores in the first half alone. Ryan O'Keefe's eight catches doubled his previous career best. Brandon Johnson's seven receptions tied his career high. Trillion Coles (he missed all of 2020 with an Achilles injury) did not touch the football until late in the third period—yet he ended up as the leading UCF rusher (11 attempts for 78 yards) and scored a pair of TDs (one rushing, one receiving).
Gabriel did his thing—throwing for multiple TDs for the 21st time in his career and connecting on 23 passes for 312 yards.
Quadric Bullard made seven stops and Divaad Wilson six on an evening when the UCF defense completely eliminated the visitors' running game (14 attempts for 24 net yards). Bethune-Cookman quarterback Shannon Patrick threw it 48 times for 238 yards—but that was nowhere near enough.
UCF even led the time-of-possession column for a second straight week and ran 21 more plays than the visitors.
Statistics don't mean much after two weeks—yet UCF ended the evening ranked second nationally in total offense (622.0), sixth in scoring (49.5) and second in rushing defense (22.0).
Malzahn began his postgame remarks by inviting his players to give themselves a hand.
"We got a chance to let a lot of guys play—and here's what I liked. It didn't get sloppy. And I'm really proud of you now.
"We're going to enjoy this tonight, but we've got a short turnaround now (at Louisville Friday night). We've got to flip the switch and go on the road--and it's going to be a tough one.
"But I'm proud of you. We're 2-0 and I feel like we got better as a team."
And then—for the second week in a row in the home locker room, it was time to turn the music up.