No. 17 UCF has hosted a lot of big games in recent years but the number of Power Five opponents that have made the trip to Orlando have been few and far between. Judging by the results of the Knights’ latest effort, there might be a reason for that.
The AAC banner-carriers trounced the visitors from the opposite coast in Stanford on Saturday afternoon, winning 45-27 in a contest that was far more lopsided than even that scoreline indicated.
True freshman Gabriel Dillon made the most of his first start in the friendly confines of the Bounce House, throwing for 347 yards and four touchdowns against a secondary headlined by All-Pac-12 first team corner Paulson Adebo. The young signal-caller’s rapid release made it easy for the Knights offense to roll up 545 yards and kept the Cardinal linebackers guessing on nearly every snap. Tailbacks Greg McCrae and Adrian Killins combined for nearly 200 yards on the ground, with the latter breaking off a 73-yarder and scoring a short touchdown to boot.
While everything seemed to go right for the home side — including four first quarter touchdowns to take the lead and never look back — the opposite was true for the one-time Pac-12 dark horses. QB K.J. Costello had a rough return to action after missing last week with a head injury, throwing for 199 yards and a touchdown while nearly tossing a pick-six as well. The Cardinal ground game was lackluster at best too, barely topping the century mark on the ground and being abandoned for the most part in the second half given the large deficit.
The loss was especially disappointing for the school’s most famous local alums as golfer Tiger Woods was visibly upset for most of the sweltering afternoon on the sidelines as his Stanford football team failed to keep up with their opponents from the AAC.
As for those Knights, the victory is certainly a nice feather in their cap given the rarity of Power Five victories on their slate over this incredible run the past few seasons. They will likely have a shot to move up in the polls come Sunday and have another crack at a win against a major conference when they travel to Pitt next weekend. All told it was their 27th straight victory in the regular season and one of their most impressive yet given the destruction they left in their wake between the lines.