Truth be told: The Gasparilla Bowl is not the fairytale ending most Knight fans envisioned this year — a far cry from the Fiesta Bowl and Peach Bowl appearances in years past.
Nevertheless, the Knights demonstrated Monday against the Marshall Thundering Herd why they remain worthy and capable of meeting Knight Nation’s rising expectations.
UCF outplayed Marshall in almost every facet of the game, defeating the Thundering Herd with a final score of 48-25 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
The landslide win was sparked early by UCF’s defense when redshirt junior defensive back Richie Grant intercepted a pass on Marshall’s opening drive and returned it 39 yards.
UCF freshman defensive lineman Tre’mon Morris-Brash joined the defensive affair later into the first quarter when he collected a backward pass and returned it for 55 yards to widen the score gap to 21-0.
The Knights collected a season-high five turnovers.
Freshman quarterback Dillon Gabriel was named the Gasparilla Bowl’s MVP. Gabriel finished the game completing 14-of-24 passes for 260 yards and two touchdowns.
Gabriel connected with junior receiver Marlon Williams midway in the third quarter for his longest pass of the night of 75 yards.
In total, the Knights collected 587 offensive yards. Comparatively, Marshall could only amass 361 yards.
UCF’s landslide win was secured with a few of their major players out of uniform including runningback Adrian Killins and receiver Gabriel Davis — both players are looking toward NFL careers.
The Knights finish their season 10-3 overall.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.