The UCF Knights didn’t show a single bit of their recent road woes Saturday night in Philadelphia.
Powered by a huge 28-0 third quarter — all four scoring drives took a minute or less — the Knights kept faint hopes of an AAC Eastern Division title alive with a 63-21 romp over the Temple Owls.
Eight different Knights scored nine touchdowns as UCF (6-2, 3-1 in AAC play) rolled up 614 offensive yards, 385 of it on the ground.
Coach Josh Heupel said the team showed they are prideful with a such a win over a good Temple (5-3, 2-2) squad.
“I’m proud of them proving what they are,” he said. “It was not perfect, but they played like a group that believes in each other. We were fantastic against the run (Temple: 40 carries, 45 yards) and made some huge plays in the back end (two Aaron Robinson interception) and got a great pass rush (four sacks). The run game got going explosive, and we were efficient in the pass game. We just started doing the things you need to do on the road.”
The Owls were 4-0 at home coming into Saturday, led 7-0 after one drive and were hanging around after scoring a touchdown off a UCF muffed punt that made it 28-21 going into halftime. Temple got the ball after UCF went three-and-out to start the second half with a chance to tie, but were force to punt.
And then the onslaught commenced. UCF scored 35 points in the second half; Temple gained 9 yards.
Dillon Gabriel and Marlon Williams hooked up on a 73-yard scoring strike, Bentavious Thompson scored on runs of 34 and 11 yards, and Otis Anderson hit on a 37-yard TD carry. In between, Temple was busy going three-and-out; in that stretch they attempted a fake punt; the Knights sniffed it out.
Anderson rallied from muffing that punt to carry 17 times for a career-high 205 yards, and Thompson (10 carries, 87 yards, 2 TDs) also had career highs.
“Otis a guy who’s grown so much, he rebounds from a negative play to have a huge night,” Heupel said.
Said Anderson after the game: “This was just something we needed. We boosted our confidence and will come ready to attack next week (back at home, at noon against Houston).”