EditorsNote: Tweaks yards per carry stat in sixth graf
Freshman quarterback Dillon Gabriel threw four touchdown passes, and No. 17 Central Florida scored on six of its first seven possessions while defeating Stanford 45-27 on Saturday in Orlando.
In just his second start, Gabriel completed 22 of 30 pass attempts for 347 yards. The Knights amassed 413 yards in the first half and finished with 545 total yards on a humid day with game-time temperatures in the high 80s.
UCF (3-0) has now outscored its three opponents 155-41 and has scored at least 30 points in 29 straight games, the longest streak in Football Bowl Subdivision since 1936.
K.J. Costello got the start for the Cardinal (1-2) after missing last week’s loss to USC with a head injury. He completed 21 of 44 attempts for 199 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Gabriel was in control from the outset, marching the Knights 77 yards on eight plays and connecting with Marlon Williams for a 28-yard touchdown and an early 7-0 lead. The drive was helped when Stanford lineman Jovan Swann, one of the Cardinal’s leaders on defense, was ejected for targeting.
On Stanford’s next possession, Costello was intercepted by Alabama transfer Aaron Robinson on a deflected pass. Robinson rumbled down the sideline and was forced out of bounds on the Cardinal 1-yard line. Greg McCrae, who 8.9 yards per carry in 2018, walked in on the next play, and UCF was up 14-0.
After a Stanford punt, Gabriel and speedy Mississippi transfer Tre Nixon hooked up for a 38-yard touchdown and a 21-0 lead.
The Cardinal finally got their offense untracked. Costello handed the ball to Austin Jones and then made a crucial downfield block to spring Jones, who scored from 35 yards to make the score 21-7.
UCF took a comfortable 38-7 lead into halftime.
Stanford controlled the third period but still trailed 38-10 heading into the fourth. The Cardinal did cut the deficit to 38-17 early in the period when Costello found Michael Wilson for a 24-yard touchdown.
But a 1-yard toss from Gabriel to Jake Hescock sealed the win for the Knights.
Stanford scored a late touchdown as Jonathan McGill took a fumble 28 yards with 1:41 left.
—Field Level Media