The UCF Knights (5-3) finally charged onto the road to come away with their first win away from home of 2021 over the Temple Owls (3-5), 49-7.
After Temple gave up over 400 yards on the ground to an abysmal USF offense last week, it was no surprise that head coach Gus Malzahn was going to put the ball in the hands of star running back Isaiah Bowser. Bowser turned in the first score of the day in the first quarter on an 11-yard run into the end zone. He finished with 89 yards on 19 carries and a score.
With Dillon Gabriel still recovering from the broken clavicle, true freshman Mikey Keene continued his UCF campaign starting under center. While Keene contended with some drops from his receiver corps, he still did more than his part to add a second dimension to the Knights’ offense.
The UCF quarterback posted a career-day going 15-of-21 with 229 yards for five touchdowns and an interception against the Owls. While he threw an interception late in the second quarter, running back Johnny Richardson forced the Temple defender to fumble and wide receiver Brandon Johnson managed to get the ball back. Johnson would snag an 18-yard touchdown three plays later from Keene to set the score to 21-0 going into the locker room.
On defense, UCF continued to play revitalized, keeping Temple quarterback and Georgia transfer D’Wan Mathis under control. As a team, they recovered two of the three fumbles forced and sacked Mathis four times. Mathis completed 16-of-30 for 121 yards.
“We’ve had trouble on the road,” said head coach Gus Malzahn. “Our guys came out and played really good defensively — may be our best defensive effort. And maybe our best complete game offensively. We were able to hit some explosive pass plays. We threw it deep and we mixed in the run”.
The surprise performance for UCF was tight end Alec Holler who lead the team in receiving yards with 87 yards on four receptions and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Ryan O’Keefe also played an important role once again with six catches for 72 yards and a pair of touchdowns himself.
UCF returns to the Bounce House at Orlando with a 3-2 record in the American Athletic Conference to host the Tulane Green Wave. Tulane is coming off of a hard-fought competitive battle against #2 Cincinnati. With that in mind, the Green Wave under head coach Willie Fritz should provide quite a challenge for the Knights.