Gabriel Davis

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Pitt Special! Pitt stuns No. 15 UCF in thriller to snap UCF regular-season win streak

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After 27 consecutive wins in the regular season, the UCF Knights have taken a loss. No. 15 UCF (3-1) was upset on the road by Pitt (2-2, 0-1 ACC) on Saturday afternoon in Heinz Field, 35-34. Pitt blew a 21-0 lead before coming back to win the game with a trick play in the final minute of the fourth quarter.

With the game on the line in the final minute of the fourth quarter, Pitt rolled out a play reminiscent of the Philly Special (Pat Narduzzi attempted to rebrand the play as Pitt Special after the game) from Super Bowl 52. Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett caught a pass from Aaron Matthews for a three-yard go-ahead touchdown.

Making the situation more imposing for UCF was the fact head coach Josh Heupel burned UCF’s final timeout on defense just before the touchdown was scored. That left UCF in a tough spot with under a minute to play. Starting at their 25-yard line with 56 seconds to play and no timeouts at their disposal, time ran out on the Knights as the Pitt defense was swarming. Gabriel was sacked twice in three plays to lock the gate son a win for the Panthers.

UCF fell behind with an uncharacteristically ugly start that saw them fall behind 21-0, and every aspect of the team was to blame. The offense was unable to get going. The defense could not make a big stop. And the special teams unit had a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown by the Panthers. But UCF seized some control and got things back in their favor with a couple of scores before halftime, and a 21-7 burst out of halftime turned the tables in UCF’s favor.

Dillon Gabriel overcame his own rough start to the game to throw for 321 yards and two touchdowns. Both touchdown passes came in the third quarter, the first to Gabriel Davis from the 10-yard line to bring UCF within four and the second to Davis for a 28-yard score to push UCF’s lead to 10.

But UCF couldn’t put the game away for good. UCF missed on a fourth-down conversion attempt in the fourth quarter and settled for a field goal at the end of a 10-play drive with 4:36 remaining in the game. Pitt then went on their game-winning drive over the course of 12 plays. The drive was extended by a UCF offside penalty on a 4th & 5 with 2:11 left to play. After getting the free first down, Pickett completed a 19-yard pass to Taysir Mack to get the ball down to the UCF 11-yard line. A few plays later set the stage for the memorable touchdown by the Panthers.

For the first time in three seasons, UCF must rebound from a regular-season loss. The good news is they get a good rebound opportunity next week at home against UConn. It will be all conference play the rest of the year for UCF, and their hopes of playing in the New Years Six ar not at all dashed base don this one loss. With over two months of football still to be played, UCF still is firmly in the mix for a third-straight NY6 appearance (although fans of Boise State are feeling good at this particular moment). But the talk about UCF in the College Football Playoff, for now, can be set aside.

As for Pitt, the Panthers play one more non-conference matchup next week against Delaware, a top 25 FCS program coming off a nailbiter against Penn earlier today. After a battle with the Blue Hens, Pitt will remain in ACC play for the rest of the season, beginning with a road trip to Duke. And against Duke, anything can happen if recent history is any indication.

Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy headlines 2019 Biletnikoff Award Watch List

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Media Day season is also Watch List season and the latest to surface for the 2019 campaign comes out of Tallahassee in the form of the Biletnikoff Award Watch List. The award, given annually to the nation’s most outstanding receiver, includes the defending winner in Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and fellow semifinalist Tylan Wallace out of Oklahoma State, as well as a number of other talented pass-catchers from around the country.

Here’s the full list, which is a good general overview of the best wide receivers and tight ends for the upcoming season even if a few names can gripe about being left off:

Lynn Bowden, Jr. (Kentucky)

Rico Bussey, Jr. (North Texas)

Cedric Byrd (Hawaii)

Grant Calcaterra (Oklahoma)

Damonte Coxie (Memphis)

Gabriel Davis (UCF)

Bryan Edwards (South Carolina)

D’Wayne Eskridge (Western Michigan)

Aaron Fuller (Washington)

Antonio Gandy-Golden (Liberty)

KJ Hamler (Penn State)

Adrian Hardy (Louisiana Tech)

Damon Hazelton (Virginia Tech)

Tee Higgins (Clemson)

K.J. Hill (Ohio State)

Isaiah Hodgins (Oregon State)

Justin Jefferson (LSU)

Jerry Jeudy (Alabama)

Tyler Johnson (Minnesota)

Collin Johnson (Texas)

CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma)

Ty Lee (Middle Tennessee State)

Kalija Lipscomb (Vanderbilt)

McLane Mannix (Texas Tech)

Kirk Merritt (Arkansas State)

Riley Miller (Ball State)

Denzel Mims (Baylor)

Darnell Mooney (Tulane)

Rondale Moore (Purdue)

Albert Okwuegbunam (Missouri)

K.J. Osborn (Miami)

Dezmon Patmon (Washington State)

Jared Pinkney (Vanderbilt)

Michael Pittman, Jr. (USC)

James Proche (SMU)

Jalen Reagor (TCU)

Jared Rice (Fresno State)

Sean Riley (Syracuse)

Reggie Roberson, Jr. (SMU)

Justyn Ross (Clemson)

Henry Ruggs III (Alabama)

Laviska Shenault, Jr. (Colorado)

JD Spielman (Nebraska)

Amon-Ra St. Brown (USC)

Marquez Stevenson (Houston)

Tamorrion Terry (Florida State)

Jaylen Waddle (Alabama)

Tylan Wallace (Oklahoma State)

JoJo Ward (Hawaii)

Quez Watkins (Southern Miss)

Memphis halfway to ending UCF’s nation-leading winning streak

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Memphis running back Darrell Henderson has shredded No. 8 UCF’s defense, and the Tigers hold a 38-21 lead over the Knights halfway through the American Championship.

Henderson powered for 207 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries in the half, leading a Tigers attack that totaled 336 yards and four scores on just 26 first half carries. He staked the Tigers to a 14-0 first quarter lead, charging for touchdowns of 62 and 12 yards.

After Greg McCrae got UCF on the board with a 14-yard touchdown run of his own, Memphis answered with another long touchdown run, this one a 70-yarder by Patrick Taylor.

Playing for the injured McKenzie Milton, UCF quarterback Darriel Mack, Jr. completed 12 of his 18 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown in the half, but also ended two of the Knights’ first three drives with fumbles. His first led to Henderson’s second touchdown, and his second handed Memphis the ball at midfield, leading to a 36-yard Riley Patterson field goal, giving Memphis a 24-7 lead after one quarter.

Mack again fumbled on UCF’s next drive, but this one was in the end zone and recovered by Michael Colubiale for a touchdown, putting the Knights within 10, though not for long. Henderson again broke off for a long touchdown run, this one from 82 yards out.

UCF had a great chance to pull back within 10 midway through the second quarter, but McCrae’s 4th-and-2 run from the Memphis 20 was stopped for no gain. Memphis quickly moved back into Knights territory — keyed by a 21-yard Henderson run — but the drive stalled.

UCF took over at its own 6 with 3:39 before halftime, but Mack immediately hit Gabriel Davis for a 44-yard gain to put the ball at midfield. UCF was originally flagged for a chop block, but the flag was picked up — even though replays showed the chop block call should have stood. Either way, McCrae busted off a 47-yard run on the next snap, Mack cut the deficit to 31-21 on a 4-yard pass to Jake Hescock with 2:41 left in the first half.

The Knights forced a second straight punt with just under two minutes remaining — giving UCF a chance to pull within 31-28 at the break knowing they’d get the ball to open the second half — but Otis Anderson fumbled the punt, handing Memphis the ball at the UCF 31.

Memphis capitalized on UCF’s third fumble for a third time with another Henderson touchdown, this one a 4-yard pass to Sean Dykes with 21 seconds left in the first half. The score gave Memphis 17 points off of UCF’s three fumbles and, not coincidentally, a 17-point lead.

UCF loses McKenzie Milton but leads South Florida at halftime

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If UCF is going to finish off another regular season without a loss, they will do so from here on out without quarterback McKenzie Milton. Milton was carted off the field with his right leg in a cast on his way off the field with what appeared to be a devastating injury early in the second quarter. But UCF owns a 17-3 lead on South Florida in Tampa as this game shifts to a battle of backup quarterbacks.

South Florida is playing without Blake Barnett in the offense, instead going with Chris Oladokun and Brett Kean splitting the snaps as Barnett is banged up. In the absence of Milton, UCF is continuing on offense with Darriel Mack. Milton will not return to the game.

South Florida had a great opportunity to strike first in the first quarter but the Bulls failed to capitalize. Nick Roberts intercepted a pass from UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton and returned the football to the UCF 12-yard line. But the Bulls offense could not do anything with the red zone possession. Johnny Ford was handed the football on four straight plays, and the drive stalled at the UCF 3-yard line with a fourth-down stop by the Knights.

That was a problem for South Florida because UCF then marched quickly down the field for a 97-yard touchdown drive fueled by Milton through the air and Adrian Killins on the ground. A sideline catch by Gabriel Davis for a gain of 38 yards was the highlight of the drive, and Davis scored a touchdown on a free play on an offside penalty by South Florida.

Shortly after Milton was carted off the field, UCF extended the lead to 10-0 with a field goal off the leg of Matthew Wright. A 40-yard touchdown run by Greg McCrae later in the second quarter gave UCF a 17-0 lead.

Even without Milton, the UCF offense is still a stiff challenge for South Florida to figure out at the half. But the Bulls need to figure out how to crack the UCF defense first for any of that to mean anything after halftime.

McKenzie Milton’s 3 TDs help UCF build 28-10 halftime lead at UConn

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After a scary moment on the opening kickoff, it has been business as usual for UCF in the first half of the season. McKenzie Milton has thrown three touchdowns and the defending AAC champions are up 28-10 on the road at UConn at halftime.

Special teams player and backup cornerback Aaron Robinson was carted off the field on a stretcher after suffering a severe injury on the game’s opening kickoff. He did have movement in his legs and managed to give a thumbs up as he was taken off the field, but the game was forced to pause for about 10 minutes just after it got started in order to properly take care of the injured Robinson.

Milton has completed 13 of 16 passes for 205 yards and three touchdowns. He is also UCF’s leading rusher with 50 yards on the ground.

UCF scored touchdowns on their first two possessions to take a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. UConn fumbled away the opening possession on the sixth play of the game, and the Huskies were held to a three-and-out on their second offensive series. After UConn kicked a field goal to put some points on the board, UCF answered with a four-play, 76-yard touchdown drive capped by Milton’s second touchdown pass of the night, this one to Gabriel Davis from 10 yards out.

Earlier, Milton threw a 34-yard pass to Tre Nixon while rolling to his right to put the Knights up 14-0.

Down 21-3, UConn strung together a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that culminated with a David Pindell pass to Tyler Davis for five yards and a score. Pindell is the game’s leading rusher with 92 yards on 12 carries. The Huskies just have not been able to keep up the pace against UCF through one half. They have quite an uphill battle to climb at home in the second half if UConn is going to give UCF a fight.