NCAAF Game Recap - Central Florida at Georgia Tech
Sat Sep 19, 2020 3:30 PM EDT

Cit
0
Clem
49
F
SoFL
0
ND
52
F
Tuls
7
OkSt
16
F
APSU
20
Cin
55
F
UCF
49
GATec
21
F
MiaFL
47
Lou
34
F
ULLaf
34
GASt
31
F OT
App
7
Marsh
17
F
Syr
10
Pitt
21
F
Camp
21
CoCar
43
F
BC
26
Duke
6
F
Lib
30
W Ky
24
F
Navy
27
Tul
24
F
SFA
10
UTSA
24
F
Troy
47
MidTN
14
F
SMU
65
NorTx
35
F
TxSt
38
ULMon
17
F
LaTec
31
SMiss
30
F
Wake
42
NCSt
45
F
Abil
13
UTEP
17
F

Sep 19, 2020, 3:30 PM EDT

Final

1

2

3

4

T

(14) Central Florida (1-0)

7

21

0

21

49

Georgia Tech (1-1)

7

7

0

7

21

Gabriel throws 4 TD passes, No. 14 UCF beats Ga Tech 49-21
Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:10 PM

ATLANTA (AP) Dillon Gabriel made sure Central Florida didn't let another game slip away on the road.

The sophomore threw for a career-best 417 yards and four touchdowns, leading the No. 14 Knights to a 49-21 victory over Georgia Tech in their season opener Saturday.

It was a rewarding performance for UCF, coming off the uncertainty of the pandemic-affected summer and a bit of a disappointing season by its standards in 2019. The Knights lost three games - all on the road - by a total of seven points.

After falling behind 28-7, Georgia Tech closed within a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. But Gabriel led a dominating performance the rest of the way, finishing 27 of 41 to eclipse his previous career high of 365 yards in a game last season at East Carolina.

"We had so many guys making plays all over the field," Gabriel said. "When that happens, you see what we can do."

UCF bounced back after giving up a long return on the opening kickoff and falling behind less than a minute into the game.

Tre Nixon and Marlon Williams each hauled in a pair of TD passes. Showing off its running back depth, UCF got touchdowns on the ground from Greg McCrae, Otis Anderson and Bentavious Thompson.

Gabriel, a left-hander from Hawaii who claimed the starting job early in his freshman year, is the one who makes the fast-paced offense go.

"From the first snap on, he had his eyes in the right place, he understood protections," UCF coach Josh Heupel said. "We made tons of adjustments on the sideline and he was flawless in doing all that. That's extremely hard to do. That speaks to his growth from year one to year two. "

Coming off a 3-9 season in Geoff Collins' coaching debut, Georgia Tech opened 2020 by rallying for a 16-13 win at Florida State.

The Yellow Jackets (1-1) had similar hopes after closing to 28-21 on a pair of scores by freshman Jahmyr Gibbs, who also had a long kickoff return to set up their first TD.

But Georgia Tech simply made too many mistakes in a game played before a socially distanced crowd of about 11,000 at 55,000-seat Bobby Dodd Stadium.

"We put up a lot of numbers and a lot of yards, but we have to capitalize in the red zone and we cannot turn the ball over," said Collins, whose team was missing several key players.

The Yellow Jackets got off to a brilliant start. Gibbs returned the opening kickoff 75 yards, setting up quarterback Jeff Sims' 1-yard touchdown run 55 seconds into the game.

UCF responded with a 75-yard drive capped by Gabriel's 6-yard touchdown pass to Nixon.

Georgia Tech squandered a couple of chances to reclaim control of the game, coming up with no points on two drives deep into UCF territory.

Sims fumbled the ball away at the Knights 8 and freshman Jude Kelley's 27-yard field goal was blocked.

"You cannot do those things versus a really good football team," Collins said.

It was the fourth blocked kick in two games for Kelley, who had two field goals and an extra point swatted away in the victory at Florida State. Another freshman, Gavin Stewart, handled the extra points after Georgia Tech's other TDs.

BEST IN THE SUNSHINE STATE

Gabriel couldn't resist a little poke at Florida State.

"You saw what happened last week," he said. "I guess you can say we're the best team in Florida."

THE TAKEAWAY

UCF: The Knights are again one of the leading contenders from the Group of Five. Gabriel is a dynamic quarterback who fits perfectly in the up-tempo offense, and he's got plenty of weapons at his disposal. Williams had 10 catches for 154 yards, and Jaylon Robinson added six catches for 105 yards. Both came up big after Nixon left the game with an undisclosed injury. He appeared to land hard on his shoulder making a 25-yard TD catch and didn't return in the second half. McCrae also hobbled off, a blow to his hopes of staying healthy after an injury-plagued 2019 season.

Georgia Tech: Sims again showed flashes of promise in his second college game, but he simply made too many mistakes to beat a team of UCF's caliber. He was 18 of 36 for 244 yards with a pair of interceptions. The Yellow Jackets also lost three fumbles.

MISSING IN ACTION

Georgia Tech did not have its leading runner and a top defensive lineman. Jordan Mason and Curtis Ryans were among six players unavailable for the game. The school did not give a reason for their absence.

Mason led Georgia Tech with 899 yards rushing last season. He had 55 yards and a touchdown in the victory at Florida State, while Ryans had two sacks and two forced fumbles.

The Yellow Jackets also were without two other potential defensive starters, cornerback Tre Swilling and defensive end Antonneous Clayton, both of whom missed their second straight game with apparent injuries. Tight ends Dylan Leonard and Dylan Deveney were missing, as well.

UP NEXT

UCF: Plays its second straight road game to begin the season, facing East Carolina next Saturday in its American Athletic Conference opener.

Georgia Tech: Returns to Atlantic Coast Conference play with a trip to Syracuse next Saturday.

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Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963. His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paulnewberry

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More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Passing

UCF Att Cmp % TD-Pa Yds-Pa LgPa Int Rat
D. Gabriel 41 27 65.9 4 417 49 1 121.7
GATec Att Cmp % TD-Pa Yds-Pa LgPa Int Rat
J. Sims 36 18 50.0 1 244 25 2 58.1

Rushing

UCF Att Yds-Ru Avg LgRu TD-Ru
O. Anderson 18 88 4.9 23 1
G. McCrae 9 50 5.6 21 1
GATec Att Yds-Ru Avg LgRu TD-Ru
J. Sims 16 82 5.1 19 1
J. Gibbs 15 66 4.4 33 1

Receiving

UCF Rec Yds-Rc Avg LgRc TD-Rc
M. Williams 10 154 15.4 40 2
J. Robinson 6 105 17.5 48 0
GATec Rec Yds-Rc Avg LgRc TD-Rc
J. Gibbs 4 60 15.0 23 1
J. Griffin 2 38 19.0 25 0

Fumbles

UCF F FL
D. Gabriel 1 1
GATec F FL
J. Sims 1 1
J. Gibbs 1 0

Returning

GATec KR Avg KRTD LgKR PR Avg TD LgPR
J. Gibbs 2 46.5 0 75 0 0 0

Punting

UCF Punt Yds Avg LgPu
A. Osteen 3 136 45.3 55
GATec Punt Yds Avg LgPu
P. Harvin III 4 205 51.3 70

Takeaways

UCF Int Yds InTD
J. Celiscar 1 9 0
S. Zayas 1 0 0
GATec Int Yds InTD
J. Thomas 1 3 0

Team Stats Comparison

UCF GATec
Points For 49 21
Total Yards 660 471
Rushing Yards 243 227
Passing Yards 417 244
Passing Completions / Attempts 27/41 18/37
Turnovers 2 5
Interceptions Thrown 1 2
Fumbles - Lost 1/1 4/3
First Downs 31 23
Penalties - Yards 8/51 7/49
Time Of Possession 52:52 8:08
Third Down Conversions/Attempts 10/16 7/15
Fourth Down Conversions/Attempts 1/3 1/3
Punts - Average Yards 0/0 0/0

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter UCF GATec
GATec 0:55 TD Jeff Sims 1 yd run (Jude Kelley kick) 0 7
UCF 3:02 TD Tre Nixon 6 yd pass from Dillon Gabriel (Daniel Obarski kick) 7 7
2nd Quarter UCF GATec
UCF 3:13 TD Marlon Williams 8 yd pass from Dillon Gabriel (Daniel Obarski kick) 14 7
UCF 8:12 TD Greg McCrae 21 yd run (Daniel Obarski kick) 21 7
UCF 12:43 TD Tre Nixon 25 yd pass from Dillon Gabriel (Daniel Obarski kick) 28 7
GATec 13:46 TD Jahmyr Gibbs 9 yd pass from Jeff Sims (Gavin Stewart kick) 28 14
3rd Quarter UCF GATec
No scores this quarter
4th Quarter UCF GATec
GATec 1:48 TD Jahmyr Gibbs 33 yd run (Gavin Stewart kick) 28 21
UCF 3:20 TD Otis Anderson 1 yd run (Daniel Obarski kick) 35 21
UCF 9:30 TD Marlon Williams 7 yd pass from Dillon Gabriel (Daniel Obarski kick) 42 21
UCF 11:32 TD Bentavious Thompson 4 yd run (Daniel Obarski kick) 49 21

Game Information

Stadium: Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field, Atlanta, Georgia
Attendance: 11,000
Game Time:
Weather: