The “War on I-4”?
Meh, more of a skirmish. In fact, South Florida won the coin toss and, apparently, elected to retreat.
UCF scored on the opening drive of Friday’s rivalry game, got three turnovers that helped them never look back in a 34-7 Black Friday win at Spectrum Stadium.
The victory completes a third undefeated home slate and ties Clemson for the active record of consecutive home wins at 21.
“That’s the goal. We don’t want to let anyone in our house and win, and we got the job done,” said senior running back Adrian Killins, like a handful of UCF seniors playing at home for the final time, who racked up 115 yards including a 35-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. “I can’t believe that was my last game at home. There were a lot of emotions. I ran with a chip on my shoulders.”
“We did the impossible. We achieved things we didn’t think we wouldn’t,” Killins said.
The win was the 40th for this senior class, the most of any in school history.
“We put ourselves in position to win a lot of games.” Including Friday’s game, Coach Josh Heupel said.
“I thought the defense was suffocating, the line changed the line of scrimmage,” he said. “There was a lot of good, and a lot of good things on offense, and the special teams were solid. Our kids can sense the energy from the fans. It was an emotional game.”
The Knights, now 9-3 with a shot at a third straight 10-win season in their bowl game, were clean and efficient on offense, racking up 539 yards without a turnover. Wide receiver Gabe Davis, a junior who might have also played at home for the final time if the NFL beckons, caught two first-half touchdown passes that helped UCF build a 24-0 halftime lead and, with eight catches for 106 yards, set a new single-season receiving yards record (1,243) and, if he does leave early, will have never lost a home game.
Freshman quarterback Dillon Gabriel, who threw for 270 yards, hit Davis from 19 on the game’s first drive. The next quarter was played pretty tight, but after Antwan Collier’s second-quarter interception in the red zone with USF (4-8) looking to tie it, the Knights weren’t seriously threatened.
The Bulls scored early in the third quarter to make it 24-7, but the Knights answered on their next drive. After Darriel Mack entered in a short-yardage spot and hit Tre Nixon on a 37-yard pass, Mack ran it in from the 2 to make it 31-7 with 4:22 left in the third quarter.
UCF now awaits which bowl game it’ll travel to and who it’ll play.