A close game at the half turned into an old-fashioned whooping at the expense of Temple (5-3, 2-2 AAC). UCF (6-2, 3-1 AAC) used big plays to score five touchdowns outside the red zone in a 63-21 victory Saturday night in Philadelphia. The win helps UCF remain within one game of Cincinnati in the AAC East Division standings and keeps the Knights on the radar for a spot in the New Years Six.
After having their first-half lead cut to 28-21 just before halftime, UCF scored four touchdowns in the third quarter before the Owls could manage to get a first down strung together. Dillon Gabriel tossed a touchdown pass of 73 yards to Marlon Williams, Bentavious Thompson rushed for two touchdowns and Otis Anderson (who rushed for 205 yards) scored a touchdown in on the ground in the big third quarter. As a team, UCF racked up 593 yards of offense against a Temple team that had been playing some decent defense before running ton some tough offenses (Temple lost to SMU last week). And once UCF got rolling, it was impossible for the Owls to keep up the pace; they were shutout in the second half as the game raced away from them.
UCF still needs help to get back to a New Years Six bowl game. Only conference champions form the Group of Five are eligible for the reserved spot in the New Years Six bowl line-up, so UCF must first get back to the conference championship game. Having already lost a head-to-head matchup with Cincinnati, the Knights need some help. Not only must UCF continue to take care of their own schedule, but the Knights will need to see Cincinnati lose twice in the regular season for a chance to move ahead of the Bearcats in the division. Cincinnati owns the head-to-head tiebreaker with the two-time defending conference champions.
UCF did clinch bow eligibility by picking up their sixth win of the season, and the Knights will look to pick up a road win next week against Houston. Temple will be back in action after a bye week when they travel down to Tampa to face USF on Nov. 7.