Photo by Megan Turner.

After suffering their first regular-season loss since 2016, the UCF Knights faced a program defining decision: concede their season to the critics and fold an otherwise impeccable season, or steady the ship and continue forward as planned.

They chose the latter.


Put simply: the Knights bludgeoned the Huskies, leaving them scoreless at halftime before ending the night with a final score of 56 to 21 — the second most points UCF has scored this season.

The landslide affair was a village effort speared by starting quarterback Dillon Gabriel and back-up quarterback Darriel Mack.

Under Gabriel’s command, five of UCF’s first seven drives resulted in a touchdown including a high-flying 73-yard touchdown pass to junior receiver Gabriel Davis.

Before handing over the keys to Mack at the half, Gabriel amassed 281 yards on 11-of-16 passing and 3 touchdowns.

The Knights’ offense remained efficient with backup quarterback Darriel Mack under center. Early in the third quarter, Mack connected with Marlon Williams for a 21 yard touchdown pass.

Mack finished 7-of-9 for 74 yards and a touchdown — his first this season and fourth career.

On the ground for UCF, Adrian Killins blistered the UConn defense late in the first for a 75-yard touchdown. He ended his night as the rush leader with 77 yards.

In total, UCF boasted 607 yards of total offense and limited UConn to 426 yards.

On the opposite side of the football, UCF’s defense delivered a standout performance, forcing multiple turnovers for the first time this season.

UCF Safety Antwan Collier tallied his third career interception during UConn’s first offensive drive and defensive end Kalia Davis earned his first sack, forced fumble, and fumble recovery in a single play.

All together, the Knights’ defense forced 4 turnovers, the most since the October 2018 matchup against ECU.

The Knights are now holding a 4-1 record and are 1-0 in AAC play while the Huskies fall to 1-3 and 0-1 in conference.

UCF will hit the road this week in a highly anticipated matchup against the Cincinnati Bearcats at 8 p.m. on Friday.