EditorsNote: Clarifies Davis’ 3 TDs in graf 3; notes Mack soph. in graf 4; corrects to 25-game streak graf 7; other minor edits
No. 22 UCF tallied four first-quarter touchdowns, and the defense forced four turnovers and scored once as the Knights breezed past Connecticut 56-21 on Saturday night in Orlando, Fla.
In the American Athletic Conference opener for both schools, UCF (4-1, 1-0) blitzed the Huskies for 369 yards on just 20 plays from scrimmage on the way to a 42-0 halftime lead.
Freshman quarterback Dillon Gabriel played just the first half and went 11 of 16 for 281 yards and three touchdowns, all of them to wide receiver Gabriel Davis (five catches, 119 yards, three touchdowns).
Sophomore Darriel Mack Jr. made his 2019 debut by throwing for 97 yards and a score on 9-of-13 passing.
Running backs Greg McCrae, Adrian Killins Jr. and Bentavious Thompson each rushed for scores as the Knights, a six-touchdown favorite, totaled 607 yards of offense — 377 passing, 230 rushing.
The rout was UCF’s 18th consecutive home win while the Huskies (1-3, 0-1) lost to an FBS school for the 19th straight time.
A week after its 25-game regular-season winning streak was snapped on a last-play 35-34 loss at Pitt, UCF rebounded and put the game out of hand in the first 15 minutes with 199 yards of offense and three forced turnovers en route to a 28-0 lead.
Safety Antwan Collier set up the Knights with an interception on the third play from scrimmage, and McCrae scored three plays later on a 1-yard plunge.
Gabriel struck on the first play on UCF’s third series, finding Davis on a scissors pattern that went 73 yards at 7:21.
UConn quarterback Steven Krajewski replaced Jack Zergiotis late in the first quarter, and the backup overthrew a pass that was intercepted by Nevelle Clarke and returned for a 48-yard score.
Killins increased the lead to 28-0 on a 75-yard TD sprint with 1:06 remaining in the first quarter.
Gabriel tossed a pair of scores to Davis in the first five minutes of the second quarter for a 42-0 lead.
Mack threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Marlon Williams early in the second half, and Thompson’s short TD run made it 56-0.
The Huskies recorded their first three passing scores of the season when Krajewski, who was 22 of 33 for 273 yards, tossed a 16-yard TD to Cameron Ross, a 12-yarder to Ardell Brown and a 15-yarder to Matt Drayton.
UConn running back Kevin Mensah rushed for a game-high 123 yards on 23 carries.
—Field Level Media