NCAAF Game Recap - Central Florida at East Carolina
Sat Sep 26, 2020 12:00 PM EDT

Ala
38
Mizzu
19
F
K St
38
Okla
35
F
UGA
37
Ark
10
F
Fla
51
Miss
35
F
MisSt
44
LSU
34
F
KY
13
Aub
29
F
Tex
63
TxTch
56
F OT
Vand
12
TxAM
17
F
FlaSt
10
MiaFL
52
F
UCF
51
ECU
28
F
Army
10
Cin
24
F
WVU
13
OkSt
27
F
Tenn
31
SCar
27
F
Troy
7
BYU
48
F
GaSo
18
ULLaf
20
F
NCSt
24
VaTec
45
F
Lou
20
Pitt
23
F
UAB
42
SoAl
10
F
MidTN
35
UTSA
37
F
Camp
21
App
52
F
GATec
20
Syr
37
F
FLInt
34
Lib
36
F
IASt
37
TCU
34
F
Tul
66
SMiss
24
F
UTEP
31
ULMon
6
F
Duke
20
UVA
38
F
TxSt
21
BC
24
F
HBU
38
LaTec
66
F
SFA
7
SMU
50
F
Kans
14
Bayl
47
F

Sep 26, 2020, 12:00 PM EDT

Final

1

2

3

4

T

(13) Central Florida (2-0)

10

17

14

10

51

East Carolina (0-1)

7

0

7

14

28

Gabriel, No. 13 UCF beat East Carolina 51-28 in AAC opener
Sat Sep 26, 2020 5:57 PM

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) For the second straight week, Dillon Gabriel and No. 13 Central Florida had no problem running their fast-tempo offense and rolling to big offensive totals.

The Knights just need to start cleaning up some of their penalties, too.

Gabriel threw for 408 yards and four touchdowns to help UCF beat East Carolina 51-28 on Saturday, winning its American Athletic Conference opener for the fifth straight season in a game marked by the Knights' offensive brilliance and its early trouble with pre-snap penalties.

"You never play a perfect game but we came out (and) we put 51 points up," Gabriel said.

UCF (2-0, 1-0) rolled to 632 total yards after amassing 660 in its opener, getting huge performances from receivers Jaylon Robinson and Marlon Williams. But there were also 19 penalties for 139 yards, 10 coming in the opening quarter with seven of those false-start flags.

That included the bizarre sequence of the Knights having four straight false starts while trying to get off their first offensive snap. Yet, as Gabriel noted, the Knights went from a 1st-and-30 from their own 5-yard line to scoring on that drive anyway on Greg McCrae's short TD run.

The Knights soon settled in and blew the game open with a pair of touchdowns in the final 5 minutes before halftime.

"I'm proud of the guys, everyone played really well - and, there's still a lot to fix," Gabriel said. "You can see what we do and without some penalties, without just minor things we've got to fix, I think the ceiling is extremely high."

Holton Ahlers threw for 215 yards and three TDs for the Pirates (0-1, 0-1), who were making a delayed start to the season after coronavirus-related scheduling changes. And it came in an essentially empty Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium due to COVID-19 protocols, with only a smattering of player family members in attendance.

But after a game-opening TD drive, the Pirates lost fumbles on their side of the 50 on three consecutive first-quarter possessions. They didn't make it back to the end zone until the Knights led 41-7 early in the third.

By the time it was over, the school said the Pirates had come within 2 yards of matching the most allowed in any season opener in program history.

"Really had an opportunity to get some control of the ballgame and had three turnovers," Pirates coach Mike Houston said. "You have three turnovers there in the first quarter, to where you're around midfield, you've got a chance to stick the ball in again, to take control of the game, to get a lead on what everybody regards as the best team in our league.

"And those mistakes, you just can't keep making them."

THE TAKEAWAY

UCF: This was the second road game to start the season for the Knights, with the penalty issues seemingly the biggest issue to address. Going back to last week's Georgia Tech win, UCF has committed 14 false-start penalties this season.

"Some of the things we have to correct in this one are obvious to everybody that was watching the football game," coach Josh Heupel said. "I believe we'll do those things."

ECU: The good news was the Pirates made it to gameday for the first time this season. They were originally scheduled to host Marshall for their opener on Aug. 29, but that game was pushed back to Sept. 12 - and then postponed again to a to-be-determined date after the Pirates had to pause football activities in August due to a coronavirus cluster. Beyond that, it was a rough start to Houston's second season.

BIG NUMBERS

Gabriel became the first UCF quarterback with consecutive 400-yard passing games and had a program-record 18 straight completions at one point. His top targets were just as good.

Robinson had nine catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns, while Williams had a career-best 13 catches for 136 yards.

Robinson, an Oklahoma transfer, had a 64-yard touchdown catch when he sprinted free off the line and had no defender nearby.

"I was too wide open, I just didn't want to drop it," Robinson said.

FINAL CALL

Ahlers said the Pirates had some nerves Friday when they had a Zoom call with a doctor to get the go-ahead to finally play.

"We prepared as if we had a game, but with 2020, we get so close so many times, you don't know what's going to happen," Ahlers said.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

UCF moved up just one spot after the Georgia Tech romp. It's unclear how the Knights' position will change now with Big Ten and Pac-12 teams eligible to appear in Sunday's new Top 25 for the first time since the preseason poll.

UP NEXT

UCF: The Knights play their first home game next Saturday against Tulsa.

ECU: The Pirates travel to Georgia State next Saturday.

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

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Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap

Passing

UCF Att Cmp % TD-Pa Yds-Pa LgPa Int Rat
D. Gabriel 47 32 68.1 4 408 64 0 123.4
ECU Att Cmp % TD-Pa Yds-Pa LgPa Int Rat
H. Ahlers 29 14 48.3 3 215 37 1 93.3

Rushing

UCF Att Yds-Ru Avg LgRu TD-Ru
R. Harvey 1 0 0.0 0 0
G. McCrae 16 83 5.2 28 1
ECU Att Yds-Ru Avg LgRu TD-Ru
K. Mitchell 8 66 8.3 20 0
H. Ahlers 12 55 4.6 19 0

Receiving

UCF Rec Yds-Rc Avg LgRc TD-Rc
J. Robinson 9 150 16.7 64 2
M. Williams 13 136 10.5 24 0
ECU Rec Yds-Rc Avg LgRc TD-Rc
A. Omotosho 3 56 18.7 24 0
C. Johnson 2 52 26.0 37 1

Fumbles

UCF F FL
G. McCrae 1 0
ECU F FL
R. Harris 1 0
H. Ahlers 1 1

Returning

UCF KR Avg KRTD LgKR PR Avg TD LgPR
M. Williams 0 0 0 2 3.0 0 0
ECU KR Avg KRTD LgKR PR Avg TD LgPR
T. Snead 5 16.6 0 23 1 4.0 0 0

Punting

UCF Punt Yds Avg LgPu
A. Osteen 3 118 39.3 56
ECU Punt Yds Avg LgPu
J. Young 3 131 43.7 49
L. Larsen 2 82 41.0 47

Takeaways

UCF Int Yds InTD
R. Grant 1 0 0
E. Gilyard 0 0 0

Team Stats Comparison

UCF ECU
Points For 51 28
Total Yards 632 459
Rushing Yards 224 244
Passing Yards 408 215
Passing Completions / Attempts 32/47 14/29
Turnovers 0 4
Interceptions Thrown 0 1
Fumbles - Lost 1/0 4/3
First Downs 29 25
Penalties - Yards 19/139 11/105
Time Of Possession 52:52 8:08
Third Down Conversions/Attempts 8/16 9/18
Fourth Down Conversions/Attempts 0/2 1/2
Punts - Average Yards 0/0 0/0

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter UCF ECU
ECU 3:40 TD Darius Pinnix Jr. 17 yd pass from Holton Ahlers (Jake Verity kick) 0 7
UCF 6:38 TD Greg McCrae 1 yd run (Daniel Obarski kick) 7 7
UCF 10:32 FG Daniel Obarski 26 yd FG 10 7
2nd Quarter UCF ECU
UCF 7:05 FG Daniel Obarski 33 yd FG 13 7
UCF 10:03 TD Jaylon Robinson 64 yd pass from Dillon Gabriel (Daniel Obarski kick) 20 7
UCF 14:36 TD Jake Hescock 7 yd pass from Dillon Gabriel (Daniel Obarski kick) 27 7
3rd Quarter UCF ECU
UCF 1:49 TD Jacob Harris 11 yd pass from Dillon Gabriel (Daniel Obarski kick) 34 7
UCF 5:03 TD Jaylon Robinson 9 yd pass from Dillon Gabriel (Daniel Obarski kick) 41 7
ECU 8:34 TD C.J. Johnson 37 yd pass from Holton Ahlers (Jake Verity kick) 41 14
4th Quarter UCF ECU
UCF 1:27 FG Daniel Obarski 31 yd FG 44 14
ECU 6:51 TD Darius Pinnix Jr. 3 yd run (Jake Verity kick) 44 21
UCF 11:01 TD Johnny Richardson 31 yd run (Daniel Obarski kick) 51 21
ECU 14:41 TD Tyler Snead 7 yd pass from Holton Ahlers (Jake Verity kick) 51 28

Game Information

Stadium: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, North Carolina
Attendance: 350
Game Time:
Weather: