Big Plays Propel UCF Past Temple

PHILADELPHIA, PA. 10/26/2019 – This game will have a lot to say about who wins the American Eastern Division. Each team came into the game with identical 5 – 2 records, 2 – 1 in the American. Both Temple and UCF trail division leader Cincinnati by one game. Cincinnati owns a win over UCF.

The Knights put themselves back in the picture defeating the Temple Owls 63 – 21 at the Linc. UCF may have their swagger back.

“We’re dissatisfied with the outcome,” said Temple Coach Rod Carey. “They took it to us.”

The game was decided by big plays and UCF had more of them, especially in the second half. Ironically, the Owls that got the first one on the initial drive of the game. Quarterback Anthony Russo hit Randle Jones with a 32-yard strike. It didn’t take UCF long to answer. Quarterback Dillon Gabriel found Gabriel Davis with a 36-yard completion to the Temple 27. Three plays later Dillon threw a 10-yard scoring strike to Jake Hescock to tie the game. The next two scores by the Knights came via a 48-yard run by Adrian Killins, Jr. and a 54-yard run by Otis Anderson to make it 21 – 7 UCF.

The Owls got back in contention with a 75-yard Russo to Branden Mack touchdown reception cutting the gap to 21 – 14. It was a career-long pass reception for Mack and gave him 100-yards receiving, the fourth time this year he posted that number which tied a school record.

The teams traded scores with Gabriel throwing a 28-yard touchdown pass to Tre Nixon. Later, the Owls recovered a fumble and with a short field got a proximity touchdown by Jager Gardner who crossed the line form one-yard out. UCF had a 28 – 21 lead at halftime. Temple was there and had an opportunity to take momentum into the second half.

“The first half fight ended the way we wanted it to,” Carey said. “We broke down in the second half and that’s not what we’re about.”

The Knights seized the game scoring 35 unanswered points. It started with a 73-yard touchdown pass from Gabriel to Marlon Williams. Later, Bentavious Thompson took it home from 34-yard away. Anderson ran it in from 47-yards out followed by an 11-yard touchdown run by Thompson. UCF lead 56 – 21 after three quarters.

The longest drive for the Knights was 3:14. Five other scoring drives were one minute or less. Can’t give up big plays to a team that plays fast.

Anderson had a game-high 205 yards rushing, eclipsing the 188-yard mark by Greg McCrae last year in Orlando. Gabriel completed 10 of 21 passes for 218 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Knights had 614 total yards of offense.

They’re explosive,” Carey said about the UCF running game. “Give them a crease and they are going to go.”

Temple was led by Branden Mack who caught 5 passes for 104 yards. Russo went 12 of 24 for 199 yards and 2 touchdowns, he was intercepted twice. The Owls gained 266 yards with the ball, but only 45 on the ground.

The Owls have given up 45 and 63 points over the past two weeks. That is a trend that needs to change. Next week the Cherry and White get a bye before playing at USF.

“Next week we plan on going 1 and 0,” said Owls linebacker Chapelle Russell. “We have a lot of guys banged up, so we are looking forward to getting them back into the rotation.”

“As a defense we need to play better.”


Written By: Glenn Papazian


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