Sophomore Dillon Gabriel tied a career high with four touchdown passes, two each to wide receivers Marlon Williams and Tre Nixon, and No. 14 Central Florida won its 2020 opener 49-21 over Georgia Tech Saturday in Atlanta.
The Knights used a fast tempo on offense and a hot first half from Gabriel, who completed 15-of-20 for 252 yards and three scores by the break. He finished 27-of-41 for a career high 417 yards.
Williams caught 10 passes for 154 yards, and running backs Greg McCrae, Otis Anderson and Bentavious Thompson each ran for a touchdown as UCF amassed 660 yards of total offense and won for the 36th time in its last 40 games.
The Yellow Jackets (1-1) lost five turnovers on the day and for the second time in as many weeks had a field goal attempt blocked. Georgia Tech, which won its opener last week at Florida State, trailed 28-7 in the second quarter before making it a one-score game early in the fourth.
Freshman Jahmyr Gibbs, getting a chance for regular carries with starter Jordan Mason out, ran for a 33-yard touchdown with 13:12 to play, cutting UCF's lead to 28-21. But the Knights responded with a 75-yard touchdown drive before Marlon Williams caught a seven-yard TD pass from Gabriel with 5:30 to play that finished off the Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech quarterback Jeff Sims ran for the game's opening touchdown and completed 18-of-36 passes for 244 yards and a score, and added a team-high 82 rushing yards. Gibbs added 60 receiving yards including a nine-yard touchdown pass from Sims, and a 93-yard kickoff return that set up Sims' rushing touchdown.
A wild sequence took place early in the third quarter. The Yellow Jackets stopped the Knights on downs, and on the very next play, a botched handoff resulted in a Georgia Tech fumble recovered by UCF.
On the first play of UCF's possession, Gabriel was intercepted by Juanyeh Thomas, giving the ball back to Georgia Tech. Moments later, UCF thought they had sack and fumble recovery in the end zone for another touchdown, but the play was reviewed and Sims' arm was ruled to be going forward for an incomplete pass.
--Field Level Media