Replay: Another Line for Knights’ Resume

UCF coach Gus Malzahn shook hands with his Temple counterpart, found his wife Kristi for their traditional postgame hug—and then quickly began trying to process exactly what had transpired Thursday night in the Knights' uplifting 70-13 home victory over the visiting Owls.
Athletics director Terry Mohajir and other UCF staffers relayed some of the raw numbers that represented what Malzahn had watched on the field.
The Knights scored the final 56 points in the game, becoming only the third team in college football in 2022 to hit the 70-point mark.
They accounted for 258 yards in the third period alone.
They allowed only 90 second-half yards to Temple.
Quarterback John Rhys Plumlee did things that no one at UCF had done in 35 years (seven touchdowns responsible for).
Slowly but surely, Malzahn—in his normal calm demeanor (let's face it, he never, ever, gets out over his skis)—began to sense the potential of this UCF program that he has talked about from day one.
Malzahn's favorite phrase is that UCF is a "gold mine," even if maybe it's unclear how that translates.
The Knights' head coach—and UCF fans who came along for the ride—Thursday night at least got a glimpse of whatever Malzahn has been dreaming about how he wants his football program to look.
And, boy, what fun to get a look at that pot of gold.
"I want to get the ball on the perimeter early," Malzahn told his team pregame.
"Let's play fast, let's communicate and let's get after these guys."
Added defensive coordinator Travis Williams, "We've been great the last three weeks at starting fast. It's hard during the week – now it's showtime."
Chimed in offensive line coach Herb Hand, "The table is set to have your best game. Set a new standard. We get a great opportunity to do that and have fun, too.
"Make sure they know who you are."
At least defensively, the game didn't begin quite how Williams hoped. Temple true freshman quarterback E.J. Warner (his dad Kurt is an NFL Hall of Famer) completed his first three throws for 54 yards.
The Owls' first drive produced a field goal—and their second covered 75 yards and ended with a touchdown.
UCF trailed 3-0 and 10-7 in the opening period.
But the offensive onslaught came early and often and it involved all manner of Knights.
RJ Harvey displayed Malzahn's depth-chart blessings with a 61-yard run (longest UCF rush in 2022 and longest play allowed by Temple this year) to set up the Knights' go-ahead TD.
The first period alone featured 290 combined yards.
But after a 49-yard field goal by the Owls pulled the visitors to within a point (14-13 midway through the second period), UCF went on an amazing roll, scoring TDs on eight—get that, eight—consecutive possessions.
The Knights did it in all manner of ways and with all manner of contributors.
In a span of 13:03 UCF scored 42 points (end of second quarter through midway in the third).
Plumlee sat down late in the third period after an astounding finish—he completed the final three passes he threw, each going for a TD and combining for 148 yards.
Ryan O'Keefe and Kobe Hudson both caught two TD passes.
Plumlee threw for four and ran for three.
With UCF's offense going off like firecrackers (on Space Night for UCF), the Knight defense four times in a row held Temple possessions to five or fewer yards.
If it's possible, when true freshman quarterback Thomas Castellanos replaced Plumlee, he was easily the most exciting player on the field. He completed all six of his passes and ended up the leading rusher in the game in his most extensive career action.
Even though the Knights led 35-13 at intermission, Williams made it painfully clear to his defense that he expected better:
"Go play football like we play football. Bite on your darn mouthpiece and play."
Added Malzahn at halftime, "We're the best second-half team in college football. You proved it last week. Let's prove it again."
And so the Knight outscored Temple 35-0 in the final two periods.
The numbers were eye-popping. UCF is the only team in the nation to have gained 600-plus yards three times in 2022 (737 against Temple).
The Knights finished eight of nine on third down. They punted only once. Six rushers and six receivers made at least one play of 24 or more yards.
Malzahn and his players loved the fact that nothing seemed to change when the reserves took the field. In particular Castellanos' play, at least for one night, suggested the Knight future at that position is in good hands.
The UCF defense produced nine quarterback hurries—and the Knights themselves didn't turn the ball over and limited their penalties.
For a ninth straight game, UCF held an opponent to 20 or fewer points.
Plumlee fittingly appeared in the postgame interview room in a bright blue astronaut outfit. Maybe it somehow signified that the sky is the limit for the Knights.
Malzahn did his best to be even-keeled with the media, but inside he had to be brimming with pride.
His guys are trending in the right direction—and now they play away from home in four of their final six regular-season games.
Now the Knights wipe the slate clean and start all over again.
All Malzahn wants is to believe his team has a chance every week—a chance to win, a chance to be good, a chance to even be great.
It appears that they do.