The most anticipated home game for UCF in several years might turn out to be over before the end of the first quarter.
The No. 17 Knights jumped on Power Five foe Stanford with four touchdowns in the first frame and cruised to an impressive 38-7 lead over the visitors from the other side of the country going into halftime.
The lopsided nature of the contest went well beyond the scoreboard as the Cardinal couldn’t find much to go right on either side of the ball. Quarterback K.J. Costello returned to action after missing the USC game last week but was fairly ineffective in the Florida heat, throwing for 61 yards and one interception that was nearly returned for a pick-six. Tailback Austin Jones did provide a brief highlight with 69 yards rushing and a touchdown but an offense not exactly built to score a bunch of points will need to do just that if they even want to make the outcome a respectable one.
Maybe more concerning for David Shaw was the defensive effort as UCF looked two steps quicker on each snap. Freshman quarterback Dillon Gabriel looked like he was the Power Five signal-caller in just his second start, throwing for 250 yards and a trio of touchdowns. Greg McCrae chipped in with a 94 yards on the ground before the break and scored from one yard out to capitalize on that earlier interception forced by the UCF defense.
All told, the Knights averaged nearly 10 yards per play in the early blitz while holding their opponents to less than half that.
The ever confident UCF fan base continues to stick their chest out that they can go toe-to-toe with anybody in the Power Five and based on the performance so far against Stanford, the team is well on their way to getting a pretty big notch on their belts to that end.